Page 30 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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22
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
This is the first official mention o f a conservancy idea, and
it refers to a docum en t signed by HUC and JT S five months
earlier in March o f 1985.
As the affidavit went on, Gottschalk described the spiritual
and academic kinship between the Hochschule and HUC, the
life-saving transfer for train ing and ord ination in Cincinnati
o f European students who started their studies in Berlin, the
“Refugee Scholars Project” which rescued Liberal
and
O rthodox
scholars, the invitation and the difficult negotiations that led
to Gu ttm ann ’s leaving Germany for Cincinnati — bringing the
books with him. All o f these were described as aspects o f what
he called “the moral force o f HUC ’s claim” (p. 11). Gottschalk
then said that HUC had to oppose the proposed settlement
because it included the sale o f the Prague Bible and the Catalan
Machzor and the payment o f the $900,000 proceeds to the
Guttmanns. “We oppose the settlement because it is concession­
ary to an undeserving de fendan t and inequitable to HUC” (p.
13). He continued:
HUC believes the Court should reject the proposed settlement
and hear and determine the Guttmann defendants’ claims to the
books and manuscripts. If they prevail, then they are legally en­
titled to retain all o f those materials or the price they brought.
I expect — and the Court has already found it probable — that
those claims will fail. The Court would then formulate a dispo­
sition plan for the materials that either recognizes HUC’s prop­
erty interests or optimizes their utilization by institutions o f high­
er Jewish scholarship, depending upon whether HUC’s direct
claim is accepted. However, the Court need not confront that
issue because the conservancy arrangement will fully accommo­
date all interests. On that latter point we would support a decision
by the Court to seek the advice and guidance o f the JRSO to
assess the feasibility o f the conservancy arrangement and to iden­
tify appropriate participants.
The background o f the conservancy agreement is this: When
the existence o f the Hochschule books and manuscripts came
to light last year, the JTS purchased the most prized elements
o f the collection, the Prague Bible and Catalan Machzor, from
the Guttmann defendants in a private sale in June 1984 before
the auction took place. Thereafter, HUC and JTS negotiated
toward a conservancy arrangement in an effort to make the Bible
and Machzor broadly available to scholars and to carefully pre­
serve them. We reached an agreement in principle. We hope