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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 Paperback – May 10, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416590633
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416590637
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Even before WWII began, Allied intelligence services knew that Hitler and several other top Nazis had a fascination with the occult and placed strong symbolic value on and even endowed some historical relics with mystical powers. During the course of the war, Nazi officials confiscated a gigantic number of artistic treasures and artifacts. Many of these were stored in vast underground bunkers placed across Germany. As the Third Reich collapsed in early 1945, Walter Horn, a prominent German-born art historian in civilian life, had the role of interrogating captured German soldiers for an intelligence unit of the U.S. Third Army. A seemingly routine questioning of a POW revealed the existence of one of these bunkers in Nürnberg. Horn filed his report, and to his surprise, he was put in charge of a search team whose goal was to locate some priceless artifacts missing from the bunker, including the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. Kirkpatrick chronicles the search effort in a fast-moving account filled with surprising twists, turns, and revelations. --Jay Freeman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Extremely well written and very informative.
Gail Ogden
Highly recommended for those interested in WWII history and the mysticism surrounding the Holy Relics.
C. Hall
The amount of detail the the author was able to get on the story is also overwhelming.
David S.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hitler's Holy Relics is the story of the search for the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, ancient symbols of German nationhood which were used by Hitler, Himmler, and other Nazis as a way of claiming legitimacy for their regime. During World War II the jewels were hidden in a bunker in the city of Nurnberg. After Nurnberg was captured by the US Army in 1945 the search for the jewels began, led by Walter Horn, German born and American educated, who carefully tracked down the treasure.

This is a fascinating story on several levels. The descriptions of the last few months of World War II and the immediate post war period in Germany are vivid and give a good picture of what the ordinary civilians in Nurnberg and elsewhere suffered through. Horn's painstaking search for the jewels is as intriguing as any detective story. Most of all, I appreciated the vast amount of information provided on the Nazis' use of mythological and religious imagery and their distortions of history and religion to justify their crimes.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bruce L. Tulgan on May 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you really enjoy history, you will love this incredible true never-before-told story. If you have a fascination with WWII, then you will love it even more. What's amazing is that you really don't have to enjoy history or have a fascination with WWII to be dazzled by the story. You don't have to be interested in art-history. You don't have to be interested in mysteries. You do have to know how to read and you have to be good at turning pages because this is a real page-turner. Take it to the beach. It is great beach reading. It feels light even though it is really heavy. It feels easy even though it is filled with history lessons. I think I'm going to end up reading it twice!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a great fan of Sidney Kirkpatrick's writings. A Cast of Killers is one of my top 10 True Crime books and Hitler's Holy Relics is a worthy addition to that list. Kirkpatrick's success results, in large part, from his uncanny ability to pick a great story to tell. He then offers up the facts in a lively and suspenseful narrative with a fully-realized setting and a list of engaging characters. The story--the fundamental story--is what really delivers the goods here.

A young American lieutenant is sitting in Belgium, interrogating German POW's. One comes in and, very willing to please, offers to tell him a story. The story concerns the Nazi appropriation of the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire and their hidden location in Nurnberg. What are the odds that the American lieutenant would be: a former German citizen, fluent in the language; a Ph.D. in art history who studied under Erwin Panofsky and, before the war, was a member of the UC-Berkeley faculty? And when the report of the jewels' existence and sequestration was sent up the chain of command, where it was likely to be lost in an endless bureaucratic shuffle . . . what are the odds that the pertinent senior commander would be George S. Patton, Jr., who would not only know the nature of the materials themselves but also appreciate the myth/ritual/political uses to which such individuals as Hitler and Himmler might put them?

The book then explores the search for the jewels and accompanying materials (including the lance tip reputed to have been used to pierce the side of the crucified Christ), a story that occupies a few weeks of calendar time but involves a long list of complex details, interrogations, side trips and cultural analysis.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Olson VINE VOICE on January 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A terrific Treasure Hunt.
Sidney Kirkpatrick's Hitler's Holy Relics is a wonderfully done, meticulously researched historical treasure hunt by American college professor turned Army plunder sleuth Lt Walter Horn. Acclaimed U.C. Berkeley art historian Horn takes the reader on an amazing treasure hunt involving Nazi plunder and in particular the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. The race is on as WW2 is over, Germany is divided, Nazi have scattered, and an iron curtain was rapidly descending across Europe. Operations Overcast and Paperclip were in full swing when a low ranking Army lieutenant was tasked with finding high profile Nazi plunder: Leading the list was the famed Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire.
Author Kirkpatrick takes the reader step by step with Lt Horn as he searched, investigated, manipulated, cajoled, browbeat, threatened, and did whatever was needed and/or required to break the secrecy surrounding the missing Crown Jewels. Progress was slow, but along the way Lt Horn, and the reader, discover many truths about the "real" Third Reich of Adolf Hitler. What was the real story about the Holy Lance of Longinus? Why was Hitler so enthralled with the Holy Roman Empire Crown Jewels? Who took them at war's end and why? What were the secret mysteries of Heinrich Himmler's Schutzsaffel (SS) and what was its true intent? These questions and much, much more were delved into by Mr. Kirkpatrick as he followed in the footsteps of Lt. Horn as he sleuthed his way to successfully finding the missing Crown Jewels. Horn's success is NOT the reality of this fine book, but rather it was his journey to find the truth.
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More About the Author

Sidney D. Kirkpatrick is an award-winning filmmaker and international best-selling author. His critically acclaimed non-fiction books include A CAST OF KILLERS, TURNING THE TIDE, LORDS OF SIPAN, EDGAR CAYCE: AN AMERICAN PROPHET, THE REVENGE OF THOMAS EAKINS, and HITLER'S HOLY RELICS. His documentary film, MY FATHER THE PRESIDENT, about Theodore Roosevelt as seen through the eyes of his daughter, Ethel Roosevelt Derby, was a winner at the American Film Festival. HBO, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and the A & E Television Networks have all featured his work. Biographical profiles of Kirkpatrick have appeared in The New York Times, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, and Playboy. He is a graduate of Hampshire College and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He lives in Ontario, Canada and Pasadena, Ca.

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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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