A well-known secret is kept in a book-filled room at the Hamburg University Library. The publications which fill the shelves don’t necessary have a common theme, and only few of the students who visit it know that they are surrounded by evidence of a shameful past: All of the books stored in that room are looted property, taken from Jews by the Nazi authorities.” (via i24)
“Arthur Goldschmidt, a Leipzig dealer in animal feed and an exporter to South America, was more passionate about books than business. His private collection numbered 40,000 carefully indexed volumes and he engaged a librarian to take care of it. After the Nazis seized power in 1933, Goldschmidt was persecuted as a Jew; his assets were liquidated and his company confiscated. For survival, he sold his treasured collection of 2,000 almanacs — spanning three centuries — for a pittance to the Goethe and Schiller Archive in Weimar. He fled in 1938. His grandson Tomas Goldschmidt, who was a toddler when Arthur died in poverty in Bolivia in 1951, had no idea the collection had survived until he was contacted by the London- based Commission for Looted Art in Europe — 70 years after his grandfather’s escape. The commission traced him at the request of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar.” (via Businessweek)
AP – “Berlin’s Central and Regional Library says it will return books the Nazis stole from the Social Democratic Party, including an English-language copy of the Communist Manifesto. The copy dates from 1883 and is believed to have belonged to Friedrich Engels, who penned the original German work with Karl Marx in 1848.”
AP – “Paintings, jewelry, religious artifacts and other cultural treasures looted by the Nazis often passed through several pairs of hands in multiple countries once they were recovered by the Allies after World War II.
Meticulous records were kept, but those are spread among a variety of places that preserve archives. Now, they can all be accessed through a single website.”
AP – “Recently rediscovered books plundered by the Nazis more than six decades ago were returned to Berlin’s Jewish community on Wednesday in a ceremony at the city’s landmark synagogue.
The Berlin Central and Regional Library formally handed over 10 books and three journal volumes discovered among more than 200,000 volumes being examined by researchers as part of a project to establish their origin, with a focus on restitution.”