Auction house offers antique Jewish Bible stolen by Goering

Nazi leader took rare 17th century volume from a Beaugency doctor during World War II; tome recovered by French soldiers in 1945

Hermann Goering speaking with a foreign journalist in his private garden in Augsburg , Germany, May 13, 1945. (Getty Images via JTA)
Hermann Goering speaking with a foreign journalist in his private garden in Augsburg , Germany, May 13, 1945. (Getty Images via JTA)

An antique Bible, or Tanach, that was stolen from the library of a wealthy French Jewish doctor by Nazi leader Hermann Goering, will be sold at public auction.

Goering, who stole many valuable items of Judaica, was interested in Jewish treasures. According to its bookplate, the book was stolen from the home library of a Jewish doctor by the name of J.N. Pellieux of Beaugency, France sometime after the Nazi conquest of France in 1945.

According to a second bookplate, glued opposite the front page, the book was “taken from Goering’s private collection in Berghof in the Berchtesgaden region.” A stamp of the French division whose soldiers captured the compound on May 4, 1945, appears on the bookplate.

The Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem said in a statement that the Bible was printed by Menasseh Ben Israel in Amsterdam in the 17th century, “one of a few bibles printed by a Jew at the time.”

After World War II, Goering was captured and convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. He committed suicide by taking cyanide the night before he was to be hanged. The book was one of hundreds of items that he stole to enhance his own private collections.

In 2005, the stolen book was bequeathed as a gift to a Mr. Rosenfeld of London by a chaplain of the French division that stormed Goering’s house at the end of the war, according to Kedem.

“This item, which was recently presented to us, is one of supreme historic value. We are hopeful that it will end up in one of the prominent Holocaust museums around the world,” said Maron Eran, a Kedem owner.

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