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Help us finding the books of the Higher Institute of Jewish Studies!

The murders, the destruction, the cruelty of National Socialism – we cannot undo them. But we can influence how the story is told, who gets to tell it and what of it survives. The books reveal part of this history. Their content gives us information about the debates of their time. The traces they contain allow us to keep the paths and fates of their owners alive. They help us to highlight and deal with the injustice that has occurred.

Digression

Citizen Science

Citizen science describes the voluntary engagement of members of the public in research activities.

Whilst previous subject knowledge is not necessary to participate, the researcher needs to prepare the design of the study meticulously to ensure that the results adhere to academic standards.

Many academic studies would simply not be possible without the involvement of voluntary contributors: together, we can raise more data than a single person could ever aspire to. Or, in our case, we can find more books.

Your contribution to address a Nazi-crime
The Nazis wanted to own histriography. The stole books, reinterpreted them and locked them away from the public. Even though their attempt was not successful in the end, the property they stole is now dispersed all over the world. It is precisely for this reason that the act of finding books in order to make them accesible to the public again can be seen as resistance. Your contribution to fighting Nazi-crimes today can take place at a library, an antiques bookstore, or on your next city trip. Together, we can search for the books at a diverse range of places so we can reconstruct the library of the Higher Institute for Jewish studies in a virtual space.

The Library of Lost Books
The Nazis wanted to own histriography. The stole books, reinterpreted them and locked them away from the public. Even though their attempt was not successful in the end, the property they stole is now dispersed all over the world. It is precisely for this reason that the act of finding books in order to make them accesible to the public again can be seen as resistance. Your contribution to fighting Nazi-crimes today can take place at a library, an antiques bookstore, or on your next city trip. Together, we can search for the books at a diverse range of places so we can reconstruct the library of the Higher Institute for Jewish studies in a virtual space.

Go on a book search – this is how it’s done!

#1
Check out our map for promising places

After the war, the books of the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies were distributed, but they did not necessarily remain at the same place. They were – probably legally – handed from one institute to another. Today, they could be in libraries at universities, municipal libraries, flee markets, antiques bookstores, or in an attic; anywhere in Germany, the Czech Republic, Britain, Israel, the USA or anywhere else in the world. The one thing we can be certain of is that the books could be anywhere in the world.

There are, however, some places that are more promising than others: places where books have already been found. In these places, not all holdings have been searched yet.

Our inteactive map helps you to find promising locations close to you. If you click on “places today”, you will see all places where books from the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies have been found. If you are looking for a challenge though, you could also check at the interstations. The rule of thumb is that any place were books have been found in the recent past could hold more of them. The map can help you with this, too.
Where does your search start?

To the map

#2
Prepare for your booksearch

Of course you could search spontaneously for books, for example on a city-trip to Prague. Browse antiques bookstores, flea markets. Turn your search into a little adventure. Or check out your family‘s libraries. In any case, you should take our Check-list with you.

To the checklist

If you decide to go to a local library close to you, check out their access requirements.

Many libraries will ley you do a search without a formal registration, however, others will not let you in without a reader’s registration. The best way to prepare is to go to the library’s website ahead of your visit.

It also makes sense to ask if the books are open access or whether you have to order the volumes to the reading room. Once they are on your desk, you know what to do!

Off you go to the library! And if you have any more questions, we are certain that our colleagues on site will be more than happy to help.

#3
Confine your search

No matter whether you are standing in front of a box of books at the flea market or doing a search in the catalogue at your local library – how do you start searching through all of these books?

Look for specific publications
Based upon several sources, we already know some of the books that were part of the Higher Institute’s collection. You can find those in our list of lost books. In case you are searching the online catalogue at a library now, you can simply copy paste the titles into the search mask. And find real treasures sitting at your desk.

To the book list

Check the publication date
The books we are looking for have all been published before 1942.

Look for specific topics
We know a wide range of topics that were subject to research at the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies. And therefore, you could also focus your search on books engaging with these themes. The research topics addressed at the Hochschule were complex and diverse. Therefore, we have added them to a topical overview in a simplified format.

To the list of topics

ATTENTION: At the places that we are aware of, there are evidently some books that have already been added to our virtual library. If you want to search beyond our list of lost books, check first if the book is already logged into our database. Simply use our search engine. Can you find the title in our library? If so, have a look if there is any information you could add to the entry.

To the library

#4
On your books, get set, go – with our checklist!

Found any promising books? Let’s check them out. This is where the search for traces begins: because the books from the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies have quite a few markers that are relevant here!

Adventure-Test Version
In this book you can go on a digital expedition. Keep your eyes peeled, find hints and explore the story behind them:

For the real search, you need to be prepared for many more traces. We have summarised them for you in a checklist. It’s your most important companion. Take it with you and go through it book by book!

to the Checklist
#5
Share your find with us

No matter whether you are 100% certain that you have found a book from the Higher Institute for Jewish studies or whether you simply belong to a small group of enthusiasts – document your find! Take pictures of the book and all traces you found therein on site. One thing is 100% certain:

our historians greatly value your work and will get back to you. Use our lost and found office to share all information about the item you found and upliad your pictures.

To the lost and found

  • 1

    Document your find!

  • 2

    Cross-reference it with our virtual library!

  • 3

    Use our lost and found office to upload

Click me!

Have you found another exciting book?

Have you found another book that suspiciously looks like it was looted, but that is not part of the Higher Institute’s library? The Hochschule was amongst many Jewish institutions that was robbed by the Nazis. Maybe you will find a stamp from the Jewish seminary in Breslau or other items… Any book that we can find today helps us to addressing a Nazi crime. Report it to our lost and found office in any case.

To the lost and found

Post from the Library of Lost Books

With our newsletter we keep you up to date about events in your city, finds and stories about our book search.

to the newsletter

Any further questions?

We won’t leave you hanging in your search! You might find some helpful answers right here. Otherwise, please feel free to send us an email or reach out through our contact form.

Contact us

Provenance research FAQ

Citizen Science FAQ