Maritime communities listed in Hitler-owned book that hints at plans for North America
A Second World War artifact now on display in the nation's capital is having a chilling effect around the Maritimes.
A rare 1944 book that once belonged to Adolf Hitler has been acquired by the national archives.
The museum's latest acquisition is a macabre reminder of one the darkest times of modern history.
“We felt it was important to bring things into the collection that help preserve Holocaust memory,” said Michael Kent of Library and Archives Canada.
The fragile book was likely picked up by an American soldier once Berlin fell.
It's not light reading, but is what you'd expect from something titled “Statistics, Media and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada.”
It is essentially a book of lists, which reveals the Jewish populations of various communities, such as Glace Bay.
Other Maritime centres are listed as well, including Halifax, Saint John and others -- communities from all over North America. The statistics were neatly compiled by a Nazi-sympathizer who did fieldwork in the United States before the war.
Tracking Jewish populations was imperative for the regime – as it was all part of their “final solution,” as it was called.
Although six million would die in concentration camps in Europe, Hitler clearly had bigger plans.
“The fact that there were numbers kept by the Nazis is no surprise at all,” says Jon Goldberg of the Atlantic Jewish Council.
While Canada restricted the number of Jews entering the country during the war years, the Atlantic Jewish council says the book is further proof Canada was on Hitler's radar.
“This is what would have happened, or this is what could have happened had Hitler and his Nazis won the war,” Goldberg said.
At the Army Museum at the Citadel in Halifax, where artifacts include flags, photos, medals and weapons seized by allied troops, there is an acknowledgement that displaying such items walks a fine line between glorifying and educating.
“It's not something that one is happy to display, per se, as an artifact,” says director Ken Hynes. “But, it's important as an artifact of history to show the depths to which humanity was willing to sink.”
Now restored, the 137-page volume is part of the permanent collection at Library and Archives Canada.
Plans are in the works to digitize the volume, and post the contents online.
It’s a grim reminder of one of the darkest times in modern history.
Both Hynes and Goldberg say the book offers blunt evidence to the shocking number of people who still deny the Holocaust even happened.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.