Home / A&E / Books / The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance (Viking), by Anders Rydell

The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance (Viking), by Anders Rydell

Jan. 31, 2017
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The Nazis were art thieves on a massive scale. They also stole books. In The Book Thieves, Swedish journalist Anders Rydell visits Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and other cities where the Nazis confiscated the collections of bibliophiles and emptied the shelves of libraries. The Jews were their principal (but not only) target; their aim was not only to eliminate Jewish cultural presence but also to amass huge research libraries for Nazi institutions dedicated to Jewish studies. They were fascinated by the people they deemed mortal enemies. Remarkably, the Nazis continued cataloging their stolen collections even as Allied armies pushed into the Reich. The Book Thieves has a few odd quirks. The German Empire is repeatedly referred to as a “dukedom,” probably the result of a translator with a shaky grasp of history. 

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