As it was a busy industrial city, Dnipropetovsk also provided a rich urban setting for the development of a large and active Jewish community. Jewish workers were involved in numerous trades in the city, but Jewish life extended beyond the shop walls. Dnipropetovsk was home to several synagogues as well as a variety of political and social institutions. During the early 20th century the city was a site of much political action amongst Jews aligned with different ideologies such as the Jewish Labor Bund and various Zionist parties. These various political associations frequently had their own networks of clubs, libraries, publications and other support institutions. This book stamp belongs to one such Yidisher Arbeter Klub (Jewish Workers Club), a club associated with the thinker Ber Borokhov whose Labor Zionism fused elements of socialism and Zionism into a single platform. While the Jewish community of Dnipropetrovsk initially bloomed in the years immediately following the Russian Revolution – the forces of repression, collectivization, and famines in the early 1930s diminished the size of the Jewish community. The once thriving Jewish community of Dnipropetrovsk, and its surrounding agricultural regions, was destroyed in the invasion by Nazi forces. This stamp remains testament to the flourishing of Jewish political life that had once taken place in that city.
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