The Bavarian State Library returned 203 books to the German Freemason Museum that were stolen by the Nazis in the 1930s on Wednesday.
“The books are coming home and will be able to be used and remain alive here,” said Roland Martin Hank, curator of the German Masonic Museum in Bayreuth.
The library was prepared to face up to its responsibilities regarding its involvement in Nazi crimes, General Director Klaus Ceynowa said.
The return of the books was made at an official ceremony in Munich. The books are largely concerned with Masonic rituals and history. The museum holds one of the largest collections of Masonic books in the world.
Under Adolf Hitler, the Nazis persecuted Freemasons, outlawed Masonic lodges, seized many of their possessions and sent practicing Freemasons to concentration camps.
Although the provenance of most of the books is unknown, at least two were stolen from the Masonic lodge in Bayreuth. This is why the state library decided to return all the books there.
ed/sms (KNA, dpa)