NS-Provenance Research and Restitutions at the UCL


Book plate Elise and Helene Richter

November 2014 - Restitution of the Richter Library

What had seemed impossible for years could finally be realized: the restitution of the books of Elise and Helene Richter, which are in the UCL Cologne. Thanks to the professional support of the historian Dr. Max Bloch it was possible to establish contact with the heirs of the Vienna Sisters living in England. In this particular case of restitution to a total of three heirs, the UCL has sought advice from the University's legal department. In agreement with the heirs it was decided to provide financial compensation. For this purpose, the torso of the former Richter Library located in the UCL was examined and evaluated by a sworn appraiser. The approximately 550 linguistic books will thus remain at the university for teaching and research purposes. The heirs assessed the restitution as "to be a fair and just solution relating to the matter of the Nazi confiscation of their library".


Hoffrath, Christiane: Bücherspuren – das Schicksal von Elise und Helene Richter und ihrer Bibliothek im "Dritten Reich",
2. durchgesehene und ergänzte Auflage, Köln 2010, 225 S., ISBN 978-3-412-20651-2, € 39,90

Press releases:

Crossland, David: Germans pay for Nazi library
In:The Times Europe, Berlin, (Online-Version) 26.11.2015

Kiepels, Sandra: Universität gibt Raubgut zurück: Kölner Bibliothek profitierte vom NS-Regime - Langwierige Suche nach den Erben
In: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 24.11.2015, S. 19 (Druckversion)
Online-Version u.d.T.: Universität Köln gibt Nazi-Raubgut zurück, 24.11.2015

Book plate Bruno Marwitz

2014, July - Returned to the grandson of Bruno Marwitz

[Book plate of Bruno Marwitz]

Bruno Marwitz (16.6.1870-23.11.1939) was a Jewish lawyer who was admitted to the Berlin Regional Court for more than 40 years. In addition, Marwitz wrote jurisprudential works, including fundamental commentaries on German copyright law. In 1933, the National Socialists initially removed him from the notary's office, before he was banned from practising as a notary in 1938. The book collector and bibliophile was excluded from the bibliophile associations in Germany as one of the so-called "lawyers without right". Bruno Marwitz died in Berlin in 1939. His widow Helene, née Pniower (1875-1942) was arrested in 1942 during an escape attempt at the Swiss border and deported. She was murdered immediately after her arrival in the Riga concentration camp.

The book "Les Amours du Chevalier de Faublas" by Louvet de Couvray, vol. 3, Paris: Tardieu, 1821 with the ex-libris of Bruno Marwitz was brought to the UCL Cologne as a gift. Unfortunately the donor is not known. We restituted the book to the grandson of Bruno and Helene Marwitz, Dan (Daniel) Marwitz in Haifa, Israel.
Due to the investigations of the UCL it is also possible for the libraries of the Freie Universität Berlin and the University Library Munich to restitute the books from the library of Bruno Marwitz that are available there.



Contact person for NS provenance research and restitution at the UCL: