Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Stolen Words The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books by Mark Glickman - 2016 - 344 Pages

 Stolen Words The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books by Mark Glickman - 2016 - 344 Pages is a beautiful, brilliant book.  I offer my great thanks to Rabbi Glickman for sharing so much essential knowledge about Jewish traditions and the efforts of the Nazis to destroy Jewish Culture with us,

"Stolen Words is an epic story about the largest collection of Jewish books in the world—tens of millions of books that the Nazis looted from European Jewish families and institutions. Nazi soldiers and civilians emptied Jewish communal libraries, confiscated volumes from government collections, and stole from Jewish individuals, schools, and synagogues. Early in their regime the Nazis burned some books in spectacular bonfires, but most they saved, stashing the literary loot in castles, abandoned mine shafts, and warehouses throughout Europe. It was the largest and most extensive book-looting campaign in history.
After the war, Allied forces discovered these troves of stolen books but quickly found themselves facing a barrage of questions. How could the books be identified? Where should they go? Who had the authority to make such decisions? Eventually the military turned the books over to an organization of leading Jewish scholars called Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc.—whose chairman was the acclaimed historian Salo Baron and whose on-the-ground director was the philosopher Hannah Arendt—with the charge of establishing restitution protocols.
Stolen Words is the story of how a free civilization decides what to do with the material remains of a world torn asunder, and how those remains connect survivors with their past. It is the story of Jews struggling to understand the new realities of their post-Holocaust world and of Western society’s gradual realization of the magnitude of devastation wrought by World War II. Most of all, it is the story of people —of Nazi leaders, ideologues, and Judaica experts; of Allied soldiers, scholars, and scoundrels; and of Jewish communities, librarians, and readers around the world."  From Nebraska University Press  - the Publisher 

Most people know the Nazis burned Jewish Books but my guess is few know that they stole millions of books from Jewish collections and individuals. Their purpose was to use them to document their fantasies about Jewish plots and to place the works in a planned museum of Jewish culture to be built  after a victory which never happened.

Glickman describes Germany as a country that respected the power of books.  That is why they were so concerned to capture Jewish Books. Likewise he details the great importance of studying the written word in Jewish History as well as the widespread love of books in Eastern European and Russian Jewish communities.

He takes us way back in Jewish and German history and ends up  with his experiences teaching in a summer camp for teenagers on Jewish culture 

Rabbi Mark Glickman has served at congregations in Ohio, Washington State, and Colorado. He is the author of Sacred Treasure—The Cairo Genizah: The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History in an Egyptian Synagogue Attic.

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

You make a good point; we've heard so much more about burning books and about stealing paintings, but the idea of their having stolen books is something new to me. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!