The Library of the Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Zürich (ICZ)

in European Judaism
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On the first page of the seventy-seventh report, the president of the committee of the Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Zürich (the main Jewish community of Zurich, Switzerland) writes: ‘During the first regular assembly of the 12th March 1939, President Saly Braunschweig gave a detailed lecture about the situation of the Jews in Switzerland and beyond its frontiers. The speaker anxiously raised the question whether peace would be preserved in Europe or not. On the 1st September 1939 the answer followed: The [Second World] War with all its unforeseeable consequences broke out.’ Despite this horrifying statement, it was only three months after the beginning of the war which brought death and deportation to all European Jews that the new building of the Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Zürich was inaugurated. Interestingly, the library of the Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Zürich was founded in those days and was – as opposed to most other European Jewish libraries – never closed down during the Second World War; on the contrary, during the war the ICZ Library was a place for refugees, where they could read the daily press and keep themselves informed about important Jewish questions.

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