A rare book owned by Adolf Hitler, which is believed to detail the blueprint for a North American Holocaust, has been acquired by Canada’s national archive.
Library and Archives Canada purchased the document last year for $4,500, and it was unveiled for the first time Wednesday, just days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday.
The 137-page report — titled “Statistics, Media and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada” — was compiled in 1944 by German linguist and researcher Heinz Kloss. He was responsible for conducting key research for the Nazi regime on issues such as nationality, with a particular focus on the United States.
Kloss — who visited the United States in 1936-7 and maintained a network of Nazi sympathizers — used 1930s population data to produce a personalized census of the Jewish population in North America, along with information about Jewish organizations and newspapers.
Michael Kent, curator of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection, which is preserving the book, told CNN that the report would have likely played “an important role” in any implementation of the Final Solution — the term used by Nazi leaders to describe the extermination of the Jewish population — had the Third Reich successfully invaded the United States and Canada.
Kent described the report as “quite shocking,” and noted that it included detailed analysis not only of cities with large Jewish populations such as Toronto and Winnipeg, Manitoba, but also of small urban areas.
While other Holocaust memorial organizations have opted not to acquire or display any Nazi memorabilia, Kent told CNN that it was important for the archive to do so due to the “rise in xenophobia, dwindling knowledge of the Holocaust, and rise of Holocaust denial.”
The book will go on public display Saturday before portions of it are made available online.
Rebecca Margolis of the University of Ottawa noted in a statement that the report offers a “documented confirmation of the fears felt so acutely” by Canadian Jews during World War II — that the Nazis intended to invade North America.
Experts believe the report was part of a confidential series of research commissioned by Hitler and stored at his mountain retreat near Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. The bookplate bears a stylized eagle, swastika and the words “ex libris Adolf Hitler,” which suggest that it came from the Nazi leader’s personal library.
The report, along with other books owned by Hitler, is believed to have been brought to the United States as a souvenir by American soldiers after they raided his property at the end of the war in the spring of 1945.
The Holocaust Education Trust expressed shock over the finding. “This story highlights Hitler’s obsessive anti-Semitism and the chilling Nazi ambition to murder Jewish people wherever they were in the world,” a representative for the trust told CNN.
“It reminds us of the need to remain resolute in standing up to anti-Semitism, defending historical truth and educating the next generation.”
Steven Wilson, chief executive of the UK’s United Synagogue, told CNN: “Last Sunday the British Jewish community carried out an extraordinary funeral as we buried the remains of six Holocaust victims murdered at Auschwitz. It was a stark reminder the Holocaust is not ancient history but still in living memory. This … is a reminder of the continued importance of the fight against anti-Semitism … and the ongoing importance of Holocaust education, particularly for younger generations.”
Read More: Anti-Maduro coalition grew from secret talks
The book will be stored in the Jacob M. Lowy Collection at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa. Other libraries in North America to store books owned by Hitler include the Library of Congress and Brown University Library.