Returning Music Scores to Germany After World War II

TitleReturning Music Scores to Germany After World War II
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsLadenson, R
Corporate Authorsof Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, IIT
Date Published02/1996
PublisherCenter for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology
Publication Languageeng
Keywordshistory , Library and Information Science , MILITARY ethics , Museum Studies
AbstractIn 1941, when the British Air Force began to bomb Berlin, an immensely valuable collection of four hundred music manuscripts , including original works by Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms were removed from the Prussian State Library in Berlin to a monastery in Southern Silesia, which was then part of Germany, but is now part of Poland. At the end of the war, with the hiding place then in Poland, Polish authorities, who discovered the collection, had it removed to the Jagiellonian Library in Cracow, and ordered the librarian to remain silent about its whereabouts. By the late 1970's the existence of the manuscripts became confirmed when the Poles presented six of them as a gift to Erich Ronnecker, the leader of East Germany. Many Poles, remembering the willful destruction of Polish art treasures by Nazi troops, want to keep the collection. The Director of the Jagiellonian Library in Cracow, Krzysztof Zamnski, notes that the collection of manuscripts is open to music scholars throughout the world under the best conditions. The German government takes the following position: "These manuscripts were taken to Silesia, which was then part of Germany, to protect them from the war. The owner is the Berlin Library, If someone has something someone else owns, we [should] be talking about restitution." Who should get the manuscripts, and why?
NotesCase study from the February 3, 1996 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Copyright, Robert Ladenson, Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1996.
URLhttp://ethics.iit.edu/EEL/Jagiellonian.pdf
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