2006

AP — Archives, Libraries, Museums


Bibliotheken, Bücher und andere Medien in der Zeit des Kalten Krieges [Libraries, Books, and Other Media in the Time of the Cold War]. Ed. Peter Vodosek und Wolfgang Schmitz. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz in Kommission, 2005. 216 p. ill. 25 cm. (Wolfenbütteler Schriften zur Geschichte des Buchwesens, 40). ISBN 3-447-05287-2: EUR 59 [06-1-014]

The Cold War is usually thought of as a form of confrontation between two different political systems, the West and the East, which arose after World War II and lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989-1990. The fact that this period occupies such a secluded place in history makes it a tempting object for historicization, that is, a strong concern with the analysis of its political and cultural aspects. Some important aspects of the Cold War commonly discussed include political propaganda, cultural conflict, economic competition, and exertion of influence on the geopolitical arena. By contrast with these ersatz definitions of war, the concept of the “hot” war appears, at least on the surface, somewhat obscured.

The international conference “Livre, Edition, Bibliothèques, Lecture durant la Guerre Froide” (Books, Libraries, Reading, and Publishing in the Cold War) which took place in Paris in 1998, was sponsored by the IFLA Round Table on History along with several other associations. Since there were no presentations dealing with the German perspective on the Cold War or specifically German expression of it at the conference, the Wolfenbüttel Workshop on the History of Libraries, Books and Media arranged a separate meeting concerned with these topics in May 2002. The presentations from this meeting were subsequently published in the volume under review.

The first two introductory pieces were written by the editors, who sketched the state of scholarly research of the Cold War and divided the subsequent articles into five sections:
(1) the significance of “Houses of Culture” in Germany (3 articles), (2) literature and literary criticism during the Cold War (2 articles), (3) the press (3 articles), (4) broadcasting and television (1 article), and (5) libraries and archives during the time of the Cold War (5 articles). However, the order of the presentations in the proceedings volume follows no such order. While the articles are very detail-oriented, they also represent attempts at classification and assessment. The themes range from political caricature to the information policies of the United States toward the divided Germany to continuity and discontinuity in the collections of the Deutscher Fotothek.

Because of this diversity, general statements about the overall direction of the volume are difficult to make, and it is best viewed as a sum of the articles presented in it. The addition of a personal-name index attests to the sound academic standards of the series and its editor. [wub/as]

Das ABC der SLUB: Lexikon der Sächsischen Landesbibliothek—Staats-und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden; aus Anlass des 450. Gründungsjubiläums [The ABC of the SLUB: Encyclopedia of the Saxon State Library-State and University Library Dresden, On the Occasion of the 450th Anniversary of Its Founding]. Ed. Thomas Bürger and Konstantin Hermann for the Gesellschaft der Freunde und Förderer der SLUB Dresden e.V. Dresden: Sandstein, 2006. 264 p. ill. 24 cm. (Schriftenreihe der Sächsischen Landesbibliothek—Staats-und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden, 11). ISBN 3-937602-69-0: EUR 20 [06-1-015]

The sole precedent for German library self-portraits in encyclopedia form is the 1992 Lexikon zur Geschichte und Gegenwart der Herzog-August-Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel [Encyclopedia of the Herzog-August-Library Past and Present], which is the only entry to date in the series Lexika europäischer Bibliotheken [Encyclopedias of European Libraries]. Yet the less than enthusiastic reception of the latter publication has not deterred the SLUB from stepping into the limelight. This pleasingly illustrated book contains ca. 500 articles by 78 authors (mainly employees of the Library) and covers librarian luminaries, genres of materials held, subject strengths (contemporary art and the history of technology), special collections, realia, architectural history of the Library, administrative undertakings and consortial relations. The articles are well balanced and contain generous bibliographies. Overall, this publication makes a very positive impression. [sh/rlk]

Die Bibliothek Konrad Peutingers: Edition der historischen Kataloge und Rekonstruktion der Bestände [The Konrad Peutinger Library: An Edition of the Historical Catalogs and a Reconstruction of the Holdings]. Tübingen: Niemeyer. 24 cm. (Die Bibliothek und der handschriftliche Nachlaß Konrad Peutingers; Studia Augustana, ...). [06-1-017]

Vol. 1. Die autographen Kataloge Peutingers, Der nichtjuristische Bibliotheksteil [Catalogs in Peutinger’s Own Hand: The Non-Legal Materials]. Ed. Hans-Jörg Künast and Helmut Zäh. 2003. viii, 755 p. ill. (…, 11). ISBN 3-484-16511-1: EUR 116

