Walter Lachmann

Walter Lachmann at the ZLB, 2011. Photo: Sebastian Finsterwalder


In 2009 a book was returned to Wolfgang Walter Lachmann.

Almost 70 years after the end of World War II, it is unlikely to be able to return a book to the original owner and not to the heirs. But there was such a "miracle", as Walter Lachmann, who received his children's book back in 2009, put it. The exhibition "Geraubt! Die Bücher der Berliner Juden ("Robbed! The Books of the Jews of Berlin") by Detlef Bockenkamm was shown at the ZLB from November 2008 to April 2009. In October 2008, Michael Sontheimer reported on the exhibition and the provenance research at the ZLB in his article "Stumme Zeugen" ("Silent Witnesses") for Der Spiegel. He quoted a dedication from a randomly selected children's book "dedicated to the dear Wolfgang Lachmann in friendship, Chanuka 5698, December 1937".

A few days later, Wolfgang Lachmann reported that he believed this was his book. Mr. Lachmann was born on 28 May 1928 in Berlin. His father and mother died of illnesses at the end of the 1930s and Wolfgang then lived with his grandmother, his only relative. On 21 January 1942 he and her were deported to Riga - grandmother was murdered shortly afterwards. Wolfgang Lachmann survived and was liberated in Bergen-Belsen on 15 April 1945. In 1946 he emigrated, now known as Walter Lachmann, to the United States, where he still lives today. From the time before the persecution he only possesses a photograph and now a children's book - not his favourite book, as he noted. In August 2011 Mr. Lachmann visited us and told pupils from Berlin about his life.