The Nazis didn't just steal books from wealthy individuals personal collections (which of course they did) but also institutional libraries, like rabbinical schools. A lot of these books were either studied or kept (like to be put in Hitler's museum of "Oh my gosh, look how backward the Jews were, aren't you glad we eradicated them?") or destroyed. "And in the little town of Herford in Western Germany, children used them (Jewish sacred texts) to make confetti for a folk festival".
The author travels to the sites where these libraries and personal collections used to be and places where restitution is trying to take place. A lot of these books after the war were either just let to rot somewhere or were absorbed by local public libraries, including some big ones in Berlin. Now librarians have the Herculean task of going through the books and seeing if there are any clues on who they belonged to so that they can get the books back the right families. (A lot of this information is being digitized and put on the internet, and they are hoping that people will go looking for this information when they start doing research on the family tree.)
Im always curious about the stories of countries that were invaded by the Nazis that you hear less about, some good examples being Greece and the Scandanavian countries. This book has some heartbreaking stories about some Greek Jews. Anyone have any book reccs on these settings?
Did you know that no Guttenberg Bible has been for sale since the 1970s but the estimated current market value is $35 million?
Really, my only complaint about this book is that it had a lot of background information about the Nazis. This in an of itself was not a bad thing, but if you're a person reading this book you probably have a pretty solid background on that group and don't need it re-explained. Like, if you're just starting to read books about WWII this probably isn't the book you're reaching for. If that makes sense.