Appeal Rescues Books of Judaica for Royal Library in Copenhagen

More than 1000 Hebrew and Yiddish books have been contributed to the Hebraica and Judaica collections of the Royal Library of Denmark in Copenhagen as the result of a campaign sponsored jointly by the Jewish Daily Forward and Scandinavian Airlines, it was announced here. The Copenhagen collections are among the most important in Europe and have been a center of attention over the years for American scholars, donors and tourists.

Simon Weber, editor of the Forward, the largest Yiddish language daily newspaper in the world, and 5. Ralph Cohen, director of public relations for SAS, conceived the campaign as a “rescue” operation. “We have many elderly readers who have no children, or whose children would have no use for books in Hebrew and Yiddish,” Weber explained. “We felt they should have a better alternative than leaving their books to be carried away some day by the sanitation department.

“Thanks to the cooperation of the Royal Library and SAS, we have been able to offer them a good home for their books–a place where they will be cherished and kept available to those who are working to preserve Yiddish and Hebrew culture.”

NOTES VARIETY OF BOOKS

Most of the books were carried by their donors in cartons and shopping bags directly to the Forward. Others were mailed or expressed from other parts of the country. Sorting won’t take place until the books have reached the Royal Library, but Weber has spotted rabbinical treatises, Yiddish poetry and novels, some English works on Hebrew and Jewish life and literature.

A number of books were sent by the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York; and one large collection–a scholar’s working library–was contributed by a reader whose eyesight has begun to fail him. All contributions have been welcomed by the director of the collection, Dr. Ult Haxen, who pointed out that whatever is contributed will be useful, since duplicates permit trading with other institutions.

The first of the Hebrew books and manuscripts in the Royal Library were the property of King Christian IV, who ruled Denmark in the 16th Century. The rich collection escaped the attention of the Nazis during the occupation of the country in World War II. Some of the treasures of the Copenhagen Hebraica toured museums in the United States under SAS auspices during the late 1960s.

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