Page 15 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 15

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FRIEDMAN----JEWISH BOOK DURING NAZI ERA
7
that the captured Jewish book treasures might serve a useful
purpose for founding specialized research libraries on the Jewish
question. Upon the seizure of the Sudetenland in the autumn
of 1938, Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi top theoretician, requested the
Reich Commissioner for the Sudeten area, Konrad Henlein, to
confiscate all Jewish religious and secular literature. Henlein
promptly delegated this undertaking to one of his aides, Dr. Suchy.
In November, 1938, the Chief of the Security Policy, Reinhard
Heydrich, accompanied his directives for the Cristall Night
pogroms with this injunction: “The archives of the Jewish com­
munities are to be confiscated by the police, so that they will not
be destroyed [in the planned anti-Jewish riots] . . . Important in
this respect is the historically valuable material.” The following
dispatch sent on November 15, 1938, by local SS and police leaders
from Graz, Austria, reveals how Heydrich’s orders were observed:
“By order of the Special Police the valuable library of the Rabbi
[D. Herzog] was placed under the seal of the Gestapo during the
night of November 10th, [also] . . . large portions of the archives
and the library [of the Synagogue] were removed by the Special
Police from the burning office building to safe custody.” The
same line of action is indicated in a letter written by a high SS
officer in Munich on March 18, 1939: “The Special Police . . . is
designated as the official agency for the processing of the Jewish
archives [and books] taken into custody during the
Judenaktion.
Alfred Rosenberg, whom Hitler had charged with the Nazi
indoctrination of the German people, was given the additional
assignment of waging the “ideological and spiritual war against
Jews and Judaism.” This program included, among other things,
the establishment of a
Hohe Schule
(Advanced Training Institute)
of the NSDAP in Frankfurt to study the “ideological enemies of
Nazism,” particularly the Jews. On January 29, 1940, Hitler
authorized Rosenberg to continue the preparations, already under
way, for setting up the
Hohe Schule
, and to procure for its library
all necessary items from Jewish libraries and collections. Rosen­
berg was also authorized to set up an adequate staff for the
acquisition of Jewish property. Thus the infamous
Einsatzstab
Reichsleiter Rosenberg
(task force Rosenberg, hereafter referred to
as ERR) was created. The ERR engaged well trained German
librarians familiar with Jewish books, archives, museums and art
collections. Dr. Pohl, author of several vicious anti-Semitic books,
was one of the chief collectors for the ERR. In 1933 he was sent
by the Nazis to study in Palestine, and is purported to have
attended the Hebrew University until 1936. On March 1, 1941,
he became chief of the Hebraica collection in the library of the
“Institute for Study of the Jewish Question,” founded by A.