Page 111 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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A grim opportun ity for the growth o f the library presen ted
itself at the end o f World War II. While the Nazis slaughtered
millions of Jews and p lundered the Jewish libraries o f Europe,
they had saved the Jewish books. When the .var was over and
these volumes were discovered they were divided among the
large and small libraries o f Judaica and Hebraica in Israel and the
United States. While the chief inheritor was the National and
University Library o f Jerusalem , the Hebrew College was also
designated as an ‘he ir.’
During 1950/51, the Library received over 3,000 volumes from
the Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Committee, which was re ­
sponsible fo r d istribu ting books to American institutions o f
higher learning. In this manner, the library acquired the com­
plete pedagogical library o f the V erein Israelitischer Reli-
gionslehrer o f Frankfurt-am-Main, one o f the few complete Jew ­
ish institutional collections to be saved. In addition to educational
materials, this library was rich in liturgical works, literature o f the
19th and 20th centuries, biblical commentaries and books on the
development o f Juda ism and comparative religion.
T h rough the efforts o f the late philosopher and writer, Dr.
H annah A rendt, who was executive secretary o f the Reconstruc­
tion Committee, the library also received over 100 sets o f period i­
cals in H eb rew an d G erm an . Com p le te sets, such as
Babylonische Talmud,
and many rare items from the press o f Anton
Schmidt o f Vienna were also added.
In 1951-1952, the College moved from Boston to a more
central and suitable location at its p resen t site in Brookline. The
enlarged quarters allowed the library to make its collection more
easily available.
During the 1950’s the Library was able to acquire some notable
additions to its collection. On a trip to Israel in 1958, Dr. Eisig
Silberschlag, dean o f the College, purchased the second in-
cunabulum owned by the library. This was the commentary of
Maimonides on
Mishnayot Nezikin,
containing his famous Eight
Chapters, the In troduc tion to Abot. O ther items acquired were
the rare
Megillat Setarim,
a mystical work by Rabbi Samuel Motot,
a 14th century Spanish commentator, published in Venice, 1554,
a commentary on the T o rah by Rabbi Abraham
Saba, 15th century rabbi of Castile, published in Venice, 1556.