HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of…
Loading...

The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race… (2015)

by Anders Rydell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2021482,279 (4.02)13
  1. 00
    Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books by Aaron Lansky (sneuper)
    sneuper: Both books are about an effort of rescuing books from the hands of Nazi’s who want to destroy the heritage of the Jewish people.
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
The Book Thieves: Nazi Looting… - Rydell/Koch
3 stars

This was a very difficult book to read for both its content and its structure. It’s possible that a poor translation may be part of the problem. Without doubt the book was desperately in need of editing. The author was determined to describe the mind numbing scope of the of the Nazi’s systematic looting of Europe’s libraries. This task was more than enough to fill several books, but in addition, in each of many looted locations, he also described the personalities and criminal acts of the Germans in command, the names and motivations of those who collaborated, the depth of human atrocities committed, and many more important details. I respect the need to record this history, but the story of the books and the possibility of restoration got lost in the repetitious detail.

As much as I was frustrated with the organization of this book, the content was compelling, and very depressing. Rydell hammered one fact above all others, most of the looted libraries were destroyed or dispersed irretrievably. Collections looted by the Nazis were stolen again at the end of the war. Much was taken to the Soviet Union as trophy plunder. A large number of books and documents are now in the United States Library of Congress, the legal rationale for the acquisition is unclear. Scattered, rare books from well known collections can be found in prestigious libraries all over the world with little clear provenance for their acquisition. Most heartbreaking collections of books from communities whose entire populations were exterminated.

I would have liked more information about current efforts of restoration. Some books are being cataloged,digitized, and entered into a searchable database. It’s a sisyphean task with only a small chance of success. The last chapter of this book tells about one success. The author is able to return a single book to the granddaughter of a gas chamber victim. Just one book among many. I won’t remember the authors detailed accounting of repeated atrocities and the unending cultural destruction. I’ll remember the story of that one book. ( )
  msjudy | Jul 31, 2018 |
A new angle on an oft-reported story. There are other books that look at the masses of artworks stolen by the Nazi regime and its allies, but this book focuses on the millions upon millions of books stolen by the Nazi regime. The rationales (such as they were) behind these thefts, the process by which the thefts were carried out, attempts by the victims to evade the fate, and the occasionally tragic results of missing and destroyed books are all discussed. The only reason I don't give this book full marks is because, in spots, information is repeated unnecessarily, indicating a slight bit of sloppiness in either translation or editing. In some respects, a depressing book (especially if you are a book lover), but one that should be read. ( )
  EricCostello | Jun 27, 2018 |
I read this book in 2 phases with about a year off in between because the story is so sad, so dramatic, and so devastating the destruction that humans perpetrate and perpetuate against one another. Hitler's solution to the Jewish question was to kill off millions of people and destroy their culture - one way of so doing was to loot their libraries, confiscate and destroy millions and millions of books. The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance, takes you across Europe and Russia to some of the locations that major libraries were located at and tells the stories of those libraries and of the effort to restore books stolen by the Nazi regime and then also by the Stalin regime to their rightful owners. Heart-breaking and vital to understand what happened in 1939 -
1945. ( )
  phoenixcomet | Feb 20, 2018 |
Great potential but it was not quite what I thought it would be. Sadly in light of recent events this book became a highly timely and relevant read. You occasionally hear about stolen property, heirlooms, art (paintings) that were stolen by the Nazis and are slowly being returned/rediscovered/etc. This book, as the title suggests, examines the looting of books throughout Europe.
 
Author Rydell looks at how and why the Nazis took these books. You may recall or have heard about book burnings. But Nazis also stole books for their own collections to study and learn. After the war these books were scattered all around Europe, lost in various collections and libraries. There is some effort to track and return them to their rightful owners (or their descendants) but obviously they weren't cataloged when they were taken, it is unclear where the books came from or the families of the owners are not traceable.
 
It sounded like a really interesting read and this was high on my to-read list. Unfortunately it wasn't. What I thought would be an examination of what happened to these books in general. Instead it was attempting to be a much broader history of what happened during the war plus the description of the library/neighborhood where these books eventually landed. There are interesting stories of learning about the owners or the path the book traveled or other book-related information. But this book reminded me a lot of 'The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu' where the author spends too much time on the broader context rather than the books/libraries themselves.
 
