Salzburg University Library
“… against oblivion”
April 30, 1938 – April 30, 2018
80 years after the book burning by the National Socialists on the Residenzplatz in the “beautiful city” of Salzburg (Georg Trakl), the University Library of Salzburg commemorated this terrifying beacon. The entire window front facing Hofstallgasse on the ground floor of the University Library became a memorial path. The contents of the “memorial windows” were based on contemporary Salzburg sources and scientific reappraisal. The aim was to show where the restriction of freedom of opinion and freedom of the press, as well as freedom of art, can ultimately lead.
In the project “… against oblivion,” the Salzburg University Library addressed the problem of censorship and public destruction of art and culture in the context of the German book burnings of 1933. Already during Austrofascism (1934-1938), trade union libraries were closed and, above all, Marxist and Social Democratic books were removed from public libraries. But it was not until after the Anschluss that the first and only publicly staged book burning in Austria took place in Salzburg on April 30, 1938, in imitation of the 1933 book burnings in Germany.
Academic libraries were allowed to collect and store forbidden literature under strict conditions and restrictions on use. Therefore, the “Studienbibliothek”, the predecessor of the University Library of Salzburg, did not segregate any book for the book burning.