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The Recovery of Nazi Looted Books in the UCLA Library: From Prague to Los Angeles and Back




Nazi looted books, Academic libraries, Repatriation, Provenance research


This article details the search for books from the Jewish Religious Community Library in Prague that were looted by the Nazis, and how the institution’s curators are working today to rebuild their original collection. It traces the history of the Prague Library, the Nazis’ policies of confiscating Jewish books for their proposed institutes on the ‘Jewish Question,’ and how some of these confiscated books ended up in the UCLA Library. Librarians at UCLA did not find any professional guidelines for the repatriating looted material from academic libraries, even though the museum and art worlds have dealt with these issues for decades. We share processes we developed and our quest to publicize this issue as broadly as possible. We also discuss methods that European librarians are currently using research provenance. Ours is a singular case, and institutions must understand that each question of repatriation must be considered within its own particular context. We offer some models for addressing repatriation questions and call for an organized English language forum where Judaica librarians in academic libraries and archives everywhere can discuss these issues in order to promote broader understanding, collaboration, and actions. 


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How to Cite

Mizrachi, Diane, Ivan Kohout, and Bušek Michal. 2022. “The Recovery of Nazi Looted Books in the UCLA Library: From Prague to Los Angeles and Back”. Judaica Librarianship 22 (December):5–19.



Essays and Research