Vol. 2. Die autographen Kataloge Peutingers, Der juristische Bibliotheksteil […: The Legal Materials]. Ed. Hans-Jörg Künast and Helmut Zäh 2005. 419 p. ill. (…, 14). ISBN 3-484-16514-6: EUR 79

The Augsburg humanist, jurist, and diplomat, Konrad Peutinger (1466-1547) was actively involved in the politics of his home city, of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and in the settlement of the religious conflicts of his day. As a historian he devoted himself to studies of Roman and medieval history. His wide-ranging interests are reflected in his impressive library, which with its nearly 6000 titles was one of the most extensive private collections north of the Alps. Two relatively thorough inventories of this library by Peutinger himself (one written in 1515, the other in 1523) are still in existence and are the basis of the present edition. This publication is more than just a critical edition of these two manuscripts, however. The editors have identified the location of many of the volumes still in existence (ca. 80 percent in the State and Municipal Library in Augsburg), and have included descriptions of individual features of the volumes (binding, handwritten notes), as well as providing detailed bibliographical data for each item. Two additional volumes are planned: Volume 3 will present an edition of an additional inventory made in 1597 and a fourth volume will contain a complete index. When complete this work will provide a reconstruction of one of the greatest German libraries of the 16th century, and of the intellectual world of one of the most significant humanists of his day. [ch/jc]

Jüdischer Buchbesitz als Raubgut: zweites Hannoversches Symposium [Jewish-Owned Books as Plunder: The Second Hannover Symposium]. Ed. Regine Dehnel for the Niedersächsische Landesbibliothek and the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2006. 435 p. ill. 25 cm. (Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie: Sonderhefte, 88). ISBN 3-465-03448-1: EUR 89, EUR 80.10 (subscribers) [06-2-179]

After coming to power in 1933 and then throughout the Second World War, the Nazi regime plundered Jewish libraries and private collections, motivated partly by its own obsessive desire to “document the enemy,” partly by its bottomless greed. This collection of papers presented at the second Hannover Symposium (2005) to some 130 librarians and historians from nine countries (the first was held in 2002) testifies to the ongoing interest in researching both the history of the legalized theft of books between 1933 and 1945 as well as in the return of stolen books to their rightful owners or their descendants. Organized into four main sections—The Theft of Books in Germany and Elsewhere in Europe, Jewish Responses to the Destruction, In Search of the Books, Dealing with Stolen Books Today—thirty-some presentations address topics as varied as the involvement of the German librarian Hermann Gerstner in the systematic plundering of a Belgrade publishing house, to the efforts of Israeli librarians in bringing rescued Jewish books to Israel, to a survey of German libraries on the status and restitution of stolen books held in their collections. This important compilation concludes with a selective bibliography, short biographies of the contributors and an index of names. It is important that scholars continue to investigate this topic—for moral reasons, but also to better understand the history of collections and libraries. [mk/sl]

Auf Transport!: deutsche Stationen “sichergestellter” jüdischer und freimaurerischer Bibliotheken aus Frankreich und den Niederlanden (1940-1949) [Underway! German Waystations for “Secured” Jewish and Masonic Libraries in France and the Netherlands (1950-1949)]. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek. Hameln: Niemeyer, 2005. 64 p. 21 cm. (Lesesaal,18). ISBN 3-8271-8818-0: EUR 5 [06-2-180]

The exhibit Auf Transport! at the library of the Federal State of Lower Saxony provides exemplary documentation on the plundering of French and Dutch libraries by German “operational units” during the Second World War. (The exhibit was mounted in conjunction with the conference Jüdischer Buchbesitz als Raubgut—see RREA 12:23). The exhibit catalog focuses on the fate of the plundered collections at selected important German gathering points and on the course of their restitution—subjects less studied than the plundering per se. Among the looted library collections, the fates of five (two in Paris, one in Den Haag and two in Amsterdam) are presented in this catalog. In contrast to the more usual situation, the books in these collections were returned to their rightful owners. The rare photographs of the German deposit centers are particularly interesting. [mk/sl]

Auf den Spuren der Eigentümer: Erwerb und Rückgabe von Büchern jüdischer Eigentümer am Beispiel Bremen [Searching for the Owners: Acquisition and Return of Jewish-Owned Books: The Bremen Example]. Ed. Thomas Elsmann. Bremen: Staats-und Universitätsbibliothek, 2004. 107 p. ill. 27 cm. (Schriften der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Bremen, 5) EUR 8 [06-2-181]

The Bremen State & University Library was among the first German libraries to grapple with the issue of the brown legacy—the books that were extorted from the Jews after 1938—in their collections. The work at hand summarizes the Bremen library’s activities since 1991.

