Ethical Dilemma: Should the Library Add a Book Hitler Owned to Its Collection?

By January 25, 2019

This is the first news article in a new series of case studies on challenges facing information professionals. The series aims to encourage discussion and learning by highlighting an issue that requires the kind of judgment and decision making gained through the Masters of Library & Information Studies curriculum at UCLA.

Hitler book maps ‘Final Solution in Canada,’ Library and Archives Canada curator says

Read the full article by CBC News

A book that once belonged to Adolf Hitler — and sheds light on the Nazis’ plans for North America had the Second World War gone the other way — is now in the collection of Library and Archives Canada (LAC). 

The book, entitled Statistik, Presse und Organisationen des Judentums in den Vereinigten Staaten und Kanada (Statistics, Press, and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada), is a detailed census of Jewish populations and organizations in North American cities. “This information would have been the building blocks to rolling out the Final Solution in Canada,” said LAC curator Michael Kent.

When the book appeared on LAC’s radar, Kent said curators struggled with the moral implications of purchasing it. Other institutions including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum refuse to buy items owned by Nazis. Ultimately, Kent said, LAC decided to purchase the book because of the prevalence of Holocaust denial and xenophobia.

What do you think?

Discussion of this ethical dilemma will be moderated by Diana Ascher.