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Home > The CIVS > News > THE ZENTRAL- UND LANDESBIBLIOTHEK BERLIN RETURNS TO THE FRENCH MINISTRY OF THE ARMED FORCES A BOOK LOOTED DURING THE OCCUPATION
THE ZENTRAL- UND LANDESBIBLIOTHEK BERLIN RETURNS TO THE FRENCH MINISTRY OF THE ARMED FORCES A BOOK LOOTED DURING THE OCCUPATION

©Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin

A casebook Recueil des arrêts du Conseil d’Etat statuant au contentieux et des décisions du Tribunal des Conflits et de la Cour des Comptes, Recueil Sirey, Paris, 1911, was seized by the German occupation forces from the library of the Ministère de l’Air (Ministry of Air) in Paris. The book was then passed on to the “Institut für Staatsforschung”, a Nazi organ under the supervision of Himmler from 1939. During the Second World War, the Institut was directly commissioned by the National Socialist regime to produce notes and studies for propaganda purposes in the light of documents looted and plundered from the occupied territories. This mission justified the enrichment of his library through wartime looting and plundering.

After the dissolution of the Institut in 1947, a large part of the library’s holdings were transferred, without any prior provenance research, to the collections of the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin, where they can still be found today.

Today the provenance is clear: the book was looted in 1941 / 1942 from the library of the Air Ministry. A stamp of the “Institut für Staatsforschung” is affixed to the title page. The date of entry into the Institut’s collections is mentioned. A second stamp gives decisive information about the provenance of the book: it refers to the French Ministry of Air.

The Ministry of Air existed in France from 1928 to 1947. It was located in 1934 at 24, boulevard Victor, 75015 Paris. During the Second World War, this building was occupied and used by the German forces, particularly to carry out executions in reprisal for the actions of the Resistance.

The Ministry was gradually dissolved from 1945 onwards, and was finally abolished on 22 October 1947, when the services were merged into the Ministry of Defence. The Ministère des Armées (Ministry of the Armed Forces) therefore appears today as the public entity that should be considered as the successor to the former Ministry of the Air.

To facilitate exchanges, the CIVS acted as a mediator between the various institutions mentioned above.