The Jewish Museum Berlin’s library is a scientific reference library currently comprising around 60,000 media. Its holdings can be researched online and viewed in the reading room. Alongside primary and research literature on German-Jewish history, culture, art, religion, and philosophy, the collection also includes historical magazines, current periodicals, and audiovisual media. Since fall 2013, the German Research Foundation has been supporting the library to expand, develop, and index the holdings on the visual and material culture of Judaism.
The library’s beginnings date back to 1976, when the "Society for a Jewish Museum in Berlin" was founded as a non-profit organization and the showing of its "First Acquisitions and Donations for the Future Jewish Museum" in Berlin in 1978. These included first editions of the translation of the Psalms (1783) and of "Morning Hours" (1785) by Moses Mendelssohn. One of the first major donations to the Jewish section of the Berlin Museum was the donation from John F. and Hertha Oppenheimer of publications of the "Central Association for German Citizens of Jewish Faith." The books from the Berlin Museum’s Jewish section were transferred to the Jewish Museum Berlin library in 1999, which with the opening of the permanent exhibition in 2001 was able to set up a reading room for external visitors and showcase their collections in an online catalog. This is also represented in the VK Judaica (Catalogue of KOBV for Judaica collections in Berlin and Brandenburg); the periodicals are listed in the journal database ZDB. The library’s move to the Jewish Museum Berlin Academy in July 2013 enables visitors direct access to an extensive open stacks area.
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The library's special collections include books published in Germany in Hebrew and Yiddish, Berlin rabbinical and Hebraic literature, prints of the works of well-known Jewish artists as well as the complete printings of the Soncino Society of Friends of Jewish Books founded in 1924. In the reading room you will also find a selection of Artur Brauner's film oeuvre.