Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Nazi-confiscated libraries of political and cultural associations

funding area Nazi confiscated art Grant recipient Klassik Stiftung Weimar - Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek State Thuringia Website Online-Katalog. NS-Raubgut in der Herzogin Anna Amalia BibliothekProvenienzforschung im Blog der Klassik StiftungNS-verfolgungsbedingt entzogene Kulturgüter in den Sammlungsbeständen der Klassik Stiftung Weimar Lost Art-Report to the Found-Object Report of the institution Contact person Project type Long-term project to systematically investigate collection holdings Funding duration
  1. June 2009 to May 2010


The digital “Nazi-confiscated property research collection at the HAAB Weimar” has been under development since 2008. It lists the remnants of a number of libraries that belonged to political, cultural and religious associations, public libraries and private Jewish collectors. Parts of these libraries were merged into the total stock of the two predecessor institutions of the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek and dispersed throughout them; other parts form sub-collections in which the copies have been disguised or, from 1935 onward, directly censored by having stickers pasted over them or being written over. With the aid of the associated archive records, which are also digitized, it was possible to identify these collections and categorize them as Nazi-looted art.
One of the predecessor institutions was the Thuringian State Library Weimar, which was actively involved in Nazi art looting and, after 1945, even observed a fourfold increase in its holdings compared with 1933. The second predecessor institution was the institute library of the National Research and Memorial Sites of Classic German Literature, founded in the mid-1950s. Its founding collections were partially based on Nazi-looted works, e.g. Arthur Goldschmidt’s almanac collection comprising approx. 2,000 books, which was transferred to the institute library in 1955 from the Goethe and Schiller Archive.
Since 2005, the legality of all acquisitions from the period 1933–1945 and afterwards has been systematically examined. All suspect cases are documented in the online catalog.
Some of the suspect cases are also accessible as digitized documents in the online database “Monographien Digital”.
Up to 2010, approx. 4,000 books were identified as Nazi-looted property. The library is working with the Commission for Looted Art in Europe (London) in the search for heirs.
Prior to the project, the library organized two provenance research events in conjunction with the Coordination Office for Lost Cultural Assets and the Initiative Fortbildung für wissenschaftliche Spezialbibliotheken und verwandte Einrichtungen e.V. (2003: “Provenienzforschung für die Praxis. Recherche und Dokumentation von Provenienzen in Bibliotheken”; 2004: “Von der Provenienzforschung zur Restitution geraubten Kulturguts: politischer Wille und praktische Umsetzung”)


Werner Schroeder: »Arbeiter, fördert und unterstützt weiter euere geistige Rüstkammer«. Aufbau, Bedeutung und Zerschlagung der Arbeiterbibliotheken in Thüringen. Bonn 2008 (Veröffentlichungen der Bibliothek der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bd. 20.

Andreas Lütjen: NS-Raubgutforschung und Provenienzerschließung am Beispiel einer Privatbibliothek aus dem Besitz einer Familie teilweise jüdischer Herkunft an der Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar. In: Bibliotheksdienst 43 (2009), H. 11, S. 1138-1161.

Monographien Digital. Herausgegeben von der Klassik Stiftung Weimar Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek


© Klassik Stiftung Weimar - Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek