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January 17, 2013

Hitler's Private Library

A Review: ….The Books that Shaped His Life:  Timothy W. Ryback.


Bored with my own pickings this week, I drove up to my corner library and found myself looking at the section about books.  My eye, which seems drawn to details of the Third Reich, found themselves looking at a book about Hitler’s library by Timothy W. Ryback.

The earliest books in Hitler’s collection were acquired while he was still in the service during WWI.  “Berlin” is a book about the architectural history of Berlin by the art historian Max Osborn.  Osborn bemoans the fact that much of the architecture of Berlin is drawn from elsewhere, and little is actually Germanic in nature.  Change was needed, he said.  Hitler agreed.  Hitler also agreed with several other authors who espoused riding Germany of the Jewish influence.

Ryback gives us a good overview of the remaining library.  He commented that books were always favored gifts to Hitler.  Many of the volumes in the remaining collection were gifts never looked at by Hitler.  At the end of the war, Hitler had books in three different places.  His volumes in his mountain home bunker survived but were looted.  His Bunker in Berlin was burned then looted.  Only the section of his library that was shipped into storage survived not even two thousand volumes.

By 1945, much of Hitler’s personal library, from the worn volumes acquired during the war to the boxed sets and folios, was boxed up and sent to underground caves for safety.  Liberated by the US forces, it was eventually sent to the Library of Congress.  Much of it today has not been catalogued, writes author Ryback.  Other volumes from Hitler’s library turn up as individual volumes in scattered libraries across America. 

Yes, as many philosophers say, one can judge a person by their library.  Despite the philosophies and histories, plays and music on Hitler’s shelves, there were also many volumes arguing for the final solution.  Ryback writes a fascinating history of not only Hitler’s library but of the times and thought that produced these volumes.  I found this book an excellent addition to my research on the Nazi’s Third Reich rise and fall. 

  • Keeping those on the east coast in my thoughts.
  • Himself:  Driving better at night.  Both of us at our highest weight ever.
  • Herself:  Breakfast change from toast to 1 cup veggies and a 3 point yogurt.  Progress.
  • Reading:  A cookbook history.
  • Balance:  Feeling clear but very tired by the late afternoons.

    Tabor said...

    So hoping you can start turning the point on the weight issues. It is an endless and exhausting battle, but I hope you start winning some of the skirmishes for your health. Just keep the crap out of the house.

    Harriet said...

    Fresh berries are a good addition to the yogurt. (I'm using frozen ones just now, as fresh ones aren't available without floating a loan.)

    Berries are good for eye health, among other things.

    Captain Poolie said...

    Oh God! You will be able to analyze me by examining my library??? I am all over the place with my books!

    Terri said...

    Strikes me as interesting that Hitler loved books and yet destroyed so many books that the Jewish community had....

    gigihawaii said...

    Hey, Mage, thanks so much for your advice re our trip to DC. Much appreciated!

    Alice said...

    I love seeing what books people collect. I really do think it tells people a lot about you. I've been re-doing mine (after the painting) and some still on the shelves really surprise me! (I must have been a lot more conservative when I was young!) I'd like to see Hitler's old photographs and letters he might have kept also. Those should provide an insight of sorts, too! Don't you think so?

    schmidleysscribblins, said...

    Look for the book below we read in my class on Western Cities from 1900 to 1950:

    The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape