Library and Archives acquires book once owned by Hitler

The title of a rare 1944 book once owned by Adolf Hitler and now acquired by Library and Archives Canada offers an ominous reminder of what happened some 75 years ago.

The national library has in its possession a 137-page German language report titled Statistik, Presse und Organisationen des Judentums in den Vereinigten Staaten und Kanada. That translates to Statistics, Media, and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada.

It was compiled in 1944 by a German linguist named Heinz Kloss. Library and Archives says in a media release that Kloss specialized in German speakers living in the United States. He visited the United States before the Second World War and is known to have been in touch with Nazi sympathizers in the U.S.

He was also responsible for producing information used by the Nazis. The book was part of a confidential series and was for official use only.

The book provides details on population as well as key organizations of the Canadian and American Jewish communities.

The Library said in its release that the “work hints at the story of what might have happened in Canada had the allies lost the Second World War.

“It also demonstrates that the Holocaust was not a purely European event, but rather an operation that was stopped before it reached North America.”

The library says it believes the book can be “an important tool to fight Holocaust denial.”

In the bookplate there is a stylized eagle, a swastika, and the words EX LIBRIS ADOLF HITLER.

The library says the acquisition “highlights our mandate to acquire material that reflects the published record of Canada as well as to preserve the memory of the Holocaust. It is also a way to let us reflect on what would have happened in Canada had the Second World War ended differently.”

The chief librarian and national archivist said, in the media release, that he believes it is important for the Library “and other memory institutions around the world — to acquire, preserve and make available documents no matter how controversial or contentious they could be.

“It allows us to educate and to advocate for the most complete historical record possible. The truth of history is woven from many sources, and it is only when history is presented in its entirety that it can support the free exchange of ideas that lies at the heart of a democratic society,” Guy Berthiaume said.

The existence of this book seems to confirm the fears of many Canadian Jews during the Second World War, said uOttawa Prof. Rebecca Margolis, who is also the president of the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies.

Hitler was known to be a prolific reader and book collector. Some estimate his collection had up to 16,000 books.

Library and Archives said the book was likely a war souvenir taken by an American soldier from Hitler’s retreat at Berchtesgaden in 1945.

The Library says it got the book from a Judaica dealer. It was included in a collection owned by a Holocaust survivor. The book will be put in the Jacob M. Lowy Collection along with other important items related to Holocaust remembrance, the release said.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.