Tuesday, October 15, 2013
We have a copy of Jonah Spiwak's Yiddish play about R. Nahman of Bratslav. Published in 1932, this work predates Arthur Green's better known Tormented Master. According to the copyright page, this book was printed in Poland in the city of Vilna (Wilno). This struck me as odd as, despite the ever changing nature of Eastern European political, I have always associated Vilna with Lithuania. (How can have Litvaks without Vilna and how can you be a Litvak and not be in Lithuania?) It turns out that Vilna's status in the inter-war years was quite complicated with both Poland and Lithuania, both newly independent of Russia, laying claim to the city. Of course once World War II broke out, Vilna quickly came under Soviet control before falling to the Nazis. Alternatively, one can see this book as evidence of aggressive Polish nationalism. World War II was started by Poland which refused to give Danzig to Germany, Vilna to either Lithuania or the Soviet Union along with the rest of the country.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
At Kline Books we just made a major sale of $25,000 to the Library of Congress for the 58 volume court transcript of the trial of Marinus van der Lubbe in 1933. Lubbe was a Dutch Communist accused by the Nazis of setting the Reichstag on fire. Coming in the wake of Hitler's election to chancellor, the Reichstag fire was used by the Nazis as a pretext to eliminate the Communist Party along with German Weimar democracy. It is commonly believed that the Nazis themselves were behind the fire. If Lubbe was involved he likely was duped into participating and did not act alone.
While celebrating our good misfortune (the sale and not the Reichstag fire), we were dismayed to realize that, because of the government shutdown that started today, the Library of Congress is not going to be able to pay us. To those who thought this shutdown was about Obamacare, I must inform you that in truth the debate over health care has been nothing more than cover for a vast government conspiracy to prevent the presentation of the truth behind the Reichstag fire to the American people (in an exercise of criss-cross plotting George W. Bush went back in time to set the fire in exchange for the Nazis coming forward to carry out 9/11) and to avoid paying us. The evidence for this is clear. Can it be a coincidence that a non-payment for a collection of documents so closely associated with conspiracy could be anything but a conspiracy? This is a highly ecumenical conspiracy theory. You are free to assume that either Obama or the Republicans are behind this delay of payment. (If you order up the special edition of conspiracy thinking we will allow you to believe that both sides are in it together.)
In this time of national crisis, it behooves Republicans and Democrats to come together to solve our most urgent problems. Is it too much to ask that, in middle of all these efforts to make sure that people in the military are still paid, the government could agree to write us a check and accidentally add a few zeros? The American people are sick of time-traveling Nazis using either the Republicans or the Democrats to manipulate them into believing that they need to go into debt the giant corporations as part of their patriotic duty. I urge all true Americans therefore to send Washington a message by supporting a small antique bookstore in the northern part of the greater Los Angeles area that does not use times of distress as cover for crass demands for money. What can be more patriotic than supporting a small business and the Library Congress, an institution founded with the active support of Thomas Jefferson one of our founding fathers?