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Hamburg, Carl von Ossietzky

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Nazi Looted Assets

Cultural heritage seized by the Nazis in the Stabi

Books owned by the victims of persecution by the Nazi regime found their way by various means into our library in the time between 1933 and 1945. During the National Socialist dictatorship between 1933 and 1945, people were persecuted for racial, political, religious or ideological reasons and, therefore, lost their assets as a consequence of forced sale or seizure, or in other ways. These Nazi looted assets also included books and entire libraries, from which many German libraries benefited. The seized and looted books were assigned to the libraries by the Gestapo or the Reich Exchange Centre in Berlin, or could be acquired cheaply in the antiquarian book trade. In the acquisition journals these problematic holdings were declared as “transfers”, “gifts” or “old stock”.

To this day these Nazi looted assets have been stored in the library stacks. The Carl von Ossietzky state and university library Hamburg has made it its a mission to identify these dubious acquisitions and to return them to the rightful owners.

The legal basis is formed by the Washington Declaration of 1998 and the subsequent Joint Declaration by the Federal government, the Länder (Federal States) and the National Associations of Local Authorities on the tracing and return of Nazi-confiscated art, especially Jewish property.

Links on the subject


The colleagues of the Stabi are sponsors for the “stumbling stones” (Stolpersteine) of the former residents of Grindelallee 6. The biographies of these residents can be found at Stolpersteine-Hamburg.de