The Bremen State and University Library Returns Nazi Loot

As part of the “Looted Cultural Property” project, the State and University Library is returning four books to the Supreme Court of Justice in Vienna.

The books contain the ex libris – an artistically designed proof of ownership attached to the inside of the book cover – by Dr. James Klang and are a case of Nazi looting: this was discovered by State and University Library (SuUB – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek) project member Volker Cirsovius during the examination of library acquisitions between 1933 and 1948.

After his death, Dr. James Klang (1847–1914) bequeathed his library to his son Dr. Heinrich Klang (1875–1954), who worked as a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Vienna from 1925 and was an associate professor. In 1938, after the “annexation” of Austria to Nazi Germany, Dr. Heinrich Klang lost his teaching license at the University of Vienna due to his Jewish origin and had to take permanent retirement. All attempts to flee Austria were unsuccessful. Heinrich Klang was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto on September 24, 1942. He survived the ghetto and returned to Vienna on July 7, 1945.

According to the acquisitions book, the books found at SuUB Bremen originate from the Viennese “Antiquariats- und Exportbuchhandlung Alfred Wolf” bookstore. After the withdrawal of his teaching license, Heinrich Klang had to sell his extensive collection of books to the antiquarian bookstore in Vienna. From here, the books were sent to at least eight institutions, which have now formed a consortium in order to undertake the joint return (restitution): the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, the library of Vienna University of Economics and Business, the Saxon State and University Library in Dresden, the Bremen State and University Library, the Graz University Library, the Vienna University Library, and the Berlin Central and State Library. In the early 1990s, the Bremen State and University Library was one of the first libraries in Germany to accept its responsibility by researching and returning the books stolen under National Socialism to the rightful owners or their heirs.

“We are delighted that a consortium of German and Austrian libraries together with the heirs has now found a fair and just solution in line with the Washington Principles,” says Maria Elisabeth Müller, Director of SuUB Bremen. The resulting restitution stipulates that the stolen books are first handed over to a private individual named by the heirs, and subsequently taken over by the Supreme Court of Vienna (OGH) at the request of the heirs.

These are the titles:

  • Rémusat, Charles de / Histoire de la philosophie en Angleterre depuis Bacon jusqu’à Locke / Paris 1875 (two volumes)
  • Pfleiderer, Dr. Otto / Friedrich Wilhem Joseph Schelling Gedächtnisrede / Stuttgart 1875
  • Biedermann, Dr. Med. et Phil. G. / Metaphysik in ihrer Bedeutung für die Begriffswissenschaft / Prag 1870

Further Information:


Anke Winsmann
Public Relations Officer at the Bremen State and University Library
Tel. +49 421 218-59572
Email: oeffentlichkeitsarbeitprotect me ?!suub.uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Die vier geraubten Bücher.
The restitution stipulates that the stolen books are taken over by the Supreme Court of Vienna (OGH) at the request of the heirs.