The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Transfers of Selected Judaica Collections from Europe to Mandatory Palestine and Israel: Focus on Post-War Years in Czechoslovakia (1945-1949)

The Czech participation in the salvage operation of the Jewish looted books in the post-war years: focus on the transfers of selected Jewish book collections from Czechoslovakia to Mandatory Palestine and Israel from 1945 till 1949

Chaos of post-war Europe, millions of refugees migrated, the world learns about the irreparable crimes and in these conditions, at the same time opens a space for book collections that do not have more of the owner. The owner did not survive, but the book yes.The war transfers of 60 000 looted books from Berlin to Theresienstadt library, the post war transfers of the Theresienstadt library to another depositories in Czechoslovakia shows an interest of many parties. In 1945 comes to Prague a special committee of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, led by Professor Gershom Scholem, which has the task to determine the situation of Jewish books. It is not just the Hebrew University, but also the National Library of the United States, Joint and Sochnut have considerable interests in the vast cultural heritage, which in Europe still remained. The Hebrew University is the main partner in the negotiations, also has the status of a National University Library (in the years 1945 to 1947 still talking about Palestine, before the creation of the State of Israel), but the legal position of the parties negotiating the creation of the State of Israel is changing. Czechoslovakia legally amended the advent of Communism and Nationalization act. The Law on Nationalization of the entire action speeds up already in 1949 and ends the unique possibility of the transfers from Czechoslovakia.The background of the event of transfers of books, timeline in the Czech – Israeli relations and the story of their actors as Hugo Bergmann, Artur Bergmann and Zeev Scheck, allows us to understand the other nuances of human behavior through the book ownership.