Antique Bible stolen by Goering, held by French priest of Red Cross set for auction


JERUSALEM (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 Göering’s private collection in Berghof in the Berchtesgaden region.”  A stamp of the French Division of the Red Cross, whose soldiers captured the compound on May 4, 1945, appears on the bookplate.

After World War II, Göering was captured live, tried, and convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide by taking cyanide the night before his sentence was to be carried out. 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 Mr. Rosenfeld of London by a priest of the French Division of the Red Cross which stormed Göering’s house at the end of the war.

It was presented in recent days to the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem. “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, like other historic artifacts that were auctioned by Kedem such as the flag from the ship Exodus that was donated to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. There, appreciated by thousands of visitors, the Sefer Tanach will serve as a symbol to the world of the Jewish nation that survived the inferno and continues forging ahead,” said Maron Eran, a Kedem owner.