(Belarus and France) Nazi Stolen Books Not Being Returned to Families of Owners #belarus
Jan Meisels Allen
I recently posted on the IAJGS Leadership Digest and JewishGen Discussion
Group as to how Germany was making an effort to return Nazi looted books
returned to their original Jewish owners through the "Initial Check" whose
mission is finding stolen books and rightful heirs, which is coordinated by
the Magdeburg-based Lost Art Foundation.
Unfortunately, the same is not true of the Nazi looted books in Belarus.
The focus is on 1.2 million volumes the Nazis plundered which went from
France to Germany to Silesia where the Red Army took them as "spoils of
war". This includes about 500,000 books taken >from French Jewish families
The Soviets sent 54 railcars to Minsk where they have remained. Many of the
books were found by the Soviets in Berlin so called "trophy-Brigades of the
Red Army which picked up cultural property in occupied countries. Many of
the French books were stored alongside the books the Nazis plundered from
Belarus. The books remained in Minsk an not mentioned until the falloff
Communism. Many of the French books were taken >from prominent families'
private libraries and are first editions, many of them signed.
There have been discussions between the French and Belarus and other
countries, including the Claims Conference who seeks restitution for those
who lost property or art. Belarus will not discuss restitution, as Belarus
lost nearly all they had in the war. Belarus is willing to discuss
"transfers and exchanges of publications."
The Claims Conference created a website on the looted books and the Minsk
collection which can be accessed at:
https://www.errproject.org/looted_libraries_fr.php the article contains a
link to the list which is at:
To read more about this see: http://tinyurl.com/ybphcr7s
The Wall Street Journal is a subscription newspaper. However, if you place
the title of the article On the Trail of Books Stolen by the Nazis," into
Google you will be able to read the article.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee