Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hitler's Books

The New York Sun has an article about a new book titled Hitler's Private Library by Timothy Ryback:
Yet this man with such an anti-intellectual approach to reading came to own an enormous private library of around 16,000 books, kept in his residences in Berlin and Munich, and in the mountain retreat he had built above Berchtesgaden.

The first description of this book collection, published in 1942, divides the volumes into military history, the largest grouping; a section on art and architecture; another comprising many works on astrology, spiritualism, nutrition, and diet, and around a thousand books of often trashy popular literature, including a complete set of the Karl May cowboys-and-Indians stories, of which he was particularly fond. Most of Hitler's books, those kept in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, were shipped off by the victorious Soviet authorities to Moscow. They allegedly surfaced in a disused church in the city in the early 1990s, but then disappeared without trace. Many of the books in Munich and at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden fell victim to souvenir hunters among the American soldiers trampling through the ruins of the Reich in Bavaria, but around 3,000, discovered in a Berchtesgaden salt mine, found their way to the Library of Congress in Washington. These were eventually weeded out to leave around 1,200 books — less than 10% of the original collection — that contained undoubted evidence of Hitler's personal possession. Another 80 books that belonged to Hitler were identified only recently in the basement vault library of Brown University. Others doubtless still exist in private hands.
Read the whole thing for a basic book review and perhaps an insight or two on the mind of you-know-who, and the "bizarre note" upon which the book ends.

No comments:

Post a Comment