Weimar library fire destroys30,000 priceless volumes

6th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 September 2004, WEIMAR - Last week's fire at the famed Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar destroyed 30,000 irreplaceable books dating back to the Renaissance and scores of Rococo paintings, officials in Germany said Monday. Another 40,000 priceless volumes were so badly damaged as to be irreparable, officials said at a news conference following three days of investigations and clean-up work. Clean-up crews have yet to reach another 40,000 books to determine their condition. Authorities meanwhile annou

6 September 2004

WEIMAR - Last week's fire at the famed Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar destroyed 30,000 irreplaceable books dating back to the Renaissance and scores of Rococo paintings, officials in Germany said Monday.

Another 40,000 priceless volumes were so badly damaged as to be irreparable, officials said at a news conference following three days of investigations and clean-up work. Clean-up crews have yet to reach another 40,000 books to determine their condition.

Authorities meanwhile announced that a federal investigation has been launched into Friday's overnight fire.

The fire hit just five weeks before the books were to have to been moved to a secure, underground storage room currently under construction. The Weimar Classic Foundation which manages the library said none of the 1 million books on the site had been insured.
Its head, Hellmut Seemann, said 50,000 books including a unique bible collection from the gutted section of the palace had survived, but many of those books were charred or soaked.

They would be immediately deep frozen, the first step in a process that dries them without the pages wrinkling or glue dissolving.

The Dowager Duchess Anna Amalia and her son, Duke Carl August, put Weimar on Europe's cultural map in the late 18th century. Seeking a tutor for her son, the duchess hired Christoph Martin Wieland, a poet and translator of Shakespeare's works.

Anna Amalia also created her library in a 16th century rococo- style palace, with Wieland's Shakespeare volumes comprising the core of the collection.

It later fell under the supervision of German author and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and the collection includes the world's largest "Faust" collection. The building is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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