History of Libraries Research Seminar

Bombs on Books: Germany’s lost libraries of WWII

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Tue, 5th May 2015 - 5:30pm to 7:30pm

This series of research seminars, which are freely open for anyone to attend, has been organised by the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and are jointly sponsored by the Institute of English Studies, the Institute of Historical Research and CILIP's Library and Information History Group.

Seminar convenors: Giles Mandelbrote (Lambeth Palace Library); Dr. Keith A. Manley (National Trust); Professor Simon Eliot (Institute of English Studies); Professor Isabel Rivers (Queen Mary); Raphaële Mouren (Warburg Institute).

Speaker: Dr Jan L. Alessandrini (University of St. Andrews)

Questions concerning the rescue, reconstruction, and restitution of libraries during (and after) WWII continue to fox book historians. This paper focuses on the administrative and practical measures undertaken by German libraries that suffered some of the worst damages, including Hamburg, Lübeck and Rostock, to rescue rare books from deliberate destruction. Furthermore, it investigates the reconstruction that took place in the immediate aftermath of WWII, whilst tracing the displacement of books taken as trophies of war. Finally, this paper tackles the (thorny) issue of restitution, considering Cold War relationships, transnational policies implemented to return lost books after the thaw in the 1990s, as well as the technological initiatives that are making rediscovered materials available again to wider audiences.

Seminars are open to all. Advance booking is not necessary.



Warburg Institute

Woburn Square
WC1H 0AB London

United Kingdom

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