Restitution: Successful project by the University Library of Rostock bears fruit
On Wednesday, the University Library of Rostock officially returned nine books from its collection to Audrey Goodman, the sole heiress of the Jewish family Malzer. The restitution is the result of the systematic investigation of the library’s collections to identify Nazi confiscated property, a project which the German Lost Art Foundation is financing for a period of two years.
To mark the occasion, Nadine Bauer, research associate of the Provenance Research Department at the German Lost Art Foundation, gave the welcoming speech at the official restitution ceremony: "Today’s restitution confirms that the work of the Foundation, founded in 2015, is bearing fruit. The fact that the project of the University Library of Rostock resulted in restitution to the heiress is a success."
The books had belonged to Babette Malzer, who died in 1937. Her estate became the property of Max Malzer and his family. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, the family was forced to flee to London; their books were illegally confiscated by the Nazis. In 1942, a portion of the estate was handed over to the University Library of Rostock as a donation by the city’s mayor. It is almost impossible to reconstruct the trail of the books between the family’s emigration to London and their inclusion into the University Library of Rostock in 1942.
The German Lost Art Foundation has funded such provenance research projects at 25 German libraries so far. Three more libraries applied for project funding this spring.
The University Library of Rostock is the second institution after the Staatliches Museum Schwerin (project 2009-2013) to systematically investigate its collections for Nazi confiscated property.