A detailed directory of every SS member, which was stolen by a British spy from Nazi officials, is going up for auction.
The directory consists of 425 pages and has over 30,000 entries. The pages are full of information detailing every fighter in the Nazi Party’s paramilitary arm—Heinrich Himmler is at the top of the list.
The directory was published on December 1, 1938, only a few months before the Second World War began. It was later stolen by a member of Britain’s Special Operations Executive.
It is believed that the directory will get up to £2,000 when it is put on the block in March.
The book is set up like a telephone directory. It lists the name of each SS member, their decorations and awards, their division, party number, SS number, birthdate and details of any promotions. It also contains entries for officers who died before the book could be published. These entries act as a tribute to their service and contribution to the Nazi cause.
The head of the SS was Himmler and he was regarded as the architect of the “Final Solution” which led to the massacre of over 11 million people who were sent to concentration camps.
Other leading Nazis listed in the directory include Adolf Eichmann whose number was 6448. Eichmann was responsible for the death of 3 million Jews, alone.
In 1960, Eichmann was captured in Argentina by an Israeli secret service agent and was brought back to Israel to be put on trial. He was convicted and later hanged.
Reinhard Heydrich was described by Hitler as “the man with the iron heart” is listed as nuber 28 in the book. Auschwitz’s boss, Rudolf Hoess is listed as 19,202.
Many of the notorious leaders of the Third Reich occupied lower positions in the hierarchy of the SS at the time the directory was published. They did not achieve their “success” until later in the campaign.
Hitler is not listed in the book because he was never a member of the SS—even though he was the leader of the Nazi party.
The directory was taken by an unnamed British spy who was given the task to infiltrate the German high command.
The spy was able to smuggle the directory back to Britain so it could be examined by the intelligence services and it was kept as a keepsake. The family of the man who stole the book when they sorted through his belongings only discovered the directory a few years ago after they were sorting his belongings after his death.
Richard Westwood-Brookes, from Mullock’s Auctions in Shropshire, said: ‘This book is extremely rare and the story of how it was stolen from under the noses of the Germans is also highly intriguing.
‘If you are a researcher of the Third Reich, which many people are, it is worth its weight in gold. It really wouldn’t take much for a researcher to trace the people in the book, it could show the missing pieces to someone’s puzzle.
‘Former members of the SS would have wanted to conceal their identities, but this book will show them for what they once were – this sort of information is priceless in my opinion.
‘Most of the men in this book were monsters, people such as Himmler, a man very close to Adolf Hitler, they put people through hell.’
The Daily Mail reports the directory will go up for auction on March 18 at Ludlow Racecourse, with an estimate of between £1,000 and £2,000.