A book presumed to have been owned by Adolf Hitler was bought by Library and Archives Canada for just over US$4,500 even though some of the federal agency’s employees questioned its purchase.
This according to Access to Information records obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.
The 1944 book in question, Statistik, Presse Und Organisationen Des Judentums In Den Vereinigten Staaten Und Kanada, is a statistical directory of Jewish communities in Canada and the U.S.
The volume was previously listed for US$3,000 in 2011 by a New York auction house, Kestenbaum & Company, but they abruptly removed it from sale and had no comment when contacted by Blacklock’s about why.
And archivists in staff emails questioned the purchase of the 137-page book.
This 1944 book, Statistik, Presse Und Organisationen Des Judentums In Den Vereinigten Staaten Und Kanada,was purchased by Library and Archives Canada for over US$4,500 and is believed to have once been owned by Adolf Hitler. (Ashley Fraser/Postmedia Network)
“Regardless of the provenance, is the research value of the volume equal to the sticker price?” wrote Mary McIntyre, assistant manager of special collections, according to Blacklock’s. “That is, is it significant enough to make a solid contribution to the collection?”
Michael Kent, a senior librarian who handled the purchase, called it “a little light for me to justify as Canadian by our standards.”
Kent wrote in an Acquisition Report that while staff were convinced the book was owned by Hitler “this report contains slightly less than the required threshold to be considered Canadiana.”
The book includes a bookplate with a Nazi eagle and text reading: “Ex Libris Adolf Hitler.”
Historians estimate Hitler owned 16,000 books with the most valuable taken by U.S. troops in 1945 and stored at the Library of Congress.