History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


2214501

[Adolf Hitler]

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Adolf Hitler’s personal war-related books—three concerning Nazi Germany’s military operations during World War II—from his massive personal library

[Adolf Hitler, 1889–1945.  Führer and Reich Chancellor of Nazi Germany, 1933–1945.]

This is a group of five books from Adolf Hitler’s personal library.  All concern military operations, and three of the five directly recount German military operations during World War II.  The books are offered either as a group or separately.

These books are not signed, but laid into each of them is Hitler’s distinctive bookplate bearing the Nazi eagle sitting atop a laurel wreath surrounding a swastika, which is superimposed on an oak branch.  

Hitler was a voracious reader who sometimes would read a book in a night.  Friends who gave him gifts often gave him books, and because of his position as the German Führer, many authors signed and gave him copies of their new books. 

Hitler’s personal library was so large that it spanned three locations:  the massive library that filled the west wing of the new German Reich Chancellery in Berlin, the building that architect Albert Speer designed and built to immense proportions to flaunt Hitler’s concept of German might; a small library in Hitler’s apartment in Munich; and the library in the Berghof, his mountain retreat on the Obersalzburg outside of Berchtesgaden, in the southeastern corner of Germany.  Different estimates say that Hitler owned between 6,000 and 16,000 books, but those are necessarily imprecise.  Found in Hitler’s Munich apartment were sketches showing that Hitler, himself a frustrated artist and architect, planned to build a library annex at the Berghof large enough to house some 60,000 volumes. 

The Reich Chancellery was severely damaged during World War II, and our research shows that Soviet soldiers confiscated many of Hitler’s books after the fall of Berlin on May 2, 1945, and transported them to the Soviet Union.  The Berghof became an attraction for souvenir hunters, however, including American and French soldiers, local residents, and even United States Senators who visited the area after the end of World War II.  The Library of Congress holds approximately 1,200 of Hitler’s personal books, and another 80 reside at Brown University. 

At least two of these books were held in the collection in the Reich Chancellery.  In their bibliography of Hitler’s library, authors Philipp Gassett and Daniel S. Mattern include a list of titles from the original card catalog of books at the Reich Chancellery that is now held in the Hoover Institution archives at Stanford University.  That catalog shows that Narvik: Sieg des Glaubens and Jagdfliegergruppe G.: Jäger an Polens Himmel, detailed below, were in the Reich Chancellery collection.  Philipp Gassett and Daniel S. Mattern, The Hitler Library: A Bibliography 484, 534 (2001).

All five of the books that we offer here are in German and printed mostly in the old German Fraktur typeface.  Adolf Hitler's personal bookplateThey are these:

●  Josef Grabler, Mit Bomben und MGs Über Polen: PK-Kriegsberichte der Luftwaffe (1940).  First edition.  This book, “With Bombs and Machine Guns over Poland: Propaganda Company War Reports of the Air Force,” describes Nazi Germany’s air attacks on Poland in 1939.  It was Germany’s invasion of Poland on a pretext on September 1, 1939, that began World War II.  In an historical first, Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Göbbels sent Kriegsberichter, or war correspondents, from the Propaganda Ministry to accompany soldiers on the front lines.  The book contains 294 pages, with numerous black-and-white photographs that include a photo opposite the title page of Nazi Reichmarschall Hermann Göring, the head of the Luftwaffe, shaking hands with German fighter pilots. 

Hitler’s bookplate is attached inside the front cover. The cover is the original black linen imprinted in silver with two Stuka dive bombers on the front and in silver with red lettering on the spine.  The dust cover is missing.  The corners are bumped and worn, and the original silver coloration on the top of the text block is a bit faded.  The front hinge is cracked, with the front free endpaper separated from the pastedown, and separation is noticeable at the bottom.  Still the book is not particularly fragile, and its importance as Hitler’s personal copy overcomes the defect.  The book is in good condition.

●  Karl Georg von Stackelberg, Jagdfliegergruppe G.: Jäger an Polens Himmel (1940).  Sixth printing, 1942.  This book, “Fighter Pilot Group G.: Fighters in Poland’s Sky,” describes Germany’s assault on Poland in 1939. Complete with a formal portrait of Göring with his facsimile signature on the frontispiece, the book contains propaganda praise for the German Luftwaffe and its pilots.  The book is 183 pages, including numerous black-and-white photos of Nazi aircraft and the destruction in Poland.  It was the 3,453rd book that Hitler acquired in 1943.

This book is in nice condition.  It is bound in half linen binding, and Hitler’s bookplate is centered inside the front cover.  The binding is tight, and the pages are clean.  The dust cover is missing, however.  There is a stain at the bottom of the cloth on the spine, and there is a small gouge, perhaps a flaw in the paper, near the top of the front free endpaper next to very light erased pencil markings that appear to be an old price notation and perhaps the name of a prior owner.  There are also unexplained lines of ink at the top and bottom edges of the front and back covers, the insides of the covers, and the outer sides of the free endpapers.  We grade the book good because the dust cover is absent, but otherwise it would be very good. 

