US & Canada

Hitler-owned book hints at Nazi plans for North America

Title page in book owned by Adolf Hitler Image copyright Library and Archives Canada
Image caption The bookplate contains a stylized eagle, swastika, and the words "Ex Libris Adolf Hitler" - a sign it came from Hitler's personal library

A book once owned by Adolf Hitler provides a chilling look at what may have been his interest in extending the "Final Solution" to North America.

The book was written by a Nazi researcher who spent time in the US before the outbreak of World War Two.

It has been acquired by the Library and Archives of Canada, and was once owned by a Holocaust survivor.

The Final Solution was a code name for the Nazi's goal of committing genocide against the Jewish people.

The Nazis killed about 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, mostly from Europe.

The book - Statistik, Presse und Organisationen des Judentums in den Vereinigten Staaten und Kanada (Statistics, Media, and Organisations of Jewry in the United States and Canada) - provides details on the Jewish population of large cities such as New York and Montreal, as well as small Jewish communities throughout North America.

"This invaluable report offers a documented confirmation of the fears felt so acutely and expressed by so many Canadian Jews during the Second World War: that the Nazis would land on our shores and with them, the annihilation of Jewish life here," said Rebecca Margolis, who is president of the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies.

"While these fears may seem unfounded given the geographic distance of Nazi Europe to Canada, this handbook offering detailed statistics of Jewish populations across North America underlines their nightmarish potential."

The book was compiled in 1944 by Heinz Kloss.

Kloss was a Nazi researcher who lived in the US between 1936-1937, and it likely his research on American and Canadian Jews was aided by Nazi sympathisers living in North America.

Hitler is said to have had a vast library containing anywhere from 6,000 to 16,000 books.

Image copyright Library and Archives Canada
Image caption Written by Heinz Kloss, the book was part of a "confidential" series and was for official use only

The Library believes the book was brought to the US as a war souvenir by a soldier who raided Hitler's alpine retreat outside of Berchtesgaden in 1945.

It was acquired from a respected Judaica dealer, who obtained it from the personal collection of a Holocaust survivor.

There is much debate over the ethics of purchasing Nazi artefacts.

In an interview with the CBC, Library and Archives of Canada curator Michael Kent discussed the moral dilemma of purchasing a book once owned by Hitler.

"While this is certainly a creepy item, the decision to acquire it was simple," he told the CBC. "The chance to acquire an item like this reminds us of ... the role we play in ensuring the memory of the Holocaust is preserved."

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