NS loot returned to association of Catholic religious education teachers – Staatsbibliothek restitutes 67 works

On 27/09/2017, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) hands back 67 titles formerly owned by the "Association of Catholic religious education teachers at the institutions of higher education in Bavaria" to its successor organisation, the "Association of Catholic religious education teachers at the grammar schools in Bavaria" (Verband der katholischen Religionslehrer und Religionslehrerinnen an den Gymnasien in Bayern e. V., KRGB).

The restitutions of the works to the KRGB, represented by Father Erhard Staufer SDB, Director of Studies in the service of the Church, takes place in a festive setting in the reading room of the archive of the Archbishopric of Munich and Freising at 15:00 (address: Karmeliterstrasse 1, entrance Pacellistrasse, 80333 Munich). The association will pass on the books to the Archbishopric of Munich and Freising, represented by Diocesan Chancellor Dr. Sandra Krump, where the works will be preserved in the library of the diocese.

After withstanding the pressure of enforced conformity, the "Gleichschaltung", for as long as possible, the "Verein katholischer Religionslehrer an den höheren Lehranstalten Bayerns", was dissolved by the Nazi regime in 1938 and its possessions were liquidated. The then Bavarian Ministry of Education offered the library of the association to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in 1938. The BSB selected a total of 110 titles, which were incorporated into its collections. On the basis of the preserved acquisition list, 67 titles from this list could be identified among the holdings of the BSB.

Dr. Klaus Ceynowa, Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek: "Our institution is working with great commitment on returning books that were acquired unlawfully during the time of the NS regime to their respective owners. With the public restitution of the stolen works, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek faces up to its responsibility for its involvement in NS injustice."

Father Erhard Staufer SDB, KRGB Regional Chairman, Director of Studies in the service of the Church: "The restitution of the books simultaneously casts a light on our history, which spans almost 120 years now. Looking back into the past is an encouragement at the same time to play an active role in shaping a positive future, opposing with commitment and faith in God any attempts at ideologisation also by means of religious education. For: Then and now, one of our central tasks as religious education teachers has always been helping the lives of young people thrive, without unduly influencing them and making them serve a purpose."

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has been searching actively and initially on its own initiative for Nazi loot among its collections since 2003: Thus, the Thomas Mann Archive in Zurich received 78 volumes from the library of the writer and laureate of the Nobel Prize for literature in 2007. The support by the German Lost Art Foundation has made a big contribution to the progress of research and speedy restitution of items: In 2015 the Plock pontifical, the oldest Polish pontifical, was returned to the Catholic Church in Poland. A short while ago, the BSB together with the Directorate General of the Bavarian State Archives returned 44 works to the descendants of the Munich Orientalist Prof. Karl Süßheim.

Press release for download
Press release  (PDF, 91 KB)

Contact persons

Dr. Stephan Kellner
DBB/ Bavarica Division
Phone:  +49 89 28638-2278

Peter Schnitzlein
Press and Public Relations
Phone:  +49 89 28638-2429

StD i. K. Father Erhard Staufer
SDB KRGB Regional Chairman
Phone:  +49 8331 600-280


About the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek:
Founded in 1558 by Duke Albrecht V, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is an international research library of world renown. With more than 10.3 million volumes, around 59,000 current journals in electronic and printed form and almost 131,000 manuscripts, the library ranks among the world's most important centers of knowledge and heritage institutions. With 1.9 million digitized works, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds the largest digital data stock of all German libraries. The library offers a broad range of services in the field of innovative digital use scenarios.


Journalists are invited to the handover of the works on Wednesday, 27 September, 15:00, in the archive of the Archbishopric (Karmeliterstrasse 1, entrance Pacellistrasse, 80333 Munich), and are kindly asked to register with the press office of the Archbishopric by e-mail to or by calling +49 89 2137-1263.