Restitution: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin returns 384 volumes to Masonic lodge in Potsdam
In an investigation of its collections, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin has returned 384 volumes which had once belonging to the Freemasons lodge "Teutonia zur Weise" in Potsdam. The volumes represent so-called 'Nazi confiscated property'.
The director of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Barbara Schneider-Kempf, will symbolically hand over the books to the lodge in Potsdam on 23 June.
The Masonic lodge, founded in 1809 and located on Kurfürstenstraße, had owned a library of some 2,300 volumes which residents of Potsdam were allowed to borrow at no charge. After the Nazi seized power, the lodge was closed in 1935 and its entire inventory and assets were confiscated. The lodge was re-founded in 1991.
The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin has been actively scouring its collections for Nazi confiscated property; with the support of the Office of Provenance Research (now the German Lost Art Foundation), it has already conducted a long-term project which systematically examined approximately 11,000 volumes whose addition to its collection of printed works was deemed especially suspicious. The German Lost Art Foundation is funding a second project at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin until 2017 which will investigate the fate of Nazi confiscated property after 1945.