Exposing Collections

Whose Piano Is This Anyway? Vienna University Library and the Looted Heritage of the University’s Jewish Luminaries: A Double Case Study

Description: 

This paper presents two intriguing new cases that have recently been under the investigation of Vienna University Library’s NS-provenance research project on the university’s research and teaching collections, namely those of two erstwhile Jewish professors at the University of Vienna and distinguished players in the social networks of the fin-de- siècle Jewish elite: Guido Adler (1855 – 1941), musicologist of world repute, and Berthold Hatschek (1854 – 1941), innovative and influential zoologist. Caught up in the ever increasing anti-Semitic terror of the interwar years, both died in loneliness and misery within a month of the year 1941. Their multifaceted and widely scattered material legacies, which include private libraries, archival bequest, and teaching objects alike, have turned up in the holdings of the university at various points in time during its postwar history. The account given of these case studies will include positive and negative research results, the quest for heirs, and restitution.

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The “Schocken-Bücherei” in the Collections of the Leo Baeck Institute New York

Description: 

The Schocken-Bücherei was one of the signature publications of the Schocken Verlag during the Third Reich - a high quality book series published in 92 counted volumes between 1933 and 1939 with a representative selection of literary texts by mainly Jewish and a few non-Jewish authors. The Schocken-Bücherei became a strong symbol for finding a cultural Jewish expression as well as spiritual and moral resistance in a time of peril and persecution. The presentation focuses on observations and reflections about the Schocken-Bücherei in estates and bequests from book collections of German-speaking Jewish emigrants to the Leo Baeck Institute New York. This material culture study joins the growing awareness among digital collections, repositories, collectors, and the scholarly community about the importance of individual books as objects which tell unique stories parallel to the life stories of their owners, often intertwined with the content of the books.

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Bringing a Jewish Community to Light Through Oral History: A Librarian-Archivist Collaboration

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The first scholarly article on the Jewish community of Staten Island, NY was based largely on an oral history collection maintained by the Archives and Special Collections in the Library of the College of Staten Island (CSI), CUNY. The recent publication was written by a CSI Librarian who worked closely with the archivist on this research project that was many years in the making. The librarian will discuss her collaboration with the archivist, which included securing funding to digitize the original cassette tapes. The digitization initiative not only preserved the archival materials and made them more accessible, but proved to be instrumental for the author to complete her study. The author-librarian will review the process of using the oral history collection to shed light on a community that had never received academic treatment and will address how this hidden collection was made discoverable to researchers.

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