ARCHIVES AND WAR

The Great War: World War I in the Collections of the Yeshiva University Libraries

Description: 

The activity of the Jewish community and individual Jews during World War I - on both sides of the conflict - is reflected in archival collections, rare items, books, documents and ephemera held in the Yeshiva University Libraries, particularly in its Special Collections. This will be an illustrated presentation utilizing material from the collections and will discuss a variety of topics related to World War I, such as relief work organized by the American Jewish community for its brethren overseas and publications issued specifically for Jewish soldiers and distributed during the conflict.

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Bibliocaust Survivors: The Fate of the Jewish Book Collections in Poland after 1945

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The Second World War brought to an end a thousand-years existence of Polish Jews and their cultural heritage. From over 748 secular Jewish libraries and unnumbered religious and private book collections that existed in Poland before 1939, only fragments remained. Usually, little attention is paid to these Bibliocaust survivors, but like other cultural assets stolen by the Nazis, they have a particular memory value. Using the example of the Esra Public Library and Reading Room, which existed in Cracow for 40 years (1899-1939), Monika will present the fate of the Jewish book collections after 1945, map their dispersion, and briefly describe the research strategy in rediscovering looted books.

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Theft and Recovery: The Fate of Rosa Manus’ Feminist Archive in the Context of Nazi Looting of Archives and Libraries in the Netherlands

Description: 

In 1935, Rosa Manus (1881-1942) and two other Dutch feminists founded the International Archives for the Women’s Movement (IAV) in Amsterdam. It contained Manus’s collection from her work in international suffrage and the collection of physician Aletta Jacobs (l854-1929). The archives’ core was material collected by these two Dutch Jewish women. After the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, soldiers stole the collection. Manus was arrested in 1941 and gassed in 1942. In 1992, a Dutch scholar spotted some of the stolen materials in an archive in Moscow. Russian soldiers had seized the papers and shipped them there. After much frustration and diplomacy, in 2003, a significant portion of the original collection was returned to ATRIA, a feminist archive in Amsterdam that continues Manus’s project. The theft and partial return of this archive will be considered in the context of other Nazi thefts from progressive and Jewish libraries and archives in the Netherlands.

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