When the Nazis rose to power, they began a campaign of burning books deemed incompatible with the Nazi ideology. During these book burnings, were there any works that were completely lost? By "completely lost", I mean "Every single copy of that work was destroyed".

  • The Wikipedia page on lost works mention nothing specifically lost to Nazi book burnings, although the Nazi were responsible for the loss of other manuscripts over the course of WW2.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 6:14
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    – MCW
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 11:33
  • @user73910 How do you define "book"? Esp. are unpublished manuscripts and preliminary collections "books"?
    – K-HB
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 9:51

1 Answer 1


Magnus Hirschfeld, a researcher on sexuality and early advocates for gay rights amassed a huge body of research on homosexuality and transsexuality. In '33, he was heading and institute at the Charité University in Berlin. The Archive of his Institute was burned completely, a huge body of research was lost. This did not happen "just" because he was jewish, but because of the content of his Institute's research that was seen as demoralizing ("Entsittlichung").

Especially trans rights advocates in germany often quip "Everyone says transsexuality is new phenomenon. We where always here, the Nazis just burned the evidence"

Hirschfeld himself was travelling abroad and decided to remain in Switzerland when he heard of the book burnings. He died 1935 in Nice, France.

ETA This article on a magazine published by the Institute, Das dritte Geschlecht / The third Sex, provides some context.

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    Also the records of his patients were burnt, some of whom were party members. Not everything in the archives were destroyed as stated in the Wikipedia artical. Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 10:17
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    tbh, I need to check a few more sources and clarify. But I think the point that a huge body of research was lost irrevocally will stand.
    – mart
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 10:44
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    A lot of his research were the patient records since they documented the case history and treatment results. And some of his library can be found here magnus-hirschfeld.de/bibliothek-und-archiv Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 10:47
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    This is one of those rare answers that is good enough to make the question look better.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 14:46
  • Are unpublished research records "books" in the sense of the question?
    – K-HB
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 19:35

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