The Odyssey of the Turgenev Library from Paris, 1940-2002. Books as Victims and Trophies of War
(PDF file, 202 pp., 4509 Kb), Amsterdam, IISG, 2003; ISSN 0927-4618
The Turgenev Library, founded in 1875 in Paris by Russian exiles, among whom the writer Ivan S. Turgenev, as a 'home away from home' for the varied community of 'Russia Abroad' (including Lenin), was the largest Russian library outside Russia. In this new IISH Research Publication, Dr Patricia Kennedy Grimsted offers the intriguing story of the seizure of the library by Nazi agents upon the occupation of Paris in 1940, its wartime fate, and its postwar dispersal in Soviet hands. At the end of World War II, the library was hidden by the Nazi's in the south of Poland. Contrary to the commonly held opinion inside and outside the (former) Soviet Union that the Turgenev Library was destroyed by the Nazi's at the end of the War, Dr Grimsted shows, on the basis of many evidence, that at least large parts of the library collections of books and archives were secretly taken by the Soviet troops as 'trophies of war', and subsequently dispersed over several Soviet libraries and archives. In extensive appendices, she presents important documents substantiating her arguments, including images of various book stamps of the library.