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Contested Collections: Grappling With History and Forging Pathways for Repatriation

A virtual symposium to examine the complicated histories of cultural heritage collections, the expropriation of artifacts through colonialism and looting, the ethics of ownership and restitution, and decolonization in libraries, archives, and museums.

Returning Home: Reclaiming Nazi-Looted Jewish Materials

May 17, 2022, 9-10:30am PDT



Hebrew book with Prague Jewish Community Library stamp / Photo credit: Shannon Tanhayi Ahari, UCLA Library


This session will tell the story of the UCLA Library's repatriation of Judaica books to the Jewish Museum in Prague (JMP) within the context of the Holocaust and the looting of Jewish cultural artifacts. It will detail JMP's efforts at recovering lost materials and UCLA's process in preparing the items for return. It will also include another case study of a restituted collection that was donated to the UCLA Library.



  • Lisa Leff, Professor of History, American University; Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • Michal Bušek, Jewish Studies Researcher, Jewish Museum in Prague

  • Diane Mizrachi, Librarian for Jewish and Israel Studies and Social Sciences, UCLA Library

  • Russell Johnson, Curator for History of Medicine and the Sciences, UCLA Library Special Collections

Moderator: Renata Fuchs, Lecturer, Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies and Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, UCLA

Session Recording