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The Secret Paths of Provenance – Stories Beyond the Text

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Ground Floor Exhibition Space, Mile End Library, London E1 4NS

The exhibition ties into a wider project (Library of Lost Books) that is co-led by the Leo Baeck Institutes in Jerusalem and LondonThis international collaboration seeks to trace surviving items from the library of Berlin’s Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums [Higher Institute of Jewish Studies], that fell victim to systematic theft by the Nazis who, alongside their assault on the Jewish people of Europe, aspired to gain power of interpretation over Jewish history and culture. Our exhibition showcases findings from the related, London-based research project, Networks of Knowledge II – Going under cover(s). This provenance research project implemented methods developed for a global search for books that survived the war and that made their way into collections all around the globe. Looking for the Hochschule’s lost books is, in a way, an active way to address a Nazi crime in the here and now. We would like to share some of the interesting findings and methodological insights into working with books as historical objects with the community at Queen Mary.

Using examples of works from the Leo Baeck Institute London’s Library and Pamphlet Collection, the exhibition “The Secret Paths of Provenance – Stories Beyond the Text” explores what we can learn from the journeys items in this collection have made, exploring bookplates, signatures and other markings left inside by their owners, the institutions they have come from, and the readers who have engaged with these books in the past.

This exhibition is run by the Leo Baeck Institute (London) in partnership with Queen Mary Library Services.


Download the flyer here