Last night I was cruising Netflix and decided to watch the BBC series on Auschwitz. I'll be the first to admit that I'm an absolute nut when it comes to anything WW2 related, and all too often I'll plug something into Wikipedia and find myself four hours later completely enthralled and still clicking away. Considering it's all a true story, it is just fascinating.
It's humbling to watch shows like this, and to truly appreciate your freedom and maybe in a sense, even understand it better. I constantly try to remind myself how lucky I truly am, and in a way I guess my collection helps me to remember. These small trinkets I have accumulated over the years may not have actually done anything to harm anyone in particular, but they represent the perpetrators that did.
I collect for the history, I could care less about makers. To me, when I'm purchasing something I'm buying what it represents and for historical significance; I also like the salty stuff, I usually pass along the mint stuff that wasn't issued and never left the depot. I never understood collectors with 95 Iron Crosses, but to each their own and I guess I can appreciate the rarity of some variants and things like that. I sell the extras that I don't want to fund the addiction of buying more. I've also never been able to understand how somebody can collect Third Reich related material, but strictly "Wehrmacht" and won't have anything to do with that party stuff. In my opinion, it's all the same and you can't have one without the other. To say the Wehrmacht wasn't involved with war crimes to some degree would be an outright lie and the Heer witnessed atrocities in the East constantly. Maybe if you consider yourself a "military" collector and not a Third Reich collector you sleep better at night with the concept of "out of sight, out of mind" coming into effect.
With all of this being said, I have an entire library of books related to the hobby, from awards/insignia to headgear and uniforms, etc. but I also have military vehicle identification books, personal accounts recorded many years after the cease-fire, and of course books on the Holocaust. I recently picked up both volumes I and II of Michael Miller's Leaders of the SS and German Police and I will blatantly admit I can't wait for more to come out.
Every now and again I'll hear a name associated with some aspect of the war and I just can't recall exactly what that person did or where they operated. It's nice to have a quick reference that's so nicely organized alphabetically to just pull out when need be. It is also very nice to put a face to the name. I know it may sound childish, but I like the fact that this isn't just an overload of text and I can see clear period photos of the guys that represent a very, very dark time in human history. These books are essential to any personal library in my opinion and do a great job informing who these heinous individuals were exactly. Summarizes who they were and what they did but also goes into detail providing promotion dates, awards/decorations, and important posts held within the system.
I've got his Gauleiter book as well (The Regional Leaders of the Nazi Party and their Deputies, 1925-1945) and it's the same basic concept though focused on a different organization. I will say the party book is more in-depth than the SS version but really only because there were so many different personalities within the SS to cover. Michael Miller also has another book coming out shortly titled the Leaders of the Storm Troops: Volume 1 SA-Führer, SA-Stabschef and SA-Obergruppenführer and I plan to pick this up immediately as a solid reference.
I think all too often we as collectors forget how terrifying the Nazis truly were, and these books help to remind of us of that; the truth. Anyways I just thought I'd share with everybody. I highly recommend picking up a copy (even if you only look at the pictures and don't read them)
Anyone else have these?