●  Werner Fantur, Narvik: Sieg des Glaubens (1941).  First edition.  This book, “Narvik: Victory of Belief,” recounts Nazi military operations during Germany’s two-month Norway campaign in 1940.  The German Navy seized the Norweigan coastline and harbors and the Army disembarked to occupy the country just before a British invasion force arrived.  Hitler acquired this book in 1943; it was the 3,168th book that he acquired that year.

This book was published without a dust cover.  It is bound in paper-covered boards imprinted on the cover and the spine.  This is very nice copy.    The book is illustrated with several large black-and-white photographs.  The text block is clean, and the binding is tight.  There is moisture rippling of the front free endpaper from the affixture of Hitler’s bookplate on its inside, opposite the half title page.  This book, too, has the unexplained lines of ink at the top and bottom edges of the front and back covers, the insides of the covers, and the outer sides of the free endpapers.  This copy is in very good condition.

●  Karl Georg von Stackelberg, Legion Condor:  Deutsche Freiwillige in Spanien (1939).  Evident first edition, first printing.  This book, “Legion Condor: German Volunteers in Spain,” details the history and mission of the “Condor Legion,” a German volunteer unit that fought in Spain between 1936 and 1939 for the right-wing Nationalist General Francisco Franco against the left-wing Popular Front government composed largely of socialists, communists, and the left-leaning Spanish Republicans.  The book also discusses Franco’s political goals.  The book is without illustrations except for a formal portrait of the Göring, with his facsimile signature, above his printed statement on the frontispiece.

Göring, the head of the German Luftwaffe, sent the Condor Legion to Spain for special duty in support of Franco’s forces on the condition that it remain under German command.  The German forces included four bomber squadrons of 12 bombers each, four fighter squadrons, and both anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns.  The Germans engaged in several raids and devastated the city of Guernica in 1937. 

Hitler’s bookplate is attached inside the front cover.  Overall the book is clean, and the binding is tight.  There is about a 1½” separation of the half title page from the binding at the top, and there is a crack behind the front free end paper extending the length of the page.  We see no other similar defects.  The book is bound in black cloth imprinted in red, with the top of the text block light blue.  The corners are slightly bumped and worn., and the printing has chipped in places on the front and the spine.  There is some foxing on the edges of the text block.  Our research shows that at least some printings of this book had a dust cover, but if this first printing had one, it is not present here.  Overall, this book is in good condition.

●  Vittorio Mussolini, Bomber Über Abessinien (1937).  First German edition.  This book, “Bombers Over Abyssinia,” is Vittorio Mussolini’s memoir of his experience as an Italian air force pilot and photographer during Italy’s 1935–1936 invasion of Abyssinia, the ancient name for Ethiopia.  Vittorio, a film critic and producer, was the second son of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.  He and his younger brother Bruno crewed bombers during the war, in which Italy was condemned by other countries for bombing civilian targets, including Red Cross hospitals, although Italy claimed that the “hospitals” actually sheltered Ethiopian soldiers. 

The book is illustrated with a number of black-and-white photographs, including a portrait of Vittorio Mussolini opposite the title page, photos of Italian aircraft, and aerial photos showing areas and bombing in Abyssinia.  The book evidently was issued without a dust cover.  It is bound in gold buckram imprinted in red on the cover and spine, and the top of the text block is likewise red.  Hitler’s bookplate is attached inside the front cover. The pages are clean and bright, and the binding is tight.  The corners are slightly bumped, there is a light stain on the outer vertical edges of the pages, and there are unexplained lines of ink at the top and bottom edges of the front and back covers, the free endpapers, and inside the back cover.  Overall, the book is in very good to near fine condition. 

We reject Nazism and all that it represented.  We nevertheless offer these books because of their direct association with Adolf Hitler and, with three of the five, a direct tie to German military actions during World War II.  Hitler and his Nazi party spawned the German Third Reich and the Holocaust that it systematically carried out, both of which played undeniable roles in 20th Century history.  Since we believe that to decline to offer Nazi material, although it is offensive, would aid those who want to sweep the Third Reich under the rug and deny that the Holocaust occurred, we offer these books because the world must never forget what happened, lest it happen again.  Click here to read more about these thoughts in our Blog posts of January 8 and February 26, 2010.

 

Click here to see more Third Reich and World History items.

The five books:  $5,000.00

Each book individually:  $1,150.00

ORDER THIS ITEM

 

Josef Grabler, Mit Bomben und MGs Über Polen: PK-Kriegsberichte der Luftwaffe (1940)

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Karl Georg von Stackelberg, Jagdfliegergruppe G.: Jäger an Polens Himmel (1940)

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Werner Fantur, Narvik: Sieg des Glaubens (1941)

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Karl Georg von Stackelberg, Legion Condor:  Deutsche Freiwillige in Spanien (1939)

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Vittorio Mussolini, Bomber Über Abessinien (1937)

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To the extent applicable to those affected by German law, particularly § 86a StGB, historical and military items from or relating to the period and personalities of the German Third Reich are offered for only purposes of education and research regarding

historical events and military history and uniforms.  Clients who purchase such items agree that they will not use them for propaganda or other purposes that would be punishable under § 86a StGB.

 

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