Thursday, February 15, 2018
The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance
Rydell has written an illuminating and meticulously researched account of the concentrated and deliberate efforts by several groups of Nazi functionaries to acquire, steal, seize, and collect all the available literature by and about Jews, Freemasons, witches, socialists, and communists throughout the countries they controlled, invaded or occupied. Through these seizures the Nazis engaged in a systematic effort (or several competing systematic efforts) to rewrite history, deleting accounts of people they loathed and seeking to insert instead their own warped vision.
Groups like the RHSA (SS -Reichssicherheitshauptamt, a part of Heinrich Himmler's SS) and the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (the ERR, a free-standing Reich organization, controlled by Alfred Rosenberg) competed with each other to seize the biggest and most While tracing individual books and collections in the same manner as The Monuments Men and other works that concentrated on the Nazi looting of art, Anders also delves deeply into the history of the actors within the Reich, the original owners of the collections and the men who secretly tried to save the histories of people, groups and cultures from the Nazis. A fascinating book, very well researched, and well written by Rydell, and capably translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch.