Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek restitutes 56 books in total

Date 2017.07.19

The Bay­erische Staats­bib­lio­thek (Bavar­i­an State Li­brary—BSB) in Mu­nich is re­turn­ing 56 un­law­ful­ly ac­quired books from its hold­ings to two in­sti­tu­tions and one in­di­vid­u­al. The works have been iden­ti­fied as Nazi-con­fis­cat­ed prop­er­ty.

The Grand Na­tion­al Moth­er Lodge “The Three Globes” (GN­ML), based in Berlin, will re­ceive back 45 books that were un­law­ful­ly ac­quired by the BSB. From 1933 on­wards, the Na­tion­al So­cial­ists be­gan to force the clo­sure of Ger­man Ma­son­ic lodges, abol­ish­ing them com­plete­ly two years lat­er and per­se­cut­ing many freema­sons. The resti­tut­ed works came in­to the pos­ses­sion of the BSB in 1938/39 via an ex­change trans­ac­tion with the SS school “Haus Wewels­burg”.

The BSB is al­so re­turn­ing 10 ti­tles of the Kartell der frei­heitlichen Vere­ine (car­tel of free­thinkers’ as­so­ci­a­tions) in Mu­nich to the Dachver­band Freier Weltan­schau­ungs­ge­mein­schaften e. V. (um­brel­la as­so­ci­a­tion of free world­view con­gre­ga­tions). The car­tel’s lo­cal group was banned in 1933. These books were seized by the Se­cret State Po­lice (Gestapo). Some of the books are stamped with the own­er­ship mark of Max Riess, one of the car­tel's found­ing mem­bers.

The Bay­erische Staats­bib­lio­thek has al­ready re­turned a 1922 edi­tion of Rosa Lux­em­burg's “Koali­tion­spoli­tik oder Klassenkampf?” to Ernst Grube, the great-grand­son of the orig­i­nal own­er Wil­helm Olschews­ki. Wil­helm Olschews­ki and Wil­helm Olschews­ki Jr., fa­ther and son, were ac­tive mem­bers of the com­mu­nist re­sis­tance dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. They were mur­dered by the Na­tion­al So­cial­ists. The book is pre­sumed to have been con­fis­cat­ed in 1942 and then giv­en to the Bay­erische Staats­bib­lio­thek. It is stamped with the own­er­ship mark “Wilh. Olschews­ki”.

The Bay­erische Staats­bib­lio­thek has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing its own hold­ings for Nazi-con­fis­cat­ed prop­er­ty since 2003. The Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion has been in­volved in sup­port­ing many of its prove­nance re­search projects since 2013.

* Zehn Bücher restituiert die Bayerische Staatsbibliothek an den "Dachverband Freier Weltanschauungsgemeinschaften e.V.". Zehn Bücher restituiert die Bayerische Staatsbibliothek an den "Dachverband Freier Weltanschauungsgemeinschaften e.V.". Source:  Bayerische Staatsbibliothek/Öffentlichkeitsarbeit