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Network of Excellence in Social Responsibility

Who we are

We are a cooperation of libraries in Germany founded in 2016 and thus a network in the area of the most recent German provenance research.

Investigation – Commemoration – Reconciliation

Our guiding principles are the investigation of expropriations during the Nazi era, commemoration, and reconciliation with victims of the Nazi regime. These principles are essential for provenance research in the effort of making an important contribution to German and European culture of remembrance. Every instance of investigation and every book returned are part of the commemoration of those who were persecuted, expelled, deported, and murdered during the Nazi era.

Provenance research in libraries

Provenance research in libraries is a complex field of work that interdisciplinarily combines historical, political, and cultural aspects. It encompasses a range of tasks for investigating the origin of cultural assets, in our case books that were systematically stolen from people of Jewish origin and others persecuted during the Nazi regime. Every book has its own history, and it becomes the task of provenance investigators to determine it. Clues to the origin and to the course of events providing information about previous ownership can often be found in the book itself; accession books, archives, and databases are additional sources of information. The basis for provenance research is laid out in the Washington Principles, which were adopted in 1998 and to which Germany has committed itself in the Joint Declaration in acceptance of historical and moral responsibility. As part of this effort, pursuing a "just and fair solution" between the parties concerned is the declared objective.

Networking and teamwork

Our cooperation enables a partnership in finding, investigating, and returning books seized in the context of Nazi persecution to today's rightful owners and heirs, both individuals and organizations worldwide, with an emphasis on books belonging to Jews. By networking, we benefit from mutual exchange of knowledge in the fields of provenance research. In teamwork, we share our knowledge and offer professional support among cooperating institutions. We archive the research results and make them available to the public through our LCA database.

Remembering is part of accomplishing the future

In memory of the victims of Nazi injustice, we will continue to commit ourselves to finding and returning cultural assets seized in the context of Nazi persecution. Become a member of our cooperation, and if you are interested in partnership, please write to us at: kooperation@lootedculturalassets.de