Badische Landesbibliothek (BLB), Karlsruhe
Jan 21, 2020
The Baden State Library (BLB), which developed from the library collections of the Margraves and Grand Dukes of Baden, is one of the largest regional libraries in Germany with an over 500-years-old history. When the library building was destroyed during an air raid in the night from the 2nd to the 3rd of September 1942, both the collections and the administrative records of the BLB were nearly completely burned. However, the library’s treasures, such as manuscripts, incunabula, or rare early printed books, had already been transferred to various depots as early as 1939, thus surviving the building´s destruction.
According to early research conclusions, Nazi-looted books are to be found in the library holdings that were acquired immediately after the bombing raid and with financial support from the Reich and Land authorities responsible for the library’s reconstruction. The initial sampling efforts revealed several suspicious cases.
Since the library collections were arranged according to the number of accessions, and no distinction was made based on the respective mode of acquisition, the complete library collection must be screened for Nazi-looted books. The information given in the accession journals on acquisitions since the end of 1942 is incomplete and does not adequately represent the actual acquisitions. A large number of these volumes do not have any proof of origin in the library inventories, so that evidence of provenance can only be obtained by conducting an autopsy on the individual books.
Badische Landesbibliothek Karlsruhe
Tel: +49(0721) 175 2201