Saving Jewish Cultural Legacy: Libraries & Archives During and After WWII

 Saving Jewish Cultural Legacy header


Presented by Brandeis Library & The Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, this panel discussion will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in the Brandeis Library's Rapaporte Treasure Hall. A reception and book signing will follow. Program is free and open to the public.



Speakers will explore topics related to the looting, theft, rescue, and disposition of books and manuscripts during and after the Second World War, when Jewish libraries were plundered and many treasures saved by covert and heroic means — leading to questions of ownership that continue to this day. 

David Fishman

Jewish Theological Seminary | Author of The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis.

David E. Fishman teaches history at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. His involvement with the story recounted in The Book Smugglersbegan twenty-five years ago, when he was invited to consult on items discovered in a former church in Vilnius. He is the author of four scholarly monographs and one textbook.

Dan Rabinowitz

The Seforim Blog | Author of The Lost Library: The Legacy of Vilna’s Strashun Library in the Aftermath of the Holocaust.

Dan Rabinowitz is an avid book collector and the founder and editor-in-chief of the Seforim Blog (, a website devoted to the study of the Hebrew book. His articles have also appeared in Alei Sefer, Hakirah, and Tradition. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and practices law in Washington, DC.

Lisa Leff

American University & U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum | Author of The Archive Thief: The Man who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust.

Lisa Moses Leff is Professor of History at American University and, as of 2019, the Director of the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her research focuses on Jews in France from the mid-18th century to the present. Her first book, Sacred Bonds of Solidarity (Stanford UP, 2006), examines the rise of Jewish international aid in 19th century France. Her second book, The Archive Thief (Oxford University Press, 2015), tells the story of Zosa Szajkowski, an influential Jewish historian who stole tens of thousands of documents from French archives and sold them to libraries in the United States and Israel. It was awarded the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature, and was a finalist for a 2015 National Jewish Book Award. She is currently working on a book about antisemitism in late 19th century France.

Sarah Shoemaker (Moderator)

Associate University Librarian for Archives & Special Collections, Brandeis University.

Sarah Shoemaker has been with the archives at Brandeis University for 11 years. She currently serves as the Associate University Librarian for Archives & Special Collections. In this capacity she oversees the archives, special collections, Judaica, preservation, and records management. She received her BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, her M. Phil in Medieval History from Trinity College, Dublin, and her MS in Information Science from Simmons University.


Please contact Surella Seelig at or 781-736-3475 with any questions.