Nazi Lit

What's in Hitler's Library?

After Hitler committed suicide, over 16,000 books were unearthed from his bunker in Berlin. While many authors have attempted to analyze the Führer’s reading list, a new book, Hitler’s Private Library, scours the books for clues about the man himself. Author Timothy Ryback, a Holocaust historian, has read the notes in Hitler’s margins, and has torn through his volumes with forensic precision. Ryback’s book is organized chronologically, and begins with the literature that Hitler perused as a young corporal in the Austrian army. And according to a Financial Times review, Ryback studies the influence Hitler’s reading list may have had on his life and horrific decisions. Max Osborn’s architectural guide to Berlin, for example, which discussed “Prussian chauvinism," may have later inspired Hitler to turn Berlin into a city of Nazi architecture. And departing from other authors who have analyzed Hitler’s library, Ryback insists that a signed copy of Dietrich Eckhart’s Peer Gynt inspired Hitler to create the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.