According to the entry in the 1901 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia, Rabbi Dov Baer Ratner was a “Russian Talmudist; born at Wilna about 1845. He is the author of “Mebo la-Seder ‘Olam Rabbath,” on Josef ben Halafta’s historical work (Wilna, 1894); “Seder ‘Olam Rabbah,” a critical edition of the text of the “Seder ‘Olam Rabbah” (ib. 1897); “Ahabat Ziyyon we-Yerushalayim,” variants and additions to the text of the Jerusalem Talmud.” At the time that entry was composed only three of the volumes of “Ahabat Ziyyon we-Yerushalayim,” had been composed, but by the time of his death Rabbi Ratner had completed all twelve volumes of the series. Rabbi Ratner obtained a broad education in matters both secular and religious – and as a young man studied in the yeshivot of Mir and Volozhin. An early advocate of the Zionist movement, Rabbi Ratner was part of the delegation that welcomed Theodor Herzl on his 1903 visit to Vilna. Rabbi Ratner was the for many years the director of the Straschun Library in Vilna, to which he gave his books upon his death. This book stamp attests to Rabbi Ratner leaving his books to the Strashun library in honor of the founder of that library Matisyahu Strashun. Rabbi Dob Baer Ben Abraham Bezaleeel Ratner passed away in 1917.
The translation of the full stamp is as follows: "Estate of Rabbi Gaon Reb Dob-Baer Ratner, May his memory be forever a blessing, Held, that his collection would be dedicated to the library of Vilnius Under the name of the Gaon Reb Matisyahu Strashun, may his memory be forever a blessing."
This book stamp is from a book looted by the Nazis and sorted by Colonel Seymour Pomrenze, one of “the Monuments Men,” at the Offenbach Archival Depot.
There are two scrapbooks of archival markings from the books sorted at the Offenbach Depot in the Seymour Pomrenze Collection held by the American Jewish Historical Society (Call number P-933) There is a finding aid for the collection here
The digitized scrapbooks are available here
For more information on this project check the Center’s blog: 16thstreet.tumblr.com/tagged/Offenbach-Depot
Dr. Mitch Fraas, Acting Director of the Digital Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries' Special Collections Center is working on a similar project for the German book stamps based on NARA microfilm of the volumes the American Jewish Historical Society currently holds. See viewshare.org/views/mfraas/offenbach-bookplates/
The Center for Jewish History would like to acknowledge the following: The American Jewish Historical Society, who graciously allowed the use of their archival materials and digital content; Mitch Fraas, Acting Director of the Digital Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries' Special Collections Center, for his data and technical assistance in this project; David Rosenberg, Senior Manager for Communications, and Melanie Meyers, Senior Reference Services Librarian for Special Collections, for managing and creating the digital map; as well as Reference Services Librarian Zachary Loeb and Reference Services Assistant Ilya Slavutskiy for their work on translating and mapping.
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Center for Jewish History, NYC