Culture > Events > King’s German Studies Research Seminar
Event Date: 5th Oct 2016 | 12:30
King’s German Studies Research Seminar
Room 6.32, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6NR
"This is Not a Library: Looted Books and the U.S. Collecting Points in Postwar Germany" When the U.S. Army uncovered millions of looted books at the end of the war, the majority stolen from Jews, it set in motion a chain of events leading to the largest book restitution in history. This story has been told from different perspectives, from the role of Jewish organizations to the work of the U.S. Monuments Men, but it has largely focused on restitution policies and their outcomes. This paper takes a different angle of approach, exploring the day-to-day practices of the collecting points themselves, the Offenbach Archival Depot, and its little known predecessor, the Rothschild Library in Frankfurt. It examines the problems of book identification, the development of work processes, and the relations of American supervisors, Jewish specialists, and German laborers, which undergirded the restitution efforts. Finally, the paper considers how the visual record of Offenbach shaped a dominant interpretation of book restitution—and suggests what it occludes.