4 December 2014: 13 books published between 1840 and 1914 have been returned to the Jewish Community of Vienna following provenance research undertaken in the Berlin State Library. The research was published online, leading to a request for the books' return by Vienna.
The library of the Jewish Community Vienna was sealed by the Gestapo during Kristallnacht in 1938. Between 1939 and 1941 it was sent by Adolf Eichmann at the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) (Reich Security Head Office) in Berlin. In 1945 part of the library was taken to Lower Silesia and Northern Bohemia to avoid aerial bombing, but only a small proportion was recovered in 1945.
The Berlin State Library's research into its 3 million volumes continues and some 1,000 have been returned to their rightful owners since the project began. In December 2013 the Library published a 400 page study, Beschlagnahmt, erpresst, erbeutet. NS-Raubgut, Reichstauschstelle und Preußische Staatsbibliothek zwischen 1933 und 1945 (Confiscated, Blackmailed, Seized: Nazi loot, the Reich Exchange Office and the Prussian State Library 1933-1945) which provides a context for the research both in the Berlin and other German libraries.
To read the press release from the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation about the restitution to Vienna, click here. To see further details of the 2013 book, click here.