Conference Proceeding: Abba Balosher's Library as a Model of Pre-War Lithuanian Institutions

In pre-World War II Kaunas, Abba Balosher (1869-1944), an intellectual and a scholar, managed a private library and distributed books in eight languages. He kept contacts with many book dealers and publishing houses overseas which make his library unique and expendable. The spirit of Balosher’s library has matched the sense of the independent Lithuanian democratic society – intellectual and open-minded, not limited by languages and geographical borders.

Efforts were made to save Balosher’s library during the Nazi occupation. More than 9,000 volumes were sent to the National Library of Lithuania. However, the most valuable Hebrew books and manuscripts were prepared for transport to Germany, while the rest of Yiddish and Hebrew books were burned or sent to the paper mill. Until last year, the librarians at the National Library of Lithuanua and Balosher’s relatives were confident that all Jewish books from Balosher’s library were destroyed during the Nazi occupation. In 2017, the librarians at the National Library of Lithuania found a collection of Yiddish and Hebrew books in some storage facilities. The presentation will provide information about this finding and will also emphasize the attempts taken by the Lithuanian intellectuals to save the Jewish library.

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