Academy for Jewish Studies

When holdings were examined that had come to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek from the former NS education center Ordensburg Sonthofen, three volumes were found which belonged to an originally twelve-piece Talmud translation by Lazarus Goldschmidt. The stamps of the previous owner indicated the "Lehranstalt für die Wissenschaft des Judentums" (school for Jewish studies).

The Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums (academy for Jewish studies) was founded in 1872 by the Rabbi and scholar Abraham Geiger (1810 – 1874) and others for dedication to the spirit of the academic freedom of Jewish tradition. During the seven decades of its existence, important Jewish religious scholars were active there, such as Leo Baeck (1873 – 1956) and Ismar Elbogen (1874 – 1943), and hundreds of Rabbis and religious education teachers were professionally trained there. Despite repression by the National Socialists, teaching could be continued at the academy that had been downgraded to a "Lehranstalt" (school) in 1933 up to June 1942. The academy was then closed by the National Socialists and its library was seized.

Abraham Geiger  (data set in the common authority file, GND)
Leo Baeck  (data set in the common authority file, GND)
Ismar Elbogen  (data set in the common authority file, GND)

The volumes ascertained at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek were presumably taken to the Nazi Ordensburg immediately after their confiscation, where they were incorporated into the holdings of the main library in 1943. In 1946, the holdings of the Sonthofen library were taken to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek on the order of the American military government, with the library taking over part of them into its collections. The three looted volumes could be identified at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek with the aid of acquisition lists and could be allocated uniquely to the academy on the basis of the ownership stamps.

The academy for Jewish studies was not re-established after 1945. However, the Abraham Geiger College seated at the University of Potsdam regards itself as the successor institution of the academy. Moreover, it is the first seminary for Rabbis and cantors in continental Europe since the Shoah. Part of the former library is preserved at the Leo Baeck College in London today, which was co-founded by numerous former employees of the Berlin academy in 1956.

Abraham Geiger College

On 9 December 2015, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek restituted the books to the Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam. The restituted titles continue to be shown in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue. They have been provided with a corresponding note of provenance, which is displayed under "mehr zum Titel" (more title information). They can be searched in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue by inputting "BSB-Provenienz: Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums" using the "Einfache Suche" search option.

BSB-Provenienz: Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums  (display in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue)