Ok…So we found THIS during Rare Book Inventory.

Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung erlebte. Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Grossdeutschland, 1940. Book is in Special Collections Research Center, Rare Books, DB 96 .H63.

We are in the midst of doing an inventory or our rare books collection in SCRC. While working in the folio section, a colleague and I stumbled upon this disturbing yet intriguing volume.  Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte: Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Grossdeutschland (How Austria Experienced its Liberation: Adolf Hitler and his Route to Greater Germany) tells the story of the early years of Adolph Hitler, Nazism, and the Third Reich.  This time period, from Hitler’s birth up to the Anschluss, or annexation of Austria in 1938, might be considered “the good years” for people sympathetic to the Nazis’ cause.  Luckily for the rest of the world, things went downhill for the Nazi’s in the years after that.


Title page to Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung erlebte. Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Grossdeutschland. This page, and others throughout the book appear to have been made to resemble woodcuts.



Published in 1940, Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte has over 300 illustrations. The majority of them are small tipped-in reproductions of original black and white photographs, each 2 inches by 2.5 inches. This gives it the look of a sticker-collection book. The rest of the illustrations are larger printed photographs and drawings that resemble woodcuts.

The typeface used in Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte is the old Fraktur, which originated in the 16th century. Ironically, one year later Hitler banned the use of this font (which was used in both this book and on the cover of Hitler’s earlier work, Mein Kampf) claiming it was a Jewish font  since it was often seen on Judaic printed materials.  

This page shows images of Hitler’s parents and boyhood home, as well as other buildings relevant to his young years.

While Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte probably was intended to be a sort of celebratory “coffee table book” in 1940’s Germany, it now serves as a visible reminder of the dangers of allowing individuals with sinister motivations to attain positions of power.













Pages of Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte use the Fraktur typeface. Fraktur was banned one year after the publication of this book.

Comic Relief

A researcher inquiry recently led me to review the John C. Becher Soldier Show Collection and get a few laughs in the process.  The collection illustrates the various ways the U.S. military used comedy to maintain high morale during World War II.  Spanning the years 1940-1953, the collection includes poems, quizzes, crafts manuals, original songs, song parodies, sheet music, pamphlets, theatrical manuals and guides, and comedy routines.  A significant portion of the material was created by military personnel attending the Special Services School in Lexington, Virginia. Unlike entertainment produced by the USO-camp shows, the Becher Collection highlights material produced by soldiers for soldiers.  Intended to engage soldiers through participation, the collection reveals insight into the mentality of World War II soldiers and the era in general.

Soldier Shows

Cover of a Soldier Show script.

Soldier Show

Cover of a Soldier Show script.

Those participating in soldier shows sang parodies, read poetry, and performed comedy routines.  Below are a few of my favorite pieces from the collection.

What To Do In Case Of An Air Raid

What To Do In Case Of An Air Raid

How To Be A Sucess In The Army

How To Be A Success In The Army

Chow Hounds General Orders

Chow Hounds General Orders

For more information about the John C. Becher Soldier Show Collection, please see http://sca.gmu.edu/finding_aids/becher.html

Leonard H. Clark Collection

Special Collections and Archives staff recently completed the processing of the Leonard H. Clark collection.  The collection largely consists of documents, photographs, and memorabilia from Clark’s time in the United States Air Force during World War II.

Clark Collection, Kamikaze Sash, 1940s

Clark Collection, Kamikaze Sash, 1940s