Monday, October 26, 2009

Bad Book, Even Worse Distributor: Nazi Waffen SS Songbook










This entry, like a few others, is about bad books, publishers and distributors, not bad booksellers.
Thus, read the blog's title as "Bad Book, Seller. No Cookie!" when I have entries like this.
The book is a Waffen SS [1] songbook, vintage 1943.
This one, like Atlanta Nights below, is a bad book. In my book, any military song book is a bad book; marches are, at best, bad music.
It may not be the worst book, however, the distributor was the German Third Reich, one of the most evil regimes that ever blighted our planet.
Here's a quick quote from Wikipedia on exactly who the Waffen SS was:
The Waffen-SS (German for "Armed SS", literally "Weapons SS") was the combat arm of the Schutzstaffel ("Protective Squadron") or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside the Wehrmacht Heer regular army, but was never formally part of it. It was Adolf Hitler's will that the Waffen-SS never be integrated into the army: it was to remain the armed wing of the Party and to become an elite police force once the war was over. Operational control of units on the front line was given to the Army's High Command, but in all other respects it remained under the control of Reichsf├╝hrer Heinrich Himmler's SS organization, through the SS F├╝hrungshauptamt, literally The SS Guidance Principal Office. In the early years, membership was open to true "Aryans" only in accordance with the racial policies of the Nazi state.

Damn. That makes this a really evil book.
I've pasted pictures of the front and back covers.
Due to the brittleness of the pages, I can't scan the interior without risking the integrity of the book, and it was handed to me on consignment by a customer, so wasn't mine to break.
Here's the weird part, as I look at it, and actually the interesting part of the book from my perspective.
There's an inscription on front.
It has a name on it leading me to believe it was owned by "Aunt Mabelle".
Below the name, it says
From
Harold
(Germany)
1944

Given the language and circumstances, we'll have to assume that "Harold" was a US or British military man who sent the book as a gift to his Aunt.
Now, I don't know about you folks, but I'll be damned if my aunt would consider a Nazi songbook to be an appropriate gift.
I keep going over how that could have been a sane gift, and I keep coming up blank for ideas.

PS- Incidentally, I wasn't willing to market it online, but I did tell my consignment customer about a legitimate militaria dealer that might be interested in buying it, so I hope that works out well for him.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waffen-SS





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