The Shmooze

Why Are the Brits So Into Nazi-Themed Books?

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

In 1975, UK author Alan Coren published a humorous collection of essays called “Golfing for Cats” — and emblazoned the cover with a huge swastika. He had noticed the most popular titles in Britain were about cats, golf and Nazis.

Thirty-six years later, notes the BBC this week, “Nazi books are going stronger than ever. A staggering 850 books about the Third Reich were published in 2010, up from 350 in the year 2000. And they mostly still have a swastika on the front cover.”

The sheer range of Reich-related literature in Britain is astonishing, the BBC reports. “The phenomenal and continuing success of books about the Nazis includes fiction, non-fiction and science fiction. They include the occult and the Nazis, Nazi magic, Nazi weaponry and Nazi doctors. There’s the history of SS uniforms, SS staff cars, SS recruitment and propaganda. You can read counter histories imagining Britain if the Nazis had won or post-war histories of the exploitation of Nazi scientific discoveries by America and the other Allied powers. There is a firsthand account of Himmler’s masseur.”

Are British book-buyers “still looking for a warning from history or are some of them attracted by the ghastly glamour of history’s most evil baddies?” asks writer Clive Anderson. “Are some readers indulging some form of Nazi fetish? Some enthusiasts track down first editions of Hitler’s Mein Kampf?”

While Anderson comes up short on answers, reader comments provided plenty of speculation. “Part of our interest stems from liking to know about a nation/regime we defeated,” wrote MR from Kent, UK. Chris from Belfast, Ireland opined that “whether we like it or not it is part of our history and the Nazis shaped the world we live in now” – and added that he/she owns “a collection of Nazi militaria which includes weapons, army documents, armbands, postcards, and many other items.” And Anthony Clapp from Wincanton, UK noted – somewhat redundantly – that “Germans seem equally interested!”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: literature, britain, books, Nazi books, third reich

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.