Some 13,000 volumes were collected by Himmler for his planned new Camelot
Books on witchcraft and the occult collected by SS chief Heinrich Himmler were found in a storage depot near Prague used by the Czech National Library.
The depot has not been accessed since the 1950s, according to UK tabloid the Daily Mail, which cited Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.
Bjørn Helge Horrisland, a Norwegian Freemason historian, told Verdens Gang he was involved in identifying some of the books. “Many of them belonged to the central Norwegian Order of Freemasons library in Oslo,” he said.
The collection of books totals some 13,000 volumes, some 6,000 of which allegedly came from a library of books owned by the Norwegian Order of Freemasons. The Masonic library has been seized by Nazis when Norway was occupied during World War II.
Himmler began amassing the collection in 1935 and had a strong interest in the occult, He had a special unit within the SS to collect and manage information on witchcraft.
Many of the books deal with witchcraft trials in Germany, and Himmler reportedly believed that the trials were part of historical plot to weaken the Germans. He also claimed to be descended from a witch that was executed.
Himmler also believed that knowledge of the occult could be used to benefit the Third Reich.
The books were not meant for Prague but for Wewelsburg Castle in Germany. Himmler intended to make that castle a modern-day Camelot with a round table of SS officers in the place of knights. Himmler signed a 100-year lease on the triangular castle in 1934. the building is now a museum.
The books will now be examined by scholars, and a Norwegian TV company is planning a documentary.
The project to recover the library of books received European Economic Area funds from Norway and is a result of a cooperation between Stiftelsen Arkivet, the National Library of Norway and the Czech National Library, according to Norwegian new server TheLocal.no.
Himmler’s interest in collecting occult items has been well-documented and has inspired works of fiction including the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Himmler was captured May 21, 1945. He committed suicide with a cyanide capsule May 23 and was buried in an unmarked grave near near Lüneburg, Germany. The exact location is not known.