Provenance Research

 P1070179In the collections of the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation Library are books that came from stocks of Nazi-looted cultural goods. Attributes such as bookplates, stamps, autographs and dedications indicate the former owners of the books. Among them are individuals and institutions that were persecuted between 1933 and 1945 and forced by the Nazis for political and / or “racial” reasons to leave these books behind before emigration or deportation.


These books arrived in the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation Library — mainly Judaica in German, Hebrew and Yiddish — in the early 1990s through transfers from the Berlin Central and Regional Library and the Berlin State Library to the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation, as a way of helping support the establishment of the Stiftung library. A smaller portion of these books had been donated by citizens who found them, for example during renovation work in attics or during the dissolution of their grandparents’ household effects, and subsequently gave them to the Foundation.

The project is funded by the Berlin Senat Department for Culture and Europe





Four institutions under one roof


P1110907Nazi-looted cultural goods — more precisely, looted cultural goods and war booty seized through Nazi persecution — should be understood as items that the Nazi Regime took from their rightful owners for reasons of persecution in the years 1933 to 1945. (FAQ)

These books came in libraries in many different ways. In various institutions, the library holdings are checked, identified and documented for items stolen and looted by the Nazis. The aim of the work is the return (restitution) of books as well as to find a fair and equitable solution for the rightful owners or their heirs. The results are entered in the shared Looted Cultural Assets database and made searchable.

Gallery Provenance Research

The database currently contains more than 31,000 provenances and information’s about more than 8.000 individuals. Due to our close cooperation in the investigation of individual finds, the institutions involved are adopting a new way for libraries to bring justice to their mandates. The Badische Landesbibliothek, the Foundation New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Library, the Institute for the History of the German Jews Hamburg, the Freie Universität Berlin University Library, the Potsdam University Library, and the Berlin Central and Regional Library (partners) want to sustainably secure and develop the networking of institutions. With this basic idea of Looted Cultural Assets, suggestions for supporting our work and getting involved are welcome.

Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin-
Centrum Judaicum
Stephan M. Kummer
Oranienburger Straße 28/30
10117 Berlin

Tel. +49(30) 88028 415
Fax: +49(30) 88028 483