Palace salvage

Duration: 2009-2013
Sponsor: State Ministry of Science and Cultural Affairs of Saxony

The first comprehensive SLUB project on illegally expropriated book stocks was the search for the so-called palace salvage items in the books acquired between the years 1945 and 1990. In total, about 215,000 works, whose year of publication was prior to 1945, were recorded and the provenance features contained in them were documented.

“Palace salvages” are associated with the “land reform” carried out in 1945/46 in the SBZ and later GDR, where large landowners, who owned more than 100 acres of land, and owners of small agricultural enterprises, who were classified as war criminals and NSDAP members, were expropriated without compensation. This measure also affected members of the Saxon nobility to a great extent. Some families were ousted from their former estates, while some others were interned. The remaining cultural assets were collected by the state government of Saxony and distributed to cultural institutions.

As a result of the project, it was possible to document and restitute the remains of numerous aristocratic libraries in Saxony.