The volume of the Belorussian collection of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek can be merely estimated. It amounts to approximately 20,000 monographs, among them around 6,000 works in the Belorussian language. The collection is complemented in targeted manner by around 300 to 400 works per year, in particular from the fields of history, politics, regional studies, language and literature. Among these, only around 45 percent are constituted by works in the Belorussian language, which is owed to the predominant Belorussian-Russian bilingualism of the country. The monographs of the collection are complemented by around 200 current periodicals. The focus of the collection is still on printed works, but an increasing number of publications become available in electronic form as well. There are a smaller number of microfilm recordings, reprints and facsimile editions of predominantly older works, but also further relevant resources such as maps, images, etc. The majority of the Albaruthenica held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek was produced in the 20th century or later.
The earliest Albaruthenicum at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek dates back to the late 17th century. Some works originally written at this time are also present as reproductions, published at a significantly later time. With regard to the total of publications, the hitherto predominantly religious writings were complemented increasingly by works on scholarly topics. The books are partly only marginally related to Belarus with regard to subject, also as a result of the Belorussian territories forming part of other states for the majority of their history and thus not constituting the direct focus of contemporary interest.
- The earliest printed Albaruthenicum held by the library is the description of the then Grand Duchy of Lithuania (with its Belorussian territories) from the series "Theatrum Cosmographico-historicum", which was printed in Augsburg in 1686 (published in 1688).
Theatrum Cosmographico-historicum oder der Welt-Currier / 3: begreiffende, etwelche neue sonderbahre traurig- und fröhliche Begebenheiten, mit eigentlicher Vorstellung deß Groß-Fürsten-Thumbs Littaw, und dessen durch selbiges lauffenden grossen Wasser-Stroms Chronons, Niemen oder Memmel. Augspurg, 1868.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: Hbks/F 105 kd-1/4
- The oldest original print produced on the territory of today’s Belarus forming part of the collection of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is the rather little noticed work "Robert oder der letzte Wille. Ein Seitenstück über den Umgang mit Menschen" ("Robert or the last will. An aside about interaction with people", 1807). It is uncertain whether the book was actually printed in Grodno, or whether Grodno (near Leipzig) is merely the location of a further office of the responsible publishing house "Petrowitzsch".
- The story of the "fake" abbess of the Basilian order in Minsk, Makryna Mieczysłavska, was widely spread in France. A detailed presentation was dedicated to her in France.
- The bipartite novel "Dwa Bogi, dwie drogi" of the Polish writer and nationalist Józef Ignacy Kraszevski was printed in Minsk in 1881.
- On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Gogol’s Rezivor, the literature-critical address "O poėzii Gogolja" by L. O. Dobrovol’skij was published in Mogilev in 1886.
- A book by the Belorussian historian and expert on regional studies Aljaksej P. Sapunaŭ of 1889 sheds a light on the history of the Eparchy of Polotzk from the beginnings to the 19th century.
- A compilation of regional features, among others churches, cities and ethnic groups in the then Russian governorate of Vitebsk was published in Vitebsk in 1891.
- In 1894, the "Očerki dalekoj Sibiri" by the Russian explorer Izmail I. Gamov was published in Gomel.
- The Russian geographer Ivan Petrovič Kornilov wrote a travel report on western Russia in the 19th century (including Belarus) in 1895.
Robert oder der letzte Wille: ein Seitenstück über den Umgang mit Menschen von Adolph Freyh. v. Knigge. Grodno; Leipzig, 1807.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: Ph.pr. 1023
Mieczysławska, Makryna: Recit de Mieczyslawska abbesse des Basiliennes de Minsk, ou histoire d'une persecution de sept ans, suivi d'un appendice sur les souffrances de 97 prêtres échappés de la Sibérie. Louvain et Aix-la-Chapelle, 1846.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: Biogr. 1283,42
Dobrovolʹskij, L. O.: O poėzii Gogolja. Mogilev na Dněprě, 1886.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: P.o.russ. 84 a
Sapunoŭ, Aljaksej P.: Istoričeskija sudʹby Polockoj eparchii s drevnějšich vremen do poloviny XIX věka. Vitebsk, 1889.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: H.eccl. 3191 r
Ottiski vidov chramov, svjaščennych predmetov, gorodov Sěvero-Zapadnago kraja, narodnych tipov Vitebskoj gubernii i predmetov drevnosti. Vitebsk, 1891.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: 38.2290
Gamov, Izmail I.: Očerki dalekoj Sibiri. Gomel', 1894.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: H.as. 4616 h
Kornilov, Ivan P.: Putevyja zamětki. Vitebsk, 1895.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: It.sing. 1498 m
Works in the modern Belorussian language arise as a consequence of the gradual "national awakening" of the Belarusians (within the then Russian Empire) as of the late 19th century, with larger numbers being produced even only after the Russian Revolution of 1905. Already at the end of the 1920s, these possibilities of cultural development were suppressed by the new Soviet rulers in favour of a far-reaching Russification. The originals from this Belorussian phase of creation, frequently from the field of fiction, are consequently rare and precious today. The corresponding authors are represented in the library’s collections partly by original editions and throughout by reproductions.
