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>Württembergische Landesbibliothek>The WLB>Provenance Research

Searching for Looted Books in the Württemberg State Library

From 2016 to 2019 the Württemberg State Library, as the first library in Baden-Württemberg, has searched its inventory systematically for looted books from the Nazi era. The three year project was equally financed by the Stiftung Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste and the Ministry of Science, Research and Art Baden-Württemberg. The findings have been presented on conferences, they were registered in data bases as well as published in articles and on the library homepage.

During an air raid in September 1944 the Württemberg State Library was largely destroyed and nearly all items/books from the inventory that had not yet been stored elsewhere were lost. Among those were mainly acquisitions of the years before 1944. Determining today whether there were looted books among the ones destroyed is rather difficult if not impossible.

Soon after the destruction of the library the inventory was started being rebuilt with antiquarian books. Part of these books, which are in the library’s possession to date, have been examined for evidence of previous owners, i.e. provenance markers. Altogether a total more than 90.000 books have been screened during the project.

The findings have been documented in a specifically created data base and they have been imported in/connected with the relevant supraregional catalogues/indices/registers/data bases (e.g. Lost-Art-Datenbank, Provenienz-Wiki) as well as the SWB-Verbundkatalog.


Project Management:
Dr. Hans-Christian Pust
Tel.: +49 711 13798-560

Sponsored by:

Last update: 22.11.2023   © 2022 WLB
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