Page 20 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 15

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12
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
to the library of the Central Committee of the Liberated Jews in
Germany, the writer saw in Munich part of the library of Professor
Moshe Schorr of Warsaw.)
When the ERR selected books for shipment to Germany, the
rejected books were usually destroyed on the spot. The following
directives were issued in February, 1943, by Dr. Cruse, of the
Section of Acquisition and Examination: Books in Hebrew script
(Hebrew or Yiddish) of recent date, later than the year 1800, may
be turned to pulping; this applies also to prayer books,
Memor-
bucher
, and other religious works in the German language. All
writings, on the other hand, which deal with the history, culture
and nature of Judaism, as well as books written by Jewish authors
in languages other than Hebrew and Yiddish, must be shipped to
Frankfurt.
The Frankfurt Institute apparently had no interest in acquiring
Torah Scrolls. One ERR official suggested, “Perhaps the leather
can be put to use for bookbinding.” Many scrolls were in fact
used in Nazi-occupied areas for binding books and for manu­
facturing shoes, pocket books, belts, and other leather products.
The coveted goal of establishing a great Judaic library for the
Frankfurt Institute was nearing achievement. A comprehensive
report stated that, as of April 1, 1943, more than a half million
valuable Jewish volumes had already been assembled there, and
many additional thousands were at various points awaiting
transportation.
A serious competitor of the ERR in the collection of books was
the Reich Chief Security Office in Berlin. Its first chief was the
notorious Professor Franz Alfred Six. A prolific writer, SS general
and head of the Department of Foreign Studies in the University
of Berlin, he had been in charge of one of the murderous
Einsatz-
gruppen
(Nazi extermination squads) in Eastern Europe in 1941.
S. S. Sturmfuehrer Dr. Guenther was head librarian, and Dr.
Kellner, an unfrocked priest, controlled the Jewish collection. The
library “collected” more than 2,000,000 books in the fields of
religion, Marxism, Freemasonry, and Jewish studies. In the fall
of 1941, the Reich Security Office ordered the Association of Jews
in Germany
(Reichsvereinigung der Juden in 'Deutschland')
to pro­
duce eight scholars qualified to deal with the Jewish books.
Headed by Dr. Ernst Grumach, this staff was eventually increased
to twenty-five (all of whom survived). When the evacuation of
Berlin was ordered in August, 1943, many of the books were
transported to castles in Czechoslovakia; some 60,000 Hebrew and
Yiddish books were sent to
Theresienstadt.
Here a group of Jewish
Ghetto inmates led by Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, the
Juden-
altester
of the Ghetto, was put in charge of cataloguing the col­