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'Hitler's Holy Relics: A True Story of Nazi Plunder and the Race to Recover the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire'

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Hitler's Holy Relics: A True Story of Nazi Plunder and the Race to Recover the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire


Sidney Kirkpatrick


May 2010


Published by Simon & Schuster, $27, this book was noted in Publishers Weekly on 11 May 2020 and reviewed by Larrry Cox in the Lincoln Tribune on 18 May 2010 as below:

From Publishers Weekly

"In this fast-paced history, Kirkpatrick (A Cast of Killers) describes the efforts of German-born Walter Horn, a U.S. Army first lieutenant and art historian, to locate the missing crown, orb, scepter, imperial sword, and ceremonial sword of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe at the end of WWII. The objects, along with the Holy Lance of Longinus and many other artifacts, had been stolen by the Nazis from Austria after the Anschluss in 1938 and, conceivably, could have been used by Nazis to motivate Germans in the creation of a Fourth Reich. Through research, investigation, and amateur detective work, Horn explored the continuing threats inherent in Nazi mythology while successfully solving the core mystery of the disappearance of the crown jewels. Definitely speculative in the suggestion that a mysterious new order of Teutonic Knights might exist for malevolent political purposes, Horn's story is an interesting footnote to the history of WWII. 24 pages of b&w photos; 2 maps. (May 11)

From the Lincoln Tribune

 "During the Nazi march across Europe, thousands of priceless artworks and antiquities were systematically looted, including the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. The Crown Jewels were especially important because of the significance they had with the German people and the fact that the Nazis used the collection to legitimize their barbaric regime.

At the end of World War II, Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton became aware that the Crown Jewels had vanished from top-secret bunkers carved deep into the bedrock beneath Nuremberg castle. Realizing the possibility that the missing jewels could be used as potent weapons if they landed in the hands of unrepentant Nazis, the two generals ordered Lt. Walter Horn to track down and secure the missing loot. Horn, a German-born American and a professor of art history at the University of California, was given a mere three weeks to accomplish this almost impossible task.

Lt. Horn realized the daunting challenge given to him, especially since his search would begin in Nuremberg, a war-torn city that was being prepared for the war crime tribunals. Despite his misgivings, he began by searching the bunker for clues. He eventually zeroed in on two city councilmen who had strong connections to the Nazi government.

In a riveting narrative that is as exciting as a well-crafted novel, "Hitler's Holy Relics" documents how Lt. Horn unravels one of history's most notorious art thefts. Sidney Kirkpatrick, the critically acclaimed author of "Cast of Killers" and a frequent contributor to HBO, the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, paces his book about the case of the vanishing jewels with such skill that it grabs readers by the scruff of the neck and does not let go until the very last page."

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