JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen (Netherlands) Amsterdam's Jewish Library Ets Haim--World's Oldest Functional Jewish Library #general

Jan Meisels Allen

Ets Haim, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is the world's oldest functional
Jewish library. Its origins were >from Sephardic Jews in 1639, many who fled
the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal funded a school and meeting place for
their newfound religious freedom, which today is Ets Haim. In 1675 it moved
to the Portuguese Synagogue and 200 years later the librarian of the time
donated his 20,000 books, manuscripts and illustrations to Ets Haim. During
Nazi occupation the library contents were shipped to Germany, but today they
are back in Amsterdam with approximately 30,000 printed works dating back
to 1484 and 500 mansucripts dating back to 1282!

Ets Haim has been digitizing its manuscript for ease of accessibility. Go
to: and select a category such as
"Jewish question and Inquisition" or "History" or other categories to view
the manuscript. This is a work in progress so not all 500 manuscripts are
fully digitized.

To read more about Ets Haim manuscripts see:

To read about Ets Haim see:

Original url:

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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