WWII Book Looters?

Holland House, London, 1940

As a reader of book blogs, chances are you’ve probably come across the image above. I’ve always admired the photo. Nothing stops readers from reading.

But when the photo popped into my mind the other day I thought, “Those men were looters!”

Where they?

A quick internet search brought me to Books for Victory where Andrew Brozyna speculates that the shot may have been staged and printed in newspapers to help boost British morale. See his post here: Books for Victory: Publishing During WWII: London Bookstore and Library Bombed in the Blitz.

If you visit Books for Victory look around or bookmark it for later perusal. There are some groovy photos of books, people with books, bookstore shots, and lot of interesting bookish history of WWII.

Visit more Wordless Wednesday entries here.


  1. Hmm…I've been pondering your comment today. I suppose if this wasn't a staged photo and the men did take books they'd be considered opportunist thieves rather than looters since they didn't cause the initial destruction. Depending on the circumstances in which the books were left, I'd probably take a few…if they needed saving/safe keeping…until the owner rebuilt…but that's more like protective custody than looting.

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