Sunday, July 06, 2008

More Nazi loot, but books this time 

The Commission for Looted Art in London, working with the Nuremberg Municipal Library, are trying to return 10,000 books looted by Nazis during WWII. In February, the Commission and Library went through the books and found several that had signatures or stamps or inscriptions that displayed names, then posted them to lootedart.com, and several have already been returned.

Full news story here: Owners sought for Nazi-looted books, by Leon Symons for the Jewish Chronicle, 29 February 2008.

Ms Webber said: “This is a very important piece of work because most people think restitution is only about paintings. It is not. Many things were looted, including books.

“We have already returned a number of books. We found that in some cases they are the only remaining link between those who died and those who survived. We tracked down one woman in Israel, who is now 80. Her parents and sister had been murdered when she was very young and she had nothing of theirs. She could not believe it when we presented her with three books, one of which was written by her maternal grandfather.

She had nothing from him. Now she does.

I hope the rest are returned. My grandfather passed away when I was one. I have a few books from his library, and I feel so close to him reading them, seeing his name in the front, learning from the passages he underlined what was important to him. Those books mean more to me than any of the ivory, jade, or silver he collected in SE Asia.

I can only hope that the rest of these books find their homes, and that people can find links to their past through books their ancestors owned.

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