The first essay is not just a thorough source-documented chronology of the Library’s acquisition of confiscated books after 1933, but also a history of the Library during the Nazi period. Its then director Hinrich Knittermeyer (1891-1958) followed the National Socialist line very closely, rigorously purging the collections of undesired literature and later having no qualms about integrating confiscated Jewish private collections into the general collection. In view of the Library’s chronically small inventory, these “donations” were highly welcomed. Politically unreliable librarians, such as the renowned Ilse Schunke (1893-1979), were fired. The Bremen State Library’s daily routine was, small wonder, no different from that of other German libraries.

The Bremen State & University Library’s efforts to identify “displaced books” were directed by the retired chief superintendent of schools Elfriede Bannas. In tireless small steps and with a keen nose for the criminal, this “Restless Retiree” and “Book Detective” identified some 1,500 stolen books in the Library’s collection. Extensive research enabled the return of many books to their rightful owners (mostly their heirs). Interestingly, many of these books were confiscated not from citizens of Bremen, but above all from Jews who wanted to emigrate via Bremen. One trail led to Hannover, not only identifying books owned by 38 Hannover Jews but also extensively documenting the fate of these persons and enabling some restitution of these books.

The final essay in this work examines German libraries’ restitution policies and practices since 1945. Although the Western occupying powers immediately carried out extensive restitution measures, and the German Librarians Association in 1950 called for the inventory of Jewish property in libraries, there remained a number of “bombs in the cellar,” whose existence was often denied. Only in the 1990s did libraries fully recognize the moral obligation to return stolen books as well as art objects or archival materials to their rightful owners. Along the lines of the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets and its Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, the 2002 “Hannover Appeal” called for the systematic identification and return of confiscated Jewish-owned books. How widely the call will be heeded remains to be seen, and a certain dose of skepticism is called for. [mk/ga]

Displaced books: NS-Raubgut in der Universitätsbibliothek Marburg [Nazi Loot in the Marburg University Library]. Ed. Eckart Conze und Bernd Reifenberg. Marburg: Universitätsbibliothek, 2006. 133 p. ill. 22 cm. (Schriften der Universitätsbibliothek Marburg, 127). ISBN 978-3-8185-0435-9; ISBN 3-8185-0435-0: EUR 10 [06-2-182]

The Marburg University Library, like the Bremen State & University Library (see RREA 12:25), has been a leader in the early recognition of and action to ameliorate the “brown legacy” of its collections. Earlier publications in the Marburg Library’s series of Schriften include chapters from Veronica Albrink’s Hundert Jahre nach Marburg: aktuelle Aufsätze aus der Universitätsbibliothek Marburg [One Hundred Years after Marburg: Current Essays from the Marburg University Library], (2000; Schriften..., 102) and Das bibliothekarische Gedächtnis: Aspekte der Erinnerungskultur an braune Zeiten [The Librarians’ Memory: Aspects of the Culture of Remembering the Brown Period], (2004; Schriften..., 119).

In this present collection of essays Bernd Reifenberg summarizes what has been accomplished in examining the acquisitions receipts for some 7,600 titles in question.

Circa 7,000 were found to be in the Library; some 5,000 contained no owner’s markings; only about 2,000 titles contained a book plate, stamp, handwritten ownership mark, or inscribed dedication; and approximately 500 could be identified as legitimate acquisitions during the Nazi Period. Thus, librarians had a labor-intensive challenge to identify the rightful owners (or their heirs) of these materials.

Comparing the rather high costs to the purely quantitatively meager results, the library director must question whether with increasingly thinner library staffs the library can still afford to carry out this work. Librarians discussed this issue at the 2005 German Librarians Conference in Düsseldorf, from which in 2006 was published the monograph Die Suche nach NS-Raubgut in Bibliotheken: Recherchestand, Probleme, Lösungswege [The search for Nazi Loot in Libraries: Status of Research, Problems, Solutions], edited by Bernd Reifenberg (Schriften…, 126). In early 2006 the historian Ekkart Conze and the librarian Bernd Reifenberg organized a seminar in which Marburg University students of history grappled with the theory and practice of the issue of restoring stolen property to its rightful owners.

