Page 20 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
widely rum o red that it was Ivan Boesky, who provided the gift
funds to the JTS , o r perhaps was the actual purchaser who
would later give the manuscripts to JT S .7 T h e re is a likelihood
that the Jewish National and University Library also negotiated
for a private sale, but nothing seems to have come o f it.8
This private sale proved to be a source o f major disagreement
between the Attorney General and Sotheby’s,
et al.
After the
series o f complaints about the sale from the Anti-Defamation
League, the JRSO, and various private persons, the A ttorney
General began an investigation into the propriety o f the sale,
given the questions o f provenance, the unnam ed consignors,
and legal title. A belief apparently emerged that, if the two
prime manuscripts could be sold to an approp ria te Jewish public
institution where they would be available to scholars, then the
opposition by Jewish organizations to auctioning the o ther books
and manuscripts would evaporate. Thus , though the still u n ­
identified consignor was opposed to a private sale, she, later
to be identified as Mrs. Manya Guttmann, was persuaded to
go along. The re is testimony that both the Anti-Defamation
League and the JRSO
did
withdraw their objection to the auction
once the private sale was accomplished. T h e re is disputed tes­
timony about whether the Attorney General was also satisfied.
Sotheby’s and the Guttmanns apparently felt that the Attorney
General’s Office reneged on an agreem en t to allow the auction
to go ahead unimpeded once the private sale took place.
From my research perspective, what made the A ttorney Gen­
eral resume the investigation and his opposition to the sale were
the persistent anti-sale sentiments that were expressed by o ther
Jewish organizations and individuals, most significantly by the
Reform Movement. The JRSO then again supported an anti­
sale stance. Rabbi A lexander Schindler, President o f the Union
o f American Hebrew Congregations, had earlier written to
Sotheby’s that many leading Reform Rabbis in the United States
had studied at the Hochschule in Berlin. The Central Confer­
ence o f American Rabbis was in convention du ring the week
before the sale, and the 500 attendees voted unanimously for
a resolution to “take all necessary steps to stop this sale until
the ownership o f these books and manuscripts is clearly estab­
7. Richard J. Davis,
Affidavit
August 14, 1984, p. 6.
8. Marjorie E. Stone,
Affidavit
June 27, 1984, p. 6.