Restitution: SPK returns books to Le Figaro

News from 03/11/2022

Books confiscated during World War II returned from the Staatsbibliothek to the French daily newspaper Le Figaro by the SPK

Group photo at the restitution of books from the State Library to Le Figaro at the French Embassy.
© Französische Botschaft in Deutschland

On March 10, 2022, the Director General of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library), Achim Bonte, returned 33 books to representatives of the French newspaper Le Figaro at the French Embassy in Berlin. They had been confiscated by the German forces of occupation when the newspaper’s editorial building was requisitioned. The team of provenance researchers at the Staatsbibliothek identified the works in the course of their systematic examination of the library's stock. The Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) then contacted Le Figaro and, with the support of the Commission pour l'indemnisation des victimes de spoliations et intervenues du fait des législations antisémites en vigueur  pendant l'Occupation (CIVS), arranged for them to be returned.

SPK President Hermann Parzinger stated: "When it comes to restitutions of art looted by the Nazis, the focus often lies on works of fine art, but of course countless books were also taken away from their rightful owners. In the last twenty years, we have been able to return more than two thousand works from the Staatsbibliothek. I would like to thank the CIVS for assisting us with this restitution – not the first time that it has done so – as well as Ambassador Descôtes."

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