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Senate House Library

EPCOM collection

Approximately 400 German works, mostly school textbooks, used during the Third Reich.

The Collection 

Subject: History 

The textbooks cover various subjects: German, history, geography, foreign languages (English and Latin), writing, mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, economics, and even stenography. They range from elementary readers to the highest levels. There are runs of various textbooks, and there are issues of what is basically the same textbook for different German states, with subtle changes.  

The collection also includes a few novels popular at the time (for example, by Edwin Erich Dwinger), annuals, and works devoted explicitly to teaching or otherwise promulgating national socialism, sometimes by high-level officials. Several titles are official government publications, such as Mädel / Jungen – eure Welt! and Organisationsbuch der NSDAP, issued by the central publishing branch of the National Socialist Party, and Mädel im Dienst, by the Department of Youth. Song books are also present. 

Some edition statements detailing print runs show that the books were once very common. Book tokens reveal encouragement to buy them. A high level of destruction has led to subsequent rarity. 

The books formerly belonged to numerous school and public libraries in Germany and Austria, whose ownership stamps they bear. The Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces confiscated them in the immediate post-war period and gave or sold them to the University, one of several British institutions to benefit in this way. 

The collection comprises primary material which sheds light on education and society during an appalling historical period. Users may find content upsetting or offensive


For an overview of the collection, do a mixed classmark search on [Epcom]. The collection is held off-site and material requires 48 hours (excluding weekends) to be fetched. 

Related materials

Germanic exile archives (for complementary insight into the Third Reich)