Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Search for Nazi-confiscated property begins in Goethe University Frankfurt library

Date 2020.06.01

The Uni­ver­si­ty Li­brary Jo­hann Chris­tian Senck­en­berg at Goethe Uni­ver­si­ty Frank­furt am Main has be­gun to ex­am­ine its his­toric stock for Nazi-con­fis­cat­ed prop­er­ty. The Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion is fund­ing the project over a pe­ri­od of two years.

Around 79,000 vol­umes will be re­viewed in to­tal, with the fo­cus on the Li­brary’s cen­tral li­brary in Bock­en­heim. Un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion are books that came in­to the hold­ings be­tween 1942 and 1945.

A large pro­por­tion of these orig­i­nate from the Of­fen­bach Archival De­pot, which was set up by the US mil­i­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion af­ter the Sec­ond World War for the pur­pose of re­turn­ing loot­ed prop­er­ty to its own­ers. It was not pos­si­ble to re­turn many of the books at that time be­cause their ori­gin could not be ac­cu­rate­ly de­ter­mined. The re­main­ing works were sub­se­quent­ly dis­tribut­ed among var­i­ous li­braries.

Sam­ple checks have pre­vi­ous­ly re­vealed a num­ber of sus­pect cas­es, for ex­am­ple through in­di­ca­tors like the hand­writ­ten sig­na­ture of a Jew­ish sci­en­tist or the book­plate of a Jew­ish nurse.

Press re­lease by the Uni­ver­si­ty Li­brary Jo­hann Chris­tian Senck­en­berg at Goethe Uni­ver­si­ty Frank­furt am Main (on­ly Ger­man ver­sion)