The Rare Book Collection of the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) consists of ca. 3,000 volumes primarily in the field of German Judaica, dating from the earliest period of printing in the 15th century through the annihilation of European Jewry under the Third Reich. These rarities include dozens of Hebrew religious texts from the 17th-19th centuries, Martin Luther’s infamous anti-Semitic tract “Von den Juden und iren Luegen” (1543), and first editions of Moses Mendelssohn’s and Heinrich Heine’s works, as well as those by more recent prominent German-Jewish writers.
Many of these volumes were salvaged from famous Jewish libraries that were confiscated and dispersed by the Nazis and, thus, cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The digitization of this collection started in 2005. Digitized rare books can be accessed through our digital collections, among them The Rare Book Collection of Frank L. Herz related to the 16th century Reuchlin/Pfefferkorn Debate and the Art and Illustrated Books Collection.