On Thursday, a Manhattan auction house will be accepting bids on one of the more disturbing books to come onto the U.S. antiquarian book market in some time: Adolf Hitler’s personal copy of a city-by-city, state-by-state guide to the location of America’s Jewish population.
The book includes detailed data on towns like Peabody and Brookline, Massachusetts, the boroughs of New York City, as well as the farther-flung population clusters in states like Arizona, Arkansas, Minnesota and California. It also provides details of several hundred Jewish organizations, including B’nai B’rith and the Anti-Defamation League, along with names of key individuals and their addresses.
In light of the Holocaust, it is a disquieting compendium.
The 137-page report, “Statistik, Presse und Organisationen des Judentums in den Vereinigten Staaten und Kanada” (Statistics, Media, and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada), was compiled in 1944 by Heinz Kloss, a German linguist who specialized in minorities and visited the United States in the early 1930s.
Like many Nazi-era publications, the Kloss report, printed on cheap, highly acidic paper, is brittle and chipping. The cover, which bears a diagonal warning “For Official Use Only,” has become detached. On the verso is a bookplate with a stylized eagle perched on an oak branch clutching a laurel-wreathed swastika in its talons. It is framed, in bold-face type, “Ex Libris Adolf Hitler.”