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The library of the Heidelberg University of Jewish Studies contains around 50,000 volumes. This makes it the largest collection of Jewish books in Germany after the special collection of the Frankfurt am Main University Library. However, in accordance with the various subjects taught at the HfJS, the library has a broader thematic focus. The collection is divided into the main areas of Jewish culture and Jewish history. Jewish culture includes biblical studies, Jewish philosophy, liturgy and rabbinical literature such as the Talmud, codices and responsa, most of which are written in Hebrew. In total, there are around 15 subject groups, which in turn are divided into sub-groups.

In addition, the library of the Heidelberg University of Jewish Studies has various, partly historical holdings that are not represented at any other institution, such as the Jewish library of the Jacobson School in Seesen, collections of prayer books, older editions of the Talmud and other works of rabbinical literature, Jewish children's books or books on Jewish art. Older and rare works that are no longer available in bookshops have been and continue to be added to the collection through donations and the purchase of estates. In addition, volumes and issues of around 500 magazines, newspapers and yearbooks are available. Almost one hundred titles are available in microform.

Buch in Schwebe

Distribution of the book stock

  • 40% in German,
  • 35% in Hebrew, of which 10% Ivrit, 15% Mishnaic Hebrew, Aramaic and similar, 10% Ancient Hebrew,
  • 20% in English,
  • 2% in Yiddish,
  • 3% in other languages, including Russian, Polish, French, Italian, Czech, Hungarian and others.

The entire collection is open to the public as a reference library. Users have access to 18 reading places, photocopiers, reader printers for microfilms and microfiches as well as 7 PC workstations.

The library classifies the books according to the Dewey system of cataloging, which is also used, for example, in the library of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

In addition to the acquisition of new publications, bequests and donations are an important source for supplementing the library's holdings.

in 1988, the university acquired the estate of Rabbi Emil Davidovic, comprising well over 2,000 volumes, and in 1993 the library received the estate of Susanne Rösner-Engelfried, a collection of Jewish children's books, mainly from the 1920s and 1930s. An extensive donation from the family estate of Prof. Dr. Aharon Agus contains rare works from various areas of the Bible, Talmud and rabbinical literature. The library received around 300 volumes from the estate of the former German ambassador to Israel, Dr. Nils Hansen.

in 1996, the holdings of the library of the Jewish Community of Hanover were made available to the University of Jewish Studies on permanent loan. This loan is of particular value because it also brought the Judaica of the Jakobson School in Seesen, founded in 1801, to Heidelberg, where they are now accessible to users.

Further information on the Seesen special collection