Page 204 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
the Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary library. His pleasant
manner o f speech and refined ways earned him the trust o f the
widows o f bibliophiles and scholars who were ready to sell him
the collections left by their husbands.
During the postwar years Jerusalem was a haven for valuable
and important books, and became a world center for the Hebrew
book trade. Preferred customers received special treatment,
beyond the usual consideration given to buyers. Whenever new
cases o f books were received from Europe, Wahrmann would
invite me in the evening hours to his warehouse, often together
with my friend the late A.M. Habermann who represented the
Schocken Library, and would allow us to take first peek. The
clever dealer would observe us closely, and our expressions o f
excitement and surprise over the beauty and value o f some o f the
volumes would guide him in setting their prices. Wahrmann’s
generosity and sensitivity enabled me to enrich my collection with
items that were not listed in his regular catalogues.
Another bookseller who was also among the most prominent
and respected in his time was Lipa Schwager. Before coming to
Palestine he issued catalogues in Husiatin, Galicia, and in Vienna,
in which he listed old manuscripts, some written on parchment,
as well as important printed works. Libraries and well known col­
lectors would rush their orders so as not to be preceded by others.
More thanjust a businessman, Lipa Schwager was a discoverer o f
treasures. In his travels he reached distant Jewish settlements
throughout the world, such as the inhabitants o f cities and vil­
lages in Yemen and the “cave dwellers” o f North Africa. His was
the privilege o f bringing to light Jewish cultural treasures and
making them available to a wide public. He lovingly and devot­
edly traced the wanderings o f the Spanish Jewish exiles in order
to find manuscripts and incunabula which had accompanied
them.
A disciple o f the Husiatin Rebbe, Lipa Schwager was o f an
excitable nature and somewhat slovenly in his ways. He remained
faithful to his customers and kept in friendly contact with them. I
recall vividly that once he came to my home late at night, when he
was already old and weak, in order to offer me a number o f
important volumes which he had just obtained.
Lipa Schwager was eminent in his field, and his love o f manu­
scripts and old books was boundless. Two days prior to his death I
visited him in a Tel-Aviv hospital. His mind was still lucid and his