Berlin library returns 384 books to Freemasons

AP News
Posted: Jun 23, 2016 9:24 AM

BERLIN (AP) — The Berlin State Library is returning 384 books, magazines and other publications dating back to the 18th century to a Freemason Lodge after determining they were stolen by the Nazis in the 1930s.

Matthias Bohn, the head of the Johannis Lodge "Teutonia zur Weisheit" in Potsdam, said Thursday the books were important for the history of his organization, and contained "the stamps and traces of their previous owners."

The Potsdam lodge, which held one of the biggest Freemason's libraries in Germany, closed when Freemasonry was banned by the Nazis. It didn't reopen until 1991.

Hermann Parzinger, president of the foundation overseeing Berlin's museums and state library, said it is committed to researching the provenance of its works and returning items stolen during the Nazi era.