Wissenschaft des Judentums: The Freimann Collection

Curator Aron Freimann built the Judaica collection at the Frankfurt library to 15,000 volumes between 1898 and 1932. Dismissed from his post after the Nazi’s rise to power, he emigrated to New York. Curator Aron Freimann built the Judaica collection at the Frankfurt library to 15,000 volumes between 1898 and 1932. Dismissed from his post after the Nazi’s rise to power, he emigrated to New York. (LBI Photograph Collection, F 482)

In 2011 the LBI Library was awarded a joint NEH/DFG grant together with the Judaica Collection at the University in Frankfurt to add books to the so-called Freimann Collection. The $180,000 grant allowed the LBI library to digitize about 1,000 books that have been identified as missing from the Frankfurt Library’s Judaica collection as reported in the New York Times. The project was successfully completed in 2014.

The Judaica Collection of the University Library in Frankfurt am Main was founded at the end of the 19th Century with the generous support of Frankfurt Jews. The curator of the collection, Professor Aron Freimann, who built it from 1898 until 1933, made it the largest and most significant Judaica collection on the European continent before the Second World War. The collection, with its approximately 12,000 titles, was published in a printed catalog and includes the major historical literature on the science of Judaism (Wissenschaft des Judentums) until 1932.

As a result of the Third Reich and the Second World War, the Frankfurt Freimann collection had suffered losses. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has been instrumental in funding the virtual reconstruction of the former collection through digitization. The initial main digitization project in Frankfurt was conducted in a collaboration between the Judaica Collection in Frankfurt and the Technical University in Aachen. The 2011/2014 NEH/DFG project together with the Leo Baeck Institute and its partner organizations at the Center for Jewish History aimed at completing the virtual Freimann collection. A total of 967 titles  (167,820 pages) were digitized at the CJH Gruss Lipper Digital Laboratory and are now virtually available via the Freimann Collection portal in Frankfurt.

 

Send questions or comments regarding the Freimann NEH/DFG project to Renate Evers, Head Librarian, at revers@lbi.cjh.org .