Nazi looted books in the Albert Einstein Library

Contact

Project leader:

Rabbi Prof. Dr. Birgit Klein

HfJS
Landfriedstrasse 12
69117  Heidelberg

Germany

Tel.: (+49) (0) 6221/5419 225
Fax: (+49) (0) 6221/5419209
E-Mail: birgit.klein@hfjs.eu


Project staff:

Philipp Zschommler, M.A.

HfJS
Landfriedstrasse 12
69117  Heidelberg

Germany

Tel.: (+49) (0) 6221/5419 214
Fax: (+49) (0) 6221/5419209
E-Mail: philipp.zschommler@hfjs.eu

 

 

Since 2019, the Heidelberg Center for Jewish Studies has been actively searching for Nazi looted property in the holdings of its library. Even a random grab at the bookshelves suggests that a considerable part of the holdings published before 1945 at least justify such suspicion.

This circumstance is of course no coincidence. Since its foundation in 1979, the library has been keen to build up a comprehensive stock as quickly as possible, and this from a wide variety of sources.

The acquisition of older literature was indispensable in this process, and so Judaica and Hebraica, whose origins were initially not questioned, were incorporated. Purchases were made from antiquarian books but the library also received numerous donations and bequests, which were gratefully accepted. Among them is the book collection of the former rabbi of Westphalia, Emil Davidovic. As this collection is clearly identifiable and has numerous but spatially definable provenances, it is particularly suitable as an introduction to looted goods research. To this end, the university took the opportunity to apply for funding from the German Lost Art Foundation, which was granted for a period of two years. In addition, the project is supported by the Lili and Michael Sommerfreund Foundation.

Within the framework of this project, this partial inventory will be examined for its provenance by autopsy (including the search for heirs and, if necessary, restitution/compensation). Even in cases where restitution is not possible, the project will give appropriate recognition to those to whom the books once belonged. In this way, the project will make an important contribution to the culture of remembrance in particular and to Jewish history during and after the Shoah in general.

The investigated or restituted books as well as the provenance references found will be published in the cooperative database Looted Cultural Assets.

 

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Supported by the Lilli and Michael Sommerfreund Foundation and the German Lost Art Foundation.

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Letzte Änderung: 2020-09-04