Page 69 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

Basic HTML Version

and manuscripts because the contract between the Hochschule and
Alexander Guttmann must have been for Guttmann to deliver the
books to HUC (p. 3). HUC is “the equitable and spiritual succesor
to the Hochschule, the educator of many of its rabbinical students
and the next employer of several of its faculty members. . . . (p.3).”
Gottschalk said: “I wish to stress that HUC’s intention in asserting
its claims with respect to these manuscripts is not to capitalize
upon their commercial value, but rather to safeguard them perpet­
ually for the benefit of future generations of Jewish scholars, to
share access to these manuscripts with similar institutions, and oth­
erwise to preserve them in accordance with Jewish tradition and
law. To those ends, HUC entered into negotiations for a conser­
vancy agreement with the Jewish Theological Seminary (“JT S”),
and will seek to expand the agreement to encompass other appro­
priate institutions” (pp. 4-5).
This is the first official mention of a conservancy idea, and it re­
fers to a document signed by HUC and JTS five months earlier in
March of 1985.
As the affidavit went on, Gottschalk described the spiritual and
academic kinship between the Hochschule and HUC, the life-sav­
ing transfer for training and ordination in Cincinnati of European
students who started their studies in Berlin, the “Refugee Scholars
Project” which rescued liberal
Orthodox scholars, the invita­
tion and the difficult negotiations that led to Guttmann’s leaving
Germany for Cincinnati—bringing the books with him. All of
these were described as aspects of what he called “the moral force
of HUC’s claim” (p. 11). Gottschalk then said that HUC had to op­
pose the proposed settlement because it included the sale of the
Prague Bible and the Catalan Machzor and the payment of the
$900,000 proceeds to the Guttmanns. “We oppose the settlement
because it is concessionary to an undeserving defendant and ineq­
uitable to HUC” (p. 13). He continued:
HUC believes the Court should reject the proposed setdement and hear
and determine the Guttmann defendants’ claim to the manuscripts. If they pre­
vail, then they are legally entitled to retain all o f those materials or the price
The Guttmann Affair