Berlin Library to Return Books Confiscated by Nazis

Germany's largest library going over collection, returning book confiscated during Nazi rule to rightful owners and their heirs in a special ceremony scheduled for 31 August.

Berlin's municipal library will return 70 books confiscated from members of the Social Democratic Party during Nazi rule in Germany.

The books will be returned to their owners or heirs as part of a special project aimed at returning books that arrived at the library after World War II. The project has been initiated by Berlin's municipal library, the largest library in Germany.

Friedrich Engels

The books will be returned to their owners during a special ceremony on August 31 in Berlin. Among the returned books will be a volume of the Communist Manifesto, which was printed in 1883 in New York, and which was apparently taken from the library of Friedrich Engels, who co-authored the document with Karl Marx.

The Social Democratic Party, the oldest political party in Germany, was outlawed by the Nazis after they rose to power in 1933.

As part of the project, which is supported by the German government, library officials are searching for volumes that reached the stacks, managing to elude the fates of those books that were confiscated from Jewish homes, schools and community centers and then burned.

So far, 25,000 books have been examined as part of the project. The work is assisted by funds allocated by the German government. Last April, 10 books and three diaries confiscated by Nazis from Berlin's Jewish community were returned as part of the project. One volume was a book written by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, published in 1870.