The volume at hand is the result of that seminar and contains seven well-researched and illustrated contributions by historians. In the concluding essay, Conze emphasizes that the responsibility for the restitution of stolen books should not be limited to libraries, but rather should be a shared enterprise between librarians and scholars of history, culture, emigration (particularly the fate of the Jews), and the systematic cultural theft that occurred across Europe during the Second World War. [mk/ga]

Judaica in deutschen Bibliotheken: Bestandsaufnahmen und Perspektiven [Judaica Collections in German Libraries: Survey Results and Perspectives]. Ed. Verena Dohrn und Rachel Heuberger. 2006. In: Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie, 53, 3/4 (2006): p. 123-195. [06-2-183]

Judaica and Hebraica collections in German research libraries were built in the time period of early modern Europe, mainly at protestant institutions whose researchers wanted to understand Jewish scriptures and Jewish history and culture. The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz & State Library of Lower Saxony initiated a survey into these holdings by approaching 38 German libraries with a request for a comprehensive collection description. This collection of essays summarizes the results for 13 libraries that responded to the survey questionnaire in 2004.

The following highlights provide insights into the state of Judaica and Hebraica collections in German libraries: the Bavarian State Library in Munich has one of the largest collections of Hebraica materials in the world, a collection that was systematically built over 450 years; the Senckenberg Library at the Univ. of Frankfurt has the largest collection of secondary literature for the study of Jewish culture and the state of Israel, and features an online database of 800 historic and modern Yiddish prints; the Hebraica-Collection of the State Library Berlin has not been fully catalogued, and a lot of materials moved to storage for safe keeping during World War II have not yet been returned to their former location; the city and university library of Göttingen has a collection of 15,000 volumes; the University and State Library of Halle-Wittenberg has a historically strong collection, including the recent acquisitions such as the Chaim Hominer collection; Halle-Wittenberg also established a professorship for Jewish Studies; the Heidelberg School for Jewish Studies was founded in 1979 and built a significant collection retroactively by acquiring available items through the Rare Books trade. Smaller but still significant collections include the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz State Library of Lower Saxony; the University Library at Potsdam; the University Library at Rostock; the Wurttemberg State Library in Stuttgart, and the German Judaica Library in Cologne.

Many libraries depend on state funding for building and preserving their Judaica and Hebraica collections, and the year-to-year level of support depends on the general economic conditions in Germany. Libraries struggle with providing online access to their holdings. Challenges include a lack of catalog records for existing holdings, and lack of transliteration standards, both of which make the realization of a Germany wide union catalog difficult. There are no concerted digitization efforts at this time due to and lack of staff and funding for digitization projects.

This collection of essays provides a good overview of the state of Judaica and Hebraica collections in Germany, but since some of the most important German libraries, such as Düsseldorf, Erlangen, Hamburg, Leipzig or Tübingen are not included in the results, the survey provides a snapshot rather than a comprehensive picture of Judaica and Hebraica collections in German libraries. [mk/hm]

In Walter Benjamins Bibliothek: gelesene, zitierte, rezensierte Bücher und Zeitschriften in der Edition in der sie Benjamin kannte und nutzte; Dokumentation einer verlorenen Bibliothek [In Walter Benjamin’s Library: Books and Journals Read, Cited, and Reviewed by Benjamin in the Editions That He Knew and Used. Documentation of a Lost Library]. Stuttgart: Antiquariat Herbert Blank. 24 cm. (Katalog / Antiquariat Herbert Blank, 56). EUR 30 (fixed price for parts 1-3) [06-2-184]

Part 1, 2006. 208 p. EUR 10

The Stuttgart antiquarian book dealer Herbert Blank has reconstructed much of the personal library of the German Jewish critic Walter Benjamin in this richly annotated sales catalog. Benjamin’s library consisted of several thousand volumes before he fled Nazi Germany in 1933. In 1934, he was able to have the most valuable part of his collection sent to Bertolt Brecht’s home in Danish exile, and then in the late 1930s to Paris, where, by that time, Benjamin was living. Benjamin was forced to leave his books behind again in 1940, when Hitler invaded Paris; Benjamin died, an apparent suicide, in flight from France, and not a trace of the collection is known to have survived. Blank’s catalog brings together a near-comprehensive set of the editions Benjamin is known to have owned, read, reviewed, consulted, or paged through, as well as first editions of Benjamin’s own publications. The reconstruction is based on a meticulous review of Benjamin’s notes and letters describing hundreds of book purchases, as well as citations and references in his published and unpublished writings, written descriptions of his readings, etc.

