University Forum - Nazi Looted Books, Allied War Booty, and American Libraries
A public lecture will introduce the UNLV community to this post-World War II American book confiscation program. However, this talk will focus on the particular legacy of these books in Nevada.
About 200 of these books were sent to the then-singular University of Nevada in late 1940s, and most are still in the UNR library today. There is something eerie about finding a “University of Nevada” ink stamp above a main Nazi Party Archive provenance mark on the title page of a rabidly anti-Semitic German book. UNR’s copy of Mein Kampf, for example, was previously owned by actual Nazis in the Third Reich. This raises uncomfortable moral questions for Nevadans who can freely access this book on library shelves in Reno today.
This lecture will also look beyond Nevada to address the global extent and legacies of the Nazis’ project of book theft and the ethical implications and fraught history of the restitution of these collections. Finally, the speaker will bring a number of these books from UNR’s library to provide the audience with tangible connections to this history.
Co-Sponsored by the History Department, Jewish Nevada, UNLV Hillel, Anti-Defamation League and Religious Studies, Sociology Department, English Department, and Black Mountain Institute.
Open to the public