The so-called German renewal through National Socialism is nothing but a hollow promise...
—Die tödliche Krankheit des deutschen Volkes (The Deadly Disease of the German People), Friedrich Wilhelm Förster, 1933

Fire Oath

"Fire oaths" were statements to be read as books were tossed to the flames. The German Student Association sent out a circular containing these statements before the book burnings. The fire oaths then accompanied the burning of works written by the individual authors named in the statements.

Against opportunism and political betrayal
For devotion to nation and state
F.W. Förster

Which of Friedrich Wilhelm Förster's Works were Burned?

All works published before May 1933

Who was Friedrich Wilhelm Förster?

Friedrich Wilhelm Förster (1869-1966), the son of a well-known German astronomer, was an accomplished author, educator, and philosopher. Between 1914 and 1920, Förster was a professor in Munich, where he was vocal in his criticism of German militarism. He relinquished his academic position in 1920 after nationalistic colleagues attacked his ideas. He fled first to Zurich in 1920 and then to France in 1926. Förster continued to publish and in 1933 wrote The Deadly Disease of the German People, a severe criticism of German nationalism and aggression.

On May 10, 1933, Friedrich Wilhelm Förster's works were publicly denounced and burned. His writings were seen as so subversive that the Nazis singled them out in a special "fire oath." In 1940, Förster went to New York where he continued to write. He returned to Switzerland in 1963.