Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two Leipzig Bookplates III

The Aftermath

The house and business were restored to the Hinrichsen family in 1945, only to be confiscated once again, by the Russians, a few weeks later. They went into State Ownership (VEB) by the new German Democratic Republic. Finally restored again to the family in 1992, the house, which had not been repaired or refurbished for over 70 years, was in a terrible condition. I saw it for the first time in 1991, when parts of it were still habitable and in use by the company of C.F. Peters. It was sold to an investor - an Egyptian plastic surgeon living in Munich, who then neglected it for a further 10 years, during which time it was also vandalized. It is (in 2002) empty, boarded up and almost totally dilapidated. It will hopefully be restored soon.

Discovering the Bookplates

I first became aware of the existence of the bookplates in 1993, following a communication from the State and University Library of Bremen. The Librarian had become aware of the fact that there were many stolen books in their library. These had come into their possession in 1941. My grandparents had been permitted - on payment of huge taxes - to pack their non-valuable possessions for dispatch overseas - all valuables had been confiscated. The ten large packing cases, containing all that they had left in the world, were in the dockyards in Bremen. In 1941 the Gestapo confiscated them and put all the contents up for sale in a "Juden Auktion" - "Jews Auction" for the benefit of the State coffers; amongst the contents were about 200 books. The Bremen Library acquired some of these. After 50 years 30 books could be positively identified as having belonged to Martha and Henri Hinrichsen and their son Hans-Joachim; a few of these contained the bookplates described above. The books are now in my possession. (If anybody ever acquires any book embellished with either of these bookplates, the books are stolen property and rightfully belong to my family.)

The History

For those interested, I would recommend my book, which has had excellent reviews:
MUSIC PUBLISHING AND PATRONAGE - C.F. Peters: 1800 to the Holocaust. Written by Irene Lawford-Hinrichsen, the Foreword is by Yehudi Menuhin. This is not a dry company history, but a wealth of real life, never before published, stories of musicians, music publishing, musical taste and the social and political scene. Please see my web site for full details:

Published by Edition Press in 2000. ISBN 0-9536112-0-5.

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