- The oldest work in the Belorussian language held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is the original edition (1918) of the famous "Belorussian school grammar book" by Branislaŭ Adamavič Taraškevič, the founder of the Taraškievica, the classical Belorussian orthography, which is preferred as the written form of the Belorussian language still today predominantly by intellectuals. The grammar book, published in parallel in the Belorussian and in the Russian language, is considered ground-breaking for the development of the young language.
- The collection also includes a number of works, among them an early edition of complete works, of Zmitrok Bjadulja, whose books were banned from Soviet libraries in the 1930s. The novel "Jazep Krušynski" is available also in digitized form.
- The BSB holds a four-volume edition of complete works of 1929 of Ciška Hartny (civil name Smicer Šylunovič), a former culture functionary, who committed suicide while incarcerated by the Communists in 1937.
- Platon Ramanavič Halavač, a former member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and of the Belorussian writers’ association, fell victim to Stalin’s "purges" in 1937. The library owns the second edition (1931) of his writing "Vinavaty" of 1930, among other things.
Taraškevič, Branislaŭ A.: Biełaruskaja hramatyka dla škoł. Wilnia, 1918.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: L.rel. 2608
A Russian edition of the grammar:
Taraškevič, Branislaŭ A.: Belaruskaja gramatyka dlja škol. Vydanne 3. Vilʹnja, 1920.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: L.rel. 2602 e
Hartny, Ciška: Zbor tvoraŭ. Mensk, Volume 1 ( 1930) – 4 (1932).
Digital version: Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: P.o.russ. 21 w-1 | P.o.russ. 21 w-2 | P.o.russ. 21 w-3 | P.o.russ. 21 w-4
Halavač, Platon Ramanavič: Vinavaty. Vydanne 2. Mensk, 1931.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: P.o.russ. 44 k
The increased cultural freedom enjoyed by minorities during the last years of the Russian Tsardom and partly also in the Soviet Union is witnessed also by a number of works in the Yiddish language held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Such writings ultimately fostered the development of modern Yiddish literature. Even the Soviets discovered the Yiddish language for their own propaganda. These works today are an eloquent testimony to a culture of which almost all traces were erased during the Second World War.
- The BSB holds the work "Tzwišen tzwei berg" (1905) of the Polish-Jewish writer Icchok Leib Perec, one of the founders of modern Yiddish literature, which was printed in the Yiddish language in Minsk.
- The multi-part "Kleine dertzeilungen" (1906) authored by the Polish-Jewish writer and dramatist Sholem Asch were likewise published in Minsk.
- The Zamelbuch "Kultur" (collective volume "culture"), which was directed to a broad public among the Jews in Belarus, contains a multiplicity of stories and general cultural and scholarly information for the reader in the Yiddish language.
- Lenin’s writings were partly also published in the Yiddish language in order to reach the corresponding groups of the population. In 1926, only a short time after the death of the party leader, the work "Wegn kooperatzie" was published in Minsk.
- In 1929, the Jewish Department of the Belorussian Academy of Sciences in Minsk published a statistical material collection on the Jews of the Belorussian Soviet Republic in Yiddish.
Perec, Icchok Leib: Tzwišen tzwei berg, a śimḥes-toire'dige maiśe ; dertzeilṭ fun alṭen melamed. Minsk, 1905.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: A.hebr. 1362 l
Asch, Sholem: Kleine dertzeilungen. Minsk, part 1 (1906) – 7 (1906).
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: A.hebr. 1360 o-1/7
Zamelbuch „Kulṭur”. Minsk, 1905.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: A.hebr. 1469 q
Lenin, Vladimir Ilʹič: Wegn kooperatzie. Minsk, 1926.
Print version in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue, call number: A. hebr. 1629 r
Kunz, Norbert: Weißrussland-Publikationen und ihre Bedeutung an der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München. In: Auf dem Weg zu einem neuen Selbstverständnis: Bibliotheken als kulturelle und soziale Zentren; 42. ABDOS-Tagung, Minsk, 28. bis 30. August 2013; Referate und Beiträge. Berlin, 2014. p. 24-37. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preussischer Kulturbesitz: Veröffentlichungen der Osteuropa-Abteilung. 41.
[BSB call number: 4 AD 2014.668]