Hitler’s books: Insights into an evil mind
Included in the collection is a book by Friederich Nietzsche, the German philosopher whose writings, some say, provided a basis for Hitler’s fervent nationalism and belief in Aryan supremacy. What you don’t find in Brown’s Hitler collection, Streit says, are fresh insights into his mind or character.
“There is nothing in anything that we have here that would contradict what is generally known about Hitler. He doesn’t say anything about, ‘Jews are good people.’ There is no refutation for anything he stood for.”
But there is unsettling substantiation. One notable subject represented in Brown’s Hitler library is the occult. And the most requested book in the collection is Magic: History, Theory and Practice (1923) by Ernst Schertel. This book, as with some others, Hitler had marked.
“Like footprints in the sand,” Ryback writes of those notes in the margin, “they do not necessarily reveal the purpose of the journey, but they do allow us to see where his attention caught and lingered, where it rushed ahead, where a question was raised or an impression formed. In these books one finds Hitler’s pencil repeatedly drawn to passages related to the connection between the scientific and the spiritual, between the material and the immaterial.”
Hitler marked the margins of his books with vertical lines beside paragraphs or sentences he thought important. And one marked sentence in Magic is quite chilling, given Hitler’s history:
“He who does not carry demonic seeds within him will never give birth to a new world.”