Page 90 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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Friedman
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the confiscation and destruction of all Talmud copies in his dio­
cese. None of these recorded confiscations and destructions, how­
ever, attained the gigantic dimensions of the Nazi crusade against
the Jewish book.
In order to appreciate the magnitude of this greatest book po­
grom in Jewish history, let us take stock of the Jewish books in li­
braries and private collections in Nazi-occupied Europe. Jewish
libraries existed in almost every European country before 1939.
They were founded and maintained by institutes of higher learn­
ing, rabbinical seminaries, educational and research institutes, syn­
agogues, youth organizations, and the like. Jewish book stores,
publishing houses, scholars, bibliophiles, and private families, were
proud possessors of large collections or of innumerable small li­
braries. Valuable collections were also to be found in many non-
Jewish municipal, state, university and ecclesiastical libraries, and
in the possession of individuals. A complete computation of this
vast wealth of printed treasures is patently impossible.
We made a checklist ofJewish book collections in twenty Euro­
pean countries occupied or controlled by the Nazis, or exposed to
Nazi bombing. Our calculation included only Jewish and a few
large non-Jewish collections like the Rosenthaliana in Amsterdam
and the Simonsensiana in Copenhagen. Only libraries containing
a minimum of 1,000 volumes were included in this survey.
There were 469 such libraries, with 3,307,000 volumes, in the
twenty European countries. The largest collections were in Poland
(251 libraries, 1,650,000 books), Germany (55 libraries, 422,000
books), the Nazi-occupied section of the Soviet Union (7;3 32,000),
France (16; 146,000), Austria (19; 126,000), Hungary (5; 76,000),
the Netherlands (17; 74,000), Roumania (25; 69,000), Lithuania
(19; 67,000) and Czechoslovakia (8; 58,000). If the numerous small
libraries and private collections could be added, the figures would
probably aggregate five million or more books. It may be assumed
that of the approximately 1,500,000 Jewish families comprising the
6,000,000 Jews killed during the Nazi period, at least several
books, religious and profane, in Hebrew, Yiddish and other lan­
guages, were treasured in every Jewish home. There is, however,