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LaGrange Park Library Still Seeking Identity Of Person Who Donated Nazi-Era Artifact

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Mike Puccinelli Mike Puccinelli
Mike Puccinelli serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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(CBS) — Officials at the La Grange Park Public Library want your help in solving a nearly 70-year-old mystery.

How did a rare Nazi propaganda book end up in the west suburban library’s drop box?

CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports.

The mystery dates back to Nazi Germany and ends in – of all places — La Grange.

“We’ll never find out if no one comes forward,” library circulation director Ursula Stanek says.

The 1941 Nazi propaganda book was given to the LaGrange Park Public Library last year. Despite an advertising campaign by the library, no one has come forward explain how they came to have the artifact.

“This is a rare find,” says Richard Hirschhaut, executive director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum.

The find is made rarer still by the fact that there was a letter tucked inside on Hermann Göring’s letterhead. Göring was one of Hitler’s right-hand men.

The letter tucked in the book had Paul Pleiger’s return address. He was also tried at Nuremberg. And the book also had what for Stanek was a telltale stamp.

“It was stamped ‘geheimness,’ which means secret. That’s when I looked at it closer,” she says.

She donated the book to the National Holocaust Museum in Washington. They had a copy of the book, but not an original. Experts say the book shows how the Nazi’s applied their industrial might to the machinery of death.

“This also tells us that the Holocaust was not carried out by monsters but by bureaucrats at all levels,” Hirschhaut says.

Stanek hopes researchers can tell the story behind the book — a story she believes the donor can help complete.

“I wish they would come forward and talk to me,” she says. “It would have been a wonderful story if we would know what’s behind that book.”

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