Rabbi Haim Cohen, Tripoli

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Rabbi Haim Cohen – Tripoli

The Jewish community of Tripoli dates back to the Phoenician period. While the early centuries of Jewish presence in Tripoli were marred by repression and shifting legal decrees, by the 1930s a stable and prosperous Jewish community existed in Tripoli numbering over 15,000. With the rise of fascism the Jews of Tripoli were initially spared the harshest forms of repression; however with the publication of the racial laws of October 1938 the fate of Tripoli’s Jews took a turn for the tragic. In February 1942 a force from the German army entered Tripoli and began to “Aryanize” Jewish property; on February 7, 1942 Mussolini issued a deportation decree. While the Jewish community of Tripoli was not as large as the communities found in many places in Europe this book stamp demonstrates that the looting of Jewish libraries was not constrained to Europe.

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 and 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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Owner: Center for Jewish History, NYC
Source: Flickr Commons
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