There is interesting information here and I did learn. But it was not what I had hoped the book would be. There was really great potential here but it was too padded and I guess is more niche than I thought it would be.
 
I recommend borrowing from the library. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
People will prose lovingly about their favorite book, but it seems pale in comparison to how a common practically valueless book can be the only tangible memory of a family nearly exterminated by the Nazis during World War II. Authors written many books and the movie “Monument Men” made about the return of looted art to owners or heirs, but the theft of millions of books has gone unnoticed until now.

This well researched book reaches beyond the pictures of massive book burnings to the hoarding of volumes seized for the Nazi elitists and for general distribution to favored libraries.

Librarians use Nazi meticulous records, bookplates and acquisition records to return stolen books found within their collection to their owners or in most cases their heirs. The author researches which libraries and private collections were confiscated and what most likely happened to the books, manuscripts and related material. In some cases identify marks are not enough to trace the previous owner. In other cases, the libraries refuse to recognize how the material was acquired. ( )
  bemislibrary | Sep 24, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rydell, Andersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marjamäki, PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0735221227, Hardcover)

For readers of The Monuments Men and The Hare with Amber Eyes, the story of the Nazis' systematic pillaging of Europe's libraries, and the small team of heroic librarians now working to return the stolen books to their rightful owners.

While the Nazi party was being condemned by much of the world for burning books, they were already hard at work perpetrating an even greater literary crime. Through extensive new research that included records saved by the Mouments Men themselves—Anders Rydell tells the untold story of Nazi book theft, as he himself joins the effort to return the stolen books. When the Nazi soldiers ransacked Europe’s libraries and bookshops, large and small, the books they stole were not burned. Instead, the Nazis began to complie a library of their own that they could use to wage an intellectual war on literature and history. In this secret war, the libraries of Jews, Communists, Liberal politicans, LGBT activists, Catholics, Freemasons, and many other opposition groups were appropriated for Nazi research, and used as an intellectual weapon against their owners. But when the war was over, most of the books were never returned. Instead many found their way into the public library system, where they remain to this day.

Now, Rydell finds himself entrusted with one of these stolen volumes, setting out to return it to its rightful owner. It was passed to him by the small team of heroic librarians who have begun the monumental task of combing through Berlin’s public libraries to identify the looted books and reunite them with the families of their original owners. For those who lost relatives in the Holocaust, these books are often the only remaining possession of their relatives they have ever held. And as Rydell travels to return the volume he was given, he shows just how much a single book can mean to those who own it.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 11 Sep 2016 22:52:30 -0400)

"While the Nazi party was being condemned by much of the world for burning books, they were already hard at work perpetrating an even greater literary crime. Through extensive new research that included records saved by the Monuments Men themselves--Anders Rydell tells the untold story of Nazi book theft, as he himself joins the effort to return the stolen books. When the Nazi soldiers ransacked Europe's libraries and bookshops, large and small, the books they stole were not burned. Instead, the Nazis began to compile a library of their own that they could use to wage an intellectual war on literature and history. In this secret war, the libraries of Jews, Communists, Liberal politicians, LGBT activists, Catholics, Freemasons, and many other opposition groups were appropriated for Nazi research, and used as an intellectual weapon against their owners. But when the war was over, most of the books were never returned. Instead many found their way into the public library system, where they remain to this day. Now, Rydell finds himself entrusted with one of these stolen volumes, setting out to return it to its rightful owner. It was passed to him by the small team of heroic librarians who have begun the monumental task of combing through Berlin's public libraries to identify the looted books and reunite them with the families of their original owners. For those who lost relatives in the Holocaust, these books are often the only remaining possession of their relatives they have ever held. And as Rydell travels to return the volume he was given, he shows just how much a single book can mean to those who own it,"--Amazon.com.… (more)

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.02)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3 8
3.5 2
4 10
4.5 3
5 8

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,031,621 books! | Top bar: Always visible