Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Restitution: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin returns 384 volumes to Masonic lodge in Potsdam

Date 2016.06.17

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.

Freema­sons lodge "Teu­to­nia zur Weisheit" (on­ly Ger­man ver­sion)

Project de­scrip­tions (on­ly Ger­man ver­sion)