- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Der Fuhrer’s books

“‘Books, books, always books!’ August Kubizek once wrote. ‘I just can’t imagine Adolf without books. He had them piled up around him at home. He always had a book with him wherever he went.’ Kubizek, Hitler’s only real friend in his teenage years, recalled … that Hitler had been registered with three libraries in Linz, where he attended school, and had passed endless days in the baroque splendor of the Hofbibliothek, the former court library of the Hapsburgs, during his time in Vienna. ‘Bcher waren seine Welt,’ Kubizek wrote. ‘Books were his world.’ …

“Kubizek’s … depiction of the future Fhrer as a bibliophile has been amply corroborated. One of Hitler’s first cousins, Johann Schmidt, recounted … that when Hitler spent summers with relatives … he invariably arrived with ‘lots of books in which he was constantly busy reading and working.’ Hans Frank, Hitler’s personal lawyer and the ‘governor’ of Nazi-occupied Poland, recalled … that Hitler carried a copy of Schopenhauer’s ‘The World as Will and Representation’ with him throughout World War I. …

“By the late 1930s, Hitler had three separate libraries for his ever-expanding collection. At his apartment he removed a wall between two rooms and installed bookshelves. For the Berghof, his Alpine retreat near Berchtesgaden, Hitler built a second-floor study with handmade bookcases. … For his official Berlin residence Hitler had his architect, Albert Speer, design a vast library that occupied the entire west wing.”

Timothy W. Ryback, writing on “Hitler’s Forgotten Library,” in the May issue of the Atlantic Monthly

Chivalry is dead

“In the wee hours of April 15, 1912, the great ship [SS Titanic] slipped into the deep waters of the North Atlantic, sending 1,503 passengers and crewmen to a watery grave.

“The vast majority of the dead were men, many of whom stood bravely as they watched lifeboats full of women and children row away from the doomed ship.

“During a U.S. Senate inquiry, First Officer Charles H. Lightoller was asked, ‘You discriminated entirely in the interest of the passengers first women and children in filling those lifeboats?’ Lightoller replied: ‘Yes, sir,’ to which the senator pressed, ‘Why did you do that? Because of the captain’s orders, or because of the rule of the sea?’

“Lightoller answered simply, ‘The rule of human nature.’

“Watching America send some of its daughters to their deaths or capture in Iraq makes one aware of how far we have drifted from the ideal epitomized by the brave men of the Titanic: Women and children first. …

“What would the men of the Titanic have thought, watching women kiss their toddlers goodbye, slap on a helmet and ship off to the front? They would say we have not only lost our minds, but a good deal of our hearts.”

Robert Knight, writing on “Titanic’s Lessons Are Worth Revisiting,” in the April 16 issue of Culture and Family Report

Gay ‘Idol’?

“If you watched ‘American Idol’ the week of April 4, you might have noticed something was missing. … Gone, all of a sudden, was a line of recurring banter between judge Simon Cowell and host Ryan Seacrest an insult contest marked by each man’s suggestion that the other was gay.

“Straight viewers may not have detected it, but for gay ‘Idol’ fans, the barbs were hard to miss. … Even judge Randy Jackson joined in. …

“What message do three grown men on a national TV show send young viewers by suggesting that calling someone gay is the worst insult you can throw at them? …

“Whether out of gay-friendly consideration or concern about the appropriateness of [homosexual] jokes on a family-friendly show, it was Fox [network] itself that ordered the shenanigans deep-sixed.”

Mark Harris, writing on “A Closet Case,” in the April 18 issue of Entertainment Weekly

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