The extent to which book collections were looted by the Nazi forces during the second world war was underestimated for many years. Just in France, at least five million books and graphic documents were stolen from their legitimate owners: ministries, Slavic libraries, leading figures of radical circles, socialists and communists, freemasons. From 1942, million of Jewish families are impacted by the spoliations aiming to destroy their culture. Despite the restitution schemes implemented after the war, a lot of dispossessed book collections still haven’t been returned to their legitimate owners, if they are still alive, or their rare descendants.
Where are those collections which haven’t been returned? What did they have to endure? What were those documents used for? What conclusion can be drawn from? What is left of the extensive European book collection? Will we one day be able to rebuild those partly lost book collections?
This symposium is organised by : Centre Gabriel Naudé de l'Enssib (EA 7286), the Institut d'histoire du temps présent (IHTP, UMR CNRS Paris 8) and the University Paris Diderot (EA Identités, cultures, territoires),
This event is supported by : Bibliothèque nationale de France, Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations (BULAC), Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, Claims Foundation et Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst.
It will take place on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th March in Paris.