Lost world, lost lives, and the displacement of a culture

Lost world, lost lives, and the displacement of a culture


– The Lithuanian books,
almost every single one of them has a personal name or
a geographical locator, so I know exactly where they came from. In fact, there are books there that we know the name of
the person who owned it, the town, and a street address. We know where he lived. It’s common or easy to talk
about Holocaust victims who have no names, but here
we actually have a real name. For most of them, we also have stories from people who survived who tell us about those people. To be able to know a single individual who was murdered by the Nazis or to know a group of 20 or 30 of them and have some stories about them, I want to find a way of
honoring their memories. Several years ago Kathy Peiss
and I had a conversation, and she alerted me about the
Offenbach Archival Depot stamp, that there was a stamp that
was put in these books. And I said oh yeah,
I’ve seen some of those. She said well, maybe keep a
list of when you find them. – The books were found in
various repositories in Germany. They had been hidden there. Essentially, there was
an official looting team led by Dr. Rosenberg, Alfred Rosenberg, who took it upon himself to
pillage in an organized way the Jewish libraries
and Jewish institutions in Germany but also in occupied countries. Many of these collections
were easily identified. They had been stolen from
some of the leading libraries and bookstores, and those were
restituted relatively easily. But many of them, millions,
were not easily identifiable, especially those that had
been taken from Eastern Europe where there weren’t people available who could understand the languages or even that many people
who could read Hebrew. And it was this group of books that Jewish cultural reconstruction sought to take control over. Their idea was that these books should go to reconstruct the larger communal culture of a devastated community.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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