Blank’s Benjamin collection consists of around 4,000 titles. The first of three projected volumes of the catalog contains 1,243 entries. Bibliographic description of the titles includes the provenance of the copies on offer. Annotations point to the passages in Benjamin’s writings where particular works are mentioned, quoted, or reviewed, and indicate from whom Benjamin learned about a work, how in came into his possession, and similarly.

Volume 1 of Blank’s catalog contains a complete collection of first editions of everything Benjamin published in his lifetime, with the exception of a special printing of his essay on Goethe’s Elective Affinities); translations by him; his contributions to collected volumes; correspondence editions (published volumes containing letters to and from Benjamin); journals with contributions by Benjamin (in many cases, Blank has collected entire runs of the journal in question); journals without contributions by Benjamin; German literature; and 19th and 20th-century Russian literature

Two subsequent catalog volumes will feature, among other parts of the collection, works of French literature, literary history and criticism, art history, philosophy and psychology, Judaica, and children’s books.

This thorough and accurate catalog closes a research gap in Benjamin studies. Since it is a sales catalog, the collection it describes is likely to be dispersed among individual buyers unless a large institution is prepared to acquire it. [mb/kw]

Bibliografia italiana delle biblioteche, del libro e dell’informazione: BIB [Italian Bibliography of the Library, the Book, and Information: BIB]. Alberto Petrucciani and Vittorio Ponzani. With CD-ROM = BIB 5 (1971-2004), ed. Alberto Petrucciani. Roma: Associazione Italiana Biblioteche, 2005. 138 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 88-7812-181-9: EUR 20 [06-2-186]

BIB-WEB: bibliografia italiana delle biblioteche, del libro e dell’informazione. Ed. Alberto Petrucciani. Roma: Associazione Italiana Biblioteche. URL: http://www.aib.it/aib/bib/bib.htm (visited 29 May 2009). Gratis [06-2-188]

1992/2001 2002.

The Associazione Italiana Biblioteche (AIB) has published this bibliography of literature in Library Science and Book Studies since 1975, starting in volume 15 of the AIB’s Bollettino d’informazioni (later Bollettino AIB). Each issue carried the feature section Letteratura professionale italiana (LPI). Beginning in 1995 the bibliography appeared as a CD-ROM supplement to the Bollettino. The year 2005—decennial anniversaries of both bibliographies— was an appropriate occasion to publish a book on the history of this resource. The book was greeted among German librarians with a certain sense of envy, since the analagous German library-science bibliography—DOBI: Dokumentationsdienst Bibliothekswesen [Library-Science Documentation Service], published by the one-time Deutsches Bibliotheksinstitut—lasted only between 1991 and 2002. However, it is still web-accessible. (For reviews of the early CD-ROM volumes, see RREA 1:100 and RREA 2:43).

This anniversary volume gives an extensive description of the history and methodology of the BIB, along with instructions on using the bibliography. The authors give a detailed description of the subject classification outline, an alphabetical index of the categories, a register of the source journals, and a bibliography of the issues of the LPI. The CD-ROM edition, begins with 1971, four years before the LPI commenced. It lists an additional 1,204 items published between 1971 and 1974.

It is regrettable that the web version covers only the years 1991-2002, since the data for 1971-2004 are available on the CD-ROMs. [sh/ga]

Museen in Bayern: das bayerische Museumshandbuch; ein Führer zu rund 1250 kunst-und kulturhistorischen, archäologischen und technischen Museen, naturkundlichen Sammlungen, Freilicht- und Bauernhofmuseen, Schlössern und Burgen [Museums in Bavaria: The Bavarian Museums Handbook; A Guide to 1,250 Art, Cultural History, Archaeological, and Technical Museums, Natural History Collections, Outdoor and Farm Museums, Castles, and Fortresses]. Ed. Christine Schmid-Egger for the Landesstelle für die Nichtstaatlichen Museen in Bayern. 4th completely rev. expanded, and updated ed. München; Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2006. xvi, 592 p. ill. 23 cm. ISBN 3-422-06551-2 (paperback): EUR14.90 [06-2-190]

This museum guide was excluded from the recent review of print museum guides to German cities (see RREA 11:32, 33, 35, and 36) because the third edition had just appeared in 2000 (see RREA 7:46). This fourth edition includes 100 new institutions for a total of 1,250 museums in the wide sense given in the subtitle. Not included are exhibit spaces that lack their own collections, such as Munich’s Haus der Kunst. The entire directory, with additional information, is available online at http://www.museen-in-bayern.de. [sh/ab]


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