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Book from Hitler's Library?

Article about: I offer this with no claims, and ask that you assess it on the basis of your expertise, common sense, or just plain gut feeling. But, however you arrive at your opinion, please give me—and e

  1. #1

    Default Book from Hitler's Library?

    I offer this with no claims, and ask that you assess it on the basis of your expertise, common sense, or just plain gut feeling. But, however you arrive at your opinion, please give me—and everyone else—the benefit of your rational for making your assessment. Here’s the story behind it. I found this book in an open-air seller’s stall on Albrecht Strasse, Ecke Schloss Strasse, in Berlin in March 1957. I paid 50 Pfennig (about 7 US Cents at the time) for it. I ask the seller about the Ex Libris sticker and he just shrugged and said that it probably came from the Reich Chancellery when the Russians looted it in 1945. He had several other books dealing with WWII that I also bought, several that had come from private libraries, including one from Walter Funk’s home in Wansee and a very rare first edition copy of Achtung Panzer! by Heinz Guderian.
    These are my observations: The Ex Libris sticker is aged to the same degree as the paper around it and there is some faint spotting on it. So, my friends, colleagues, and collectors, what do you think; is it genuine? Dwight

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    Last edited by drmessimer; 09-13-2012 at 04:50 AM.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Book from Hitler's Library?

    Hi Dwight good to see you again,, its been a while since we chatted last. This is a nice book,,with all the related attributes from of some the other possibly high ranking Nazis. Here is my 2 cents to be added on the 7 that you paid for it! Just joking and I mean no malicious intent. I feel there is quite a possibility of it being authentic,, but the word "probably " as mentioned by the seller puts a dampening on the authenticity just a little bit. "Probably" means possibly in a 60-40 favor because of the Lubris sticker,,,, if my understanding of the word is correct. So yes the the Ex Lubris sticker is identical and no doubt I feel it is period. The other consideration that needs to be addressed is How many of these books were published? and that question is asked because of the word "Probably". I would like to think some of my SA daggers belonged to some latter feared Higher SS officers. I just dont know that. All I know about them is about how many were produced and how many actually were found,, observed in sightings,, and all due to the rarity of the maker.
    Please keep an open mind as I am not trying to shed a dim light on this book,, but just some thoughts to think about. Again I feel it is period and someone had it but who?
    The infamous burning of the books on May 10 1933 removed as much non Germanic Culture and theology and was replaced with countless pro NSDAP ,,Anti semitism,,and New order. Storys of Knights.. war heroes of old,,and a brainwashed mindset of a glorious future. I feel that IMO this could be one of those books to usher in as a catalyst the beginning of Germanys "Valhalla" . This idea was to replace the negative result of losing a war,, and not letting loss happen again.
    It is possible "Our Struggle in Norway" as it is titled was printed for quite few people or even more. Great find! Best regards Larry
    It is not the size of a Collection in History that matters......Its the size of your Passion for it!! - Larry C

    One never knows what tree roots push to the surface of what laid buried before the tree was planted - Larry C

    “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” - Winston Churchill

  4. #3

    Default Re: Book from Hitler's Library?

    Larry: Thanks for the in-depth reply, and I agree with the points you made. This particular edition doesn't provide the number printed, which makes it impossible to determine if it was a first or later edition. On that basis, your point about the number printed would certainly have to be considered since anything that Der Führer received would have to be a first edition. My gut feeling is that, given the book's rather limited market, relative to the war's progress, this is probably the first--and only-- edition. Dwight

  5. #4

    Default Re: Book from Hitler's Library?

    I've seen one of these ex libris stickers for sale on a dealers site, and it looks exactly the same. Given the time period that you bought it, I'd say that it's most likely good, but his "probably" may have been a way of covering his behind about selling an item with a swastika on it in Germany at that time?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Book from Hitler's Library?

    Doomtown: Thanks for your reply. As I said at the start of this thread, I make no claims as to the authenticity of this item, and I have no doubt that such ex-libris stickers have been and are being printed. But I don't think that there was a market for that specific sort of thing in 1957, especially in Berlin. The fact that the seller said, "possibly" (vieleicht) is certainly problematical, but what else might he say? The source for such a book in Berlin was limited to just one place--the Reich Chancellery, unless Hitler had another library in town. And why would the seller cover his behind for 50 Pfennig? And there is the fact that the seller was essentially operating in a flea market that only Germans went to. I was probably the only American soldier who ever went into that place. There were certainly die-hard Nazis who would have readily bought something like that book--my cousin for one, so maybe that was the market. But where's the profit in 50 Pfennig? As a matter of passing interest, on the sidewalk in front of this open-air mall was a street light on which was a metal sign that told all who saw it that the "Inhuman Nazis hanged a German soldier from this Lamp Post in April 1945." That's how it still was in Berlin in 1957. Dwight

  7. #6

    Default Re: Book from Hitler's Library?

