Sunday, April 30, 2023

Bibliotheca Herpetologica 17(4)

Jacobs, H. J. 2023. Heinrich Rost’s facsimile of Hermann Schlegel’s “Abbildungen neuer oder unvollständig bekannter Amphibien”. A unique volume – looted, rediscovered, and repatriated to the Lübeck Library. Bibliotheca Herpetologica 17(4):32–45. Published May 1, 2023.

Looting is obviously a general feature of war in all times. This is true not only for a number of cultural and archaeological objects that we still see in museums today, but also for a large number of mostly smaller objects that are often in private hands. Such is the case with the book discussed here: Hermann Schlegel’s “Abbildungen neuer oder unvollständig bekannter Amphibien” (1837–44) was meticulously and precisely copied as part of a 69-volume collection of similar natural history works by Heinrich Rost, the director of an educational institute and an enthusiastic naturalist, and used to organise his extensive collection of natural objects as well as for teaching purposes. After Rost’s death, the entire collection was bequeathed to the renowned Lübeck City Library. The collection was stored in mine tunnels during the Second World War and transported with a myriad of other artifacts to Russia in 1946. Here the trace of many volumes is lost, but one copy, on which this article focuses, turned up in the USA at the end of the last century and is now being returned to the Lübeck City Library by its owner.

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