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Looted Books at UCLA Project

Finding Nazi-Looted books in the UCLA Library


This site is meant to serve as a guide for identifying and documenting Nazi-looted books in the UCLA Library and elsewhere that once belonged to pre-WWII Jewish institutions and individuals. Provenance markings include ownership stamps, signatures, bookplates, catalog and accession numbers, and other unique features. Some material, but not all, may be candidates for repatriation. After successful identification, our goals include updating the Library catalog records to include provenance stories and information, and other procedures as outlined in the UCLA Library's Provenance Due Diligence Policies and Guidelines.

This guide is based on the Library of Lost Books Project developed by the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.

What to Look For

These sites below contain illustrations of provenance markings:

Where to Look

Use these catalogs & databases for your research:

  • WorldCat - International library catalog for cross-referencing

    • Advanced search

  • HathiTrust - online full-text database with scanned images

    • Must sign in. Use advanced search to find images of digitized books.

Lists of Lost Books

Example Search

An example search using HathiTrust:

  • Login (upper right corner)

  • Go to Advanced. search: Full text/all fields (Judaica); Date (before 1946); Language (Hebrew); Format (book)

  • Click on Search. You should see 2,505 results

  • Limit search by Original Location (left column): University of California

  • 1,125 results

  • Look at (Full View) #1: Hodaʼat emet ve-emunah : beʻinyan halikhot ha-Yehudim, 1883

  • Notice the following markings:
    • UC Storage Facility (SRLF - UCLA)

    • Terezin catalog markings on the spine and front endsheet: JC 10689

    • Dedication plate (in German):

      • Dedicated to the Community Library from the estate of Mr. Emanuel Baumgarten

        •  (Translation & bio from Google)

    • Cultural Library of Vienna ownership stamp on title page, page 8, & endpage

    • Erasure marks on a sticker on title page

    • Cummings Collection bookplate on back endsheet

  • Cross reference it in the UCLA Library Catalog

    • Note there is no provenance information

What to Do When Found

Record your find in the Lost Books at UCLA Spreadsheet 

  • Find your name tab

  • Enter requested information as shown in the Example Tab

  • If you find material from the Hochschule Institution, please enter it on their webpage too



  • We are 6 students. The HathiTrust results list above contains over 11 pages with 100 titles per page. I suggest each student searches 1-2 pages divided among you to prevent duplicate finds.
  • Search HathiTrust in the same manner as above but use other languages such as Yiddish, German, French, or Italian, or do not specify a language.
  • If you prefer, record the provenance information you find in your own document. Please send me a copy of your final list so that I may record all the relevant information in the database we are creating.


More Information

ERR Looted Libraries Cultural plunder by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg

Library of Congress Research Guide

Library of Congress Blog Post

World Cultural Assets: Ownership, Loss, Recovery, and Protection: Home from the U of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Articles about Nazi looted books at UCLA

Selected related books:

Leora Bilsky, "Cultural Genocide and Restitution: The Early Wave of Jewish Cultural Restitution in the Aftermath of World War II." International Journal of Cultural Property. 2020;27(3):349-374. doi:10.1017/S0940739120000235 

Elizabeth Gallas, A Mortuary of Books: The Rescue of Jewish Culture after the Holocaust, translated by Alex Skinner (New York: New York University Press, 2019)

Mark Glickman, Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books, (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2016)

Dana Herman, "Hashavat Avedah : a history of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc."  Ph.D. Dissertation, McGill University, 2008.

Lisa Moses Leff, The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018).

Jason Lustig, A Time for Gathering: Archives and the Control of Jewish Culture, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press.2022).

Rebecca Knuth, Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the Twentieth Century (London, Praeger Press, London, 2003).

Richard Ovenden, Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge under Attack (London, UK: John Murray, 2020)

Anders Rydell, The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance. Translated by Henning Koch. (New York, New York: Viking, 2017)