NS loot in the acquisitions made after 1945
Sponsor: German Lost Art Foundation
German libraries had lost many of their book stocks by the end of the Second World War. In the Saxon State Library (SLB - predecessor of the SLUB) alone, the losses suffered during the war amounted to over 200,000 volumes. Like other libraries, it also endeavoured to supplement its missing stocks: with “abandoned” books and old holdings, which ended up in collection centres or libraries due to measures initiated by the Nazis and due to the events that took place during the war, and which were secured and further distributed by various institutions of the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ) and the GDR at the end of the war.
The extensive inventory reviews during the palace salvage project have led to the discovery that even these stocks, which were accessioned after 1945, contained quite a few items of Nazi loot. This is referred to as secondary loot because it did not come to cultural institutions directly from Nazi authorities or expropriated groups of people until 1945, but was initially sourced from unsuspicious sources such as antiquarian bookshops or other institutions. A good example of this can be demonstrated with the books that originally came from the Kaps and Angel families.
The aim of the project is to examine about 600 suspected cases of secondary Nazi loot that were acquired after 1945. The aim of the research, identification and documentation activities is to identify the heirs or legal successors and subsequent restitution. Research results are documented in the SLUB and the collection "provenance research" in the Deutsche Fotothek, while finds are reported in the Lost Art database.