Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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to trial was voluminous and largely repetitive. Two items that
were picked up by the press and should be mentioned here
were: 1) the disturbing fact tha t the books were unavailable to
scholarship for over forty years and 2) Dr. Gottschalk’s assertion
in an interview first repo rted on August 23, 1984, tha t the
JRSO, which had long acted as the legal recipient o f post-war
ownerless Jewish p roperty, was the approp ria te instrum en t for
handling the Hochschule collection.19 T h e Guttmann affair
then largely d isappeared from public view as preparations p ro ­
ceeded for the trial that was set for Ju n e 24, 1985.
The case did not go to trial. A settlement was publicly hinted
at on Ju n e 23, 1985,20 and stipulations for a settlement were
made public by the Court on July 16. Briefly, the terms en ­
compass the following: 1) the Jewish Restoration Successor O r ­
ganization was to be appointed as a Referee, first to advise which
books and manuscripts should be recalled from their purchasers
at auction (with certain guidelines from the Court) and second,
to propose a plan for the distribution to public institutions o f
the re tu rned items and the funds left from the proceeds o f
the lots not re tu rned ; 2) Sotheby’s was to recall the books and
manuscripts as o rde red by the Court; 3) JTS elected to give
up the Bible and Machzor and to be reimbursed $900,000; and
a new dono r provided $900,000 in re tu rn for which the Bible
was to be transferred to Yeshiva University and the Machzor
to the JNUL ; 4) $900,000 was to go to the Guttmanns; 5) there
was to be a period o f two weeks du ring which “any person or
institution; m ight commen t on the stipulations. In sum,
Sotheby’s lost all profits from the sale, the unique books were
to end up in public Jewish institutions, the Guttmanns were
to get nearly half o f the sale’s proceeds, and the question o f
the legality o f the sale remained unanswered.
The Court proceedings o f August 14 record a lengthy state­
ment by Justice White, a statement that ended with his approval
o f the settlement. He said that he had analyzed and reviewed
the many comments tha t had been submitted and had decided
19. Robert M. Elkins in
Cincinnati Enquirer,
August 23, 1984, p. C-2.
20. Elkins,
Cincinnati Enquirer,
June 23, 1985, p. B-5.