Nazis in the Woodpile

Nazis in the Woodpile coverNazis in the Woodpile: Hitler’s Plot for Essential Raw Material

Submitter: This book was weeded from [a Canadian university library] by me a few years ago. [This university] started out as an agricultural college in 1874. No doubt this book was acquired for its insights into forestry practices. Amazing that it was published during the war, in 1942. I haven’t read past the first page, but even this page has a sentence or two worth citing:

“[The author] rips the green forester’s uniform off Hermann Goering, jolly master of the hunt, and shows him to be a thieving, greedy plotter, who for years has been trying to steal the contents of every peasant’s woodshed in Europe.”

Understatement of the century!

Holly: At least this was found in a major research library at the university level. I’m not sure what’s up with the public libraries that WorldCat shows holdings for. It can safely be weeded and sent to a museum, archive, or special library with a specialty in World War II.

Nazis in teh Woodpile Preface




  1. I kinda get the impression that the author of the book chose that title without actually noticing its provenance. It’s real hard for me to take a technical book about forestry seriously when its title was adapted from a old-timey slur against biracial people.

    1. I’m sure the author was perfectly aware, and so were the readers. It was a common phrase at the time, meaning “something unpleasant and hidden” — nothing to do with mixed-race origins (that would have been “a touch of the tar brush”), whatever the original derivation of the phrase. My indignance is reserved for today’s uber-PC sensibilities that mean neither of us dares even recite the phrase for historical reasons, for fear of being censored off the page.

      Looking at the book with 1942’s eyes, it’s a clever title that evokes hidden Nazi evils and also refers to forestry and wood, which is what the book’s about.

      1. As someone who was born in the late 60s, raised by parents born in the 20s, and as a result had a ton of relatives born not just before WWII, but WWI, it’s not just “today’s uber-PC sensibilities” that find the original phrase offensive. For all the supposed commonness of it, nobody in my family ever used it- I had to use Google to figure out what it was. And hearing quaint old fashioned phrases & outdated turns of speech in my family was the norm (as was cursing like sailors, haha.)
        I was taught very early that “N-r” was an ugly racial slur and a terrible word I was never to use or say. I never heard it used by any of my relatives, or any of my parents friends. I realize that this was unusual attitude for people of those eras, especially in the places they grew up/lived in (Midwest, rural Texas), but if I could know so many people who were repulsed by racist words and attitudes decades before I was even born then those “PC sensibilities” sure aren’t anything new.

  2. Just as most people have forgotten the word “guy” has its origins in religious hatred, I would not have recognized the reference to a racial slur in the title had I not read Ross’s comment. Some history is best left for historians.

    I simply thought the book might finally shed some light on precisely what Aunt Ada Doom saw.

    1. Hmm. I wouldn’t have thought the reference in the title would escape people, but I guess it’s not been used in print for quite a long while… As for “guy,” I don’t think you can really say its origin is in religious hatred. Yes, it comes indirectly from Guy Fawkes, who conspired to blow up the houses of Parliament in 1605 when the king was there, so as to put a Catholic on the throne instead. But, the term derives not from him directly but from the effigies of him — scarecrow sorts of things — that English kids carried around on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, November 5. (Guy Fawkes Day — equivalent of Hallowe’en.) They’d go around asking people for “a penny for the Guy” and then burn the Guys in bonfires. The term “guy” first was extended to refer to disreputable-looking men and then came to be a generic term for any man. And now, of course, at least on the Coasts, “guys” are humans in a group.

  3. Ah, yes, of course — wistra and wollstra, household terms. NOT. Googled without seeing any results on wistra — wollstra is, however, described as a German mixture of wool and board pulp.

  4. Certainly not appropriate for a general library, but a pretty good one for an academic library. IIRC, Britain almost lost WWI because they had few forests left, and they needed wood alcohol to distill acetone in order to make ammunition. But Chaim Weizmann found a way to synthesize it, and in return the British Empire became more amenable to the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine.

    Lumber stocks are pretty vital if you’re trying to run a war!

  5. There are lots of copies on Amazon for anyone who feels the need to have this unusual title. While searching for it I couldn’t resist looking at a similar title, Nazis in the Pineywoods, which turns out to be about German POWs in East Texas. Sadly, there was no book entitled “Nazis in the Kitchen”, which might have been amusing if you like sauerbraten.

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