The Holding of the Library
The Library of the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg contains some 50,000 volumes making it the largest collection of Judaica in Germany after the collection of the Library of the University of Frankfurt am Main. Owing to the different subjects which are taught at the HfJS however, the library is organised along broader themes.
The holdings are divided between the main areas of Jewish culture and history. Under Jewish culture, however, the fields of biblical studies, Jewish philosophy, liturgy and rabbinical literature, such as works on the Talmud, codices and Responsa are included which are mainly in Hebrew. In total, around 15 different subject groups are included, which are further subdivided into sub-groups.
As part of this, the Library of the HfJS holds different, partially historical holdings, which are not to be found in any other collection, such as the Jewish Library of the Jacobsonschule in Seesen, collections of prayer books, of old Talmud editions and other works of rabbinical literature, of Jewish children’s books or books on Jewish art. Older and rarer works, which are no longer in print have been, and continue to be added to by donations and acquisitions. In addition to this, around 500 journals/periodicals, newspapers and annuals are also available. Around 100 titles are available on microfiche/microfilm.
The Library’s holdings are as follows:
- 40% in German
- 35% in Hebrew, of which 10% is in Modern Spoken Herbew, 15% in Hebrew of the Mishna, Aramaic und similar languages and 10% in Biblical Hebrew,
- 20% in English,
- 2% in Yiddish,
- 3% in other languages, amongst which are Russian, Polish, French, Italian, Czech and Hungarian amongst others.
The entire library holdings are available to external users on a reference-only basis. Users also have the use of 28 study areas, photocopiers, a microfiche/microfilm reader, as well as six work stations with computers.
The library uses the Dewey system of classification, which is also used in the library of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Acquisitions and donations as well as the purchase of current publications form an important source for the expansion of the library’s holdings.
In 1988 the Hochschule acquired the estate of Rabbi Emil Davidovic which comprised more than 2000 volumes, in 1993, following a bequest by Susanne Rösner-Engelfried, the Hochschule received a collection of Jewish children’s books stemming predominantly from the 1920s and 1930s. Professor Aharon Agus’s family donated a large number of books, including rare works from different subject areas including biblical studies, Talmud and rabbinical literature. The library also received around 300 volumes from the former German ambassador to Israel’s collection, Dr Nils Hansen.
In 1996, the collection of the Library of the Jewish community of Hannover was made loaned to the Hochschule on a permanent basis. This loan is particularly valuable because it includes the collection of Judaica belonging to the Jakobson-Schule Seesen, founded in 1801, which is now finally accessible to users.
Further information on the history of the Seesen Collection can be found here (only currently available in German).