Restitution: National Library Hands Over Eight Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-Three Books to the National Fund

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (10/03/2009)

Restitution Advisory Board recommends the handover due to provenance research concluding undetermined owners. National Library offers 125,000 Euros for repurchase of the books.

Vienna – The Austrian National Library will hand over 8,363 books of unidentified ownership to the National Fund for victims of National Socialism. The Restitution Abvisory Board recommended the restitution/ handover following the conclusions of the Commission which claimed the impossibility of determining ownership of the books “even when continuing investigation in the future by cross linking material in the archive that might be of relevance.” Subsequently, the ÖNG hopes to repurchase the books for 125,000 Euros.

In 1938 the National Library was allotted thousands and thousands of expropriated books. Those which were kept were marked with the letters “P 38” (P stands for police). In the course of years of provenance research one came across some 8,363 pieces of printed matter with no indication as to their owner. According to provenance research it is impossible to determine the owners, and the Commission advocated handing them over to the National Fund.

As director general of the Austrian National Library Johanna Rachinger stated, handing over the entire pile of printed material, which weighs some four tons, should take place “as soon as possible.” According to the daily newspaper, “Der Standard,” there are an additional unidentified 7,595 more objects in the Austrian National Library holdings that are marked by “P – 38.” A decision about these items has not yet been made. Over the years the Austrian National Library has returned some 35,231 objects.