    Oh, I just meant that the sticker conforms to the pattern that I had seen for sale and believed to be genuine. I have to say that I've gotten some insane and improbable deals in German Flöhmarkte, so I don't doubt that it's possible that you got a genuine piece for 50 Pfennig, especially on books and printed things, the Germans had a glut of publishers and publishing and in my experience were less interested in books than I was. When I was studying in Germany just a few years ago my excitement at being able to buy an East German grade school textbook for one Euro made all the Germans laugh a bit. I imagine especially even a decade after the war a book from that period wouldn't have been seen as very valuable or desirable even. I would give a lot to be able to see what you saw in 1957, it must have been amazing. When I lived there I rode my bike past Kleist Park nearly every day coming from Prenzlauerberg and thought it a nice park. I later read the book "A Woman in Berlin" and found out that my nice park once was a graveyard for humans and horses alike. I also remember being in Southern Germany and getting a lift from a middle aged friend of the family who slowed down near a large, thick tree and explained that people had been hung from it during the war. You have to love German frankness, oder?

  8. #7

    Default Re: Book from Hitler's Library?

    Imagine the other deals to be made in '57 ... !

  9. #8

    Default Re: Book from Hitler's Library?

    Doomtown & Scout: Yes, Berlin in the 1950's was a motherlode for TR medals, badges, and pins, and just about anything else you could imagine. Those of us who didn't smoke, traded our 2-cartons-per-month cigarette ration for just about anything we wanted from the street vendors. Two packs of Pall Malls could get you any medal you wanted, and for the whole catron you could probably have gotten the seller's entire stock. They in turn sold the cigarettes on the black market for a huge profit. What we didn't trade for, we bought for pennys, especially with the exchange rate being 4.25 to 1 and prices at rock bottom. I wish I had possessed the foresight to buy everything in sight and ship it home. As for the Ex-Libris paste-in, my problem is that I have never seen a certified genuine example. So, I have nothing by which to judge this one. As I said, the aging and condition cause me to believe that it is about the same age as the book. Dwight

  10. #9

    Default Re: Book from Hitler's Library?

    So cool! I can only imagine what it would have been like. I was there when the Euro was against the dollar two to one, poor timing on my part! I hope someone can chime in about your Ex Libris paste-in, though I like the look of it personally.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Book from Hitler's Library?

    First off, here are a couple of photos that I think you will enjoy. The first is a shot of the Reich Chancellery library in 1940. The second photo, also taken in 1940, is the main entrance to the Reich Chancellery, Bundesarchiv photo 183-R39708

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    I found this information in an article from the May 2002 issue of The Atlantic Monthly discussing Hitler's private library. Apparently his library was divided between the Reich Chancellery, Munich, and Berchtesgarden. The books that were kept in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin were confiscated by the Soviets and sent to Moscow. The Books in Munich and Berchtesgaden were taken as war booty by individual American soldiers. The 101st Airborne Division discovered 3,000 books in a Berchtesgaden salt mine, haphazardly stashed in schnapps crates with the Reich Chancellery address on them. After a lengthy initial evaluation at the U.S. military collecting point in Munich, the 3,000 books from the mine were shipped to the United States and transferred in January 1952 to the Library of Congress, where an intern was assigned to uncrate the collection. According to David Moore, a German-acquisition assistant at the Library of Congress. "If a book was not one hundred percent sure, if there was no bookplate, no inscription to the Führer, he didn't keep it." According to Moore, duplicate copies were sent to the exchange-and-gift division and then either went to other libraries or found their way onto the open market; the non-duplicate books that could not be fully authenticated were absorbed into the Library of Congress's general collection. In the spring of 2001 Greenwood Press published, The Hitler Library, a 550-page bibliography that lists each book alphabetically, with its author, page count, and call number. Also included are transcriptions of all handwritten dedications, some brief descriptions of marginalia, and an indication of which books contain the Führer's bookplate -- an eagle, a swastika, and oak branches between the words EX LIBRIS and ADOLF HITLER.

    The information, especially the part about the bookplate, is encouraging, but not the rock solid evidence of authenticity that I would like to have. There is still the question of how the book turned up in a seller's stall in Berlin in 1957, for which I have no real answer. I could offer a few plausible possibilities, but they are just suppositions. Any thoughts or comments from you out there? Dwight

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