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Tobias Jakobovits

(Lakompak/Lackenbach 1887 - Auschwitz 1944)

An exhibition in memory of Dr. Tobias Jakobovits

The estate of Rabbi Emil Davidovič, which is kept in the library of the University of Jewish Studies, includes two large Nazi looted collections: books from internees of the Theresienstadt camp and confiscated books that were catalogued under duress in the Jewish Museum in Prague during the German occupation.

The volumes on display in the foyer of the University were the property of Rabbi Dr. Tobias Jakobovits. From 1912 he was an assistant and from 1922 head librarian in the library of the Jewish community in Prague. In his research, he dealt intensively with the history of the Jewish population in Bohemia and especially in Prague. He also conducted and published genealogical studies, including on Max Brod's ancestors. We owe his meticulous approach to cataloging invaluable information about the provenance of our books. From 1942, Jakobovits was the scientific director of the Jewish Museum in Prague, which received thousands of objects confiscated by the Nazis - ritual objects from synagogues, community files, photos, paintings and, above all, books.

The accession lists still preserved in Prague allow us to identify many of the original owners. It is no longer possible to trace the influence Jakobovits had on the occupiers' ideas of a Jewish Museum. It is clear from his file notes that he curated at least one book exhibition during this time and that he spoke out in favor of the continued public use of the library, which the Gestapo had sealed. It is probably also thanks to his diplomatic skills that the German authorities were persuaded to collect Jewish cultural property in a central location, so that much of it is still preserved today.

He left hundreds of his private books to the Prague Jewish Museum before he and his wife Bertha were forced onto the last transport from the "Protectorate" to Auschwitz in October 1944.

The couple had already sent their two sons, who were still minors, to Palestine in 1937 and 1939, where they survived and started families. We were able to locate them and a handover of the books planned for November 2023 had to be canceled due to current events. The descendants agreed that we would use the situation as an opportunity to keep the memory of the Jakobovits family alive by means of the books.
Once the books have been returned, further information about Tobias Jakobovits and his family will be published here. Among the books are also copies owned by the Berlin Rabbi Markus Petuchowski - he was the father-in-law of Tobias Jakobovits.

(Text: Ph. Zschommler)