The Library of the Austrian Parliament
In 2012, a group of external experts from the Verein für wissenschaftliche und kulturelle Dienstleistungen (Association for academic and cultural services), commissioned by the Austrian Parliamentary Administration and headed by Harald Wendelin, conducted extensive research on the provenance of books held by the library of the Austrian Parliament. 15 000 volumes were examined in order to identify holdings relevant under the Federal Law on Restitution of Art Objects (Art Restitution Act, Kunstrückgabegesetz) (books published prior to 1945 and acquired after January 30, 1933). It was found that after World War II the Library did also take over books from holdings dating from the period when the Parliament Building was used as Gauhaus of the NSDAP. From 1946 onwards, the Library has verifiably restored volumes to their former owners if they could be clearly identified as having belonged to them. These volumes are therefore no longer part of the Library’s holdings. Restitutions that are documented include those to the Genealogische Gesellschaft Adler and to the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (Jewish Community). However, books from Gauhaus holdings were also incorporated into the Library. It was the task of the team of external researchers to identify these books and to examine them under the provisions of the Art Restitution Act. The results of their research were submitted to the Advisory Board on Art Restitution, which recommended in its meeting of 21 June 2013 to restitute 37 volumes (29 shelf marks) to the legal successors of the following persecuted persons: Lily and Edwin Bader, Richard Beer-Hofmann, Auguste Goldschmid, Siegfried Graubart, Robert Holzinger, Paul Kisch, Hans Theodor Korolanyi, Felix B. Kraus, Ida Schnürer, Leopold Singer, Israel Taglicht, Hugo Tannenbaum, the Lese- und Redehalle jüdischer Hochschüler in Wien (Reading and rhetorical association of Jewish students in Vienna), the library of Z.T.V. Avoda, the Trumpeldor-Bücherei Wien – Jugendbund Josef Trumpeldor (Trumpeldor library Vienna – Josef Trumpeldor youth association), Edmund Weber, the Schwarz-Gelbe Aktion der Jugend im Reichsbund der Österreicher (Black-yellow youth initiative in the Reich federation of Austrians), the Verein der Vivisektionsgegner (Anti-vivisection society) and the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien (IKG) (Vienna Jewish Community).
For the purpose of establishing contact to legal successors or finding heirs, the Parliamentary Administration has sought the assistance of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria. Descriptions of the objects identified under § 1 para 1 Art Restitution Act were published in the National Fund’s Art Database. Books for which no heirs or legal successors can be found are planned to be transferred to the National Fund and repurchased by the Parliamentary Library – in analogy to the procedure adopted by the Austrian National Library.
PR Dr.in Elisabeth Dietrich-Schulz - Director
Dr.in Sieglinde Osiebe - Vice Director