Return heralds collaboration between Luther Memorials and Staatsbibliothek

News from 01/18/2022

The SPK has recently returned a friendship album to the Luther Memorials Foundation. It dates from the Reformation era and contains an entry by Philipp Melanchthon. It will become part of the permanent exhibition at the Lutherhaus in Wittenberg, from where it was stolen in 1976.

Opened historical book with handwritten entries
© Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten in Sachsen-Anhalt / Foto: Uwe Schulze

Until it was stolen, the album had been in the possession of the Lutherhalle (as it was called until 1996) since 1913. The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin State Library – Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) acquired it in 2002 at an auction held by the Gerda Bassenge Gallery, not knowing that it was stolen property.

Its return to the Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten (Luther Memorials Foundation) marks the start of a collaborative project between the two institutions, under which the foundation will send printed works from the early sixteenth century to the Staatsbibliothek. There they will be digitized and made available to the public via the library's digital collections. Among these works is Joseph Klug's hymnal of 1533, in which Martin Luther's hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" appeared for the first time. You can already look at it online.

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