At the square you can see some important buildings such as the Opera House, the Humboldt University buildings, and St. Hedwig Cathedral (an ancient Roman Catholic Church).
This event severely damaged freedom of expression, and led to the oppression of Nazi ideology in an extreme and unbearable manner. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, was in charge of this whole event. That same day, Goebbels gave a speech about ‘Un-German Literature.’ In the wake of this incident, students throughout Germany burned more books.
It is interesting to note that in 1820, a few decades earlier, the sentence was written: "Where books are burned, people will be burned," by the German poet and philosopher Heinrich Heine, who foresaw the future of many of his books being burnt.
The monument is a transparent square (armored in glass) located in the ground, embedded in the square itself. It is not possible to enter the pit, but it is recommended to look through at the underground library with 14 empty shelves. The emptiness of the shelves symbolizes the enormous cultural space left behind by the burned books, which were burned by the Nazis.
Two of the shelves by the way are hidden and out of site, and out of the 14, one can observe the only 12 shelves, symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve months of the year. The dimensions of the room are not random either, they were calculated according to Ullman's body size multiplied by four, indicating the humanism that was buried in that shocking event. In the library room, a closed door facing the local university, from which the students who burnt the books existed the university.
Ullman said about the monument: "The image that stood before me at all stages of the work was the cry of Edvard Munch: a relatively small opening in a large picture, a small black pit, an element of shouting, a cry without a sound."