Coffee-break Quick Pick: You have to give it to the Nazi’s. Not content with stealing every piece of art they could find – think the Monuments Men movie, they turned their attention to the libraries and bookshops of Europe, not burning as many books as we once thought. The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance by Anders Rydell, might sound like a mouthful but this non-fiction work brings to attention the Nazi’s attempt to compile a library of their own which ….
Synopsis: “they could use to wage an intellectual war on literature and history. In this secret war, the libraries of Jews, Communists, Liberal politicians, LGBT activists, Catholics, Freemasons, and many other opposition groups were appropriated for Nazi research, and used as an intellectual weapon against their owners. But when the war was over, most of the books were never returned. Instead many found their way into the public library system, where they remain to this day.”
The author Rydell, entrusted with one of these stolen volumes, sets out to return it to its rightful owner. It was passed to him by the small team of heroic librarians who have begun the monumental task of combing through Berlin’s public libraries to identify the looted books and reunite them with the families of their original owners. For those who lost relatives in the Holocaust, these books are often the only remaining possession of their relatives they have ever held. And as Rydell travels to return the volume he was given, he shows just how much a single book can mean to those who own it.”
I haven’t read this yet, but it sounds extraordinary.