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Yad Vashem This Month in Holocaust History
February 1942, The Books Aktion in Kovno, Lithuania

February 1942

The Books Aktion in Kovno, Lithuania

In the photograph is a cart filled with books collected from Kovno ghetto inhabitants, as ordered by the Germans.  The order, issued on 27 February 1942, stipulated that the Jews were to submit all books in their possession.  Over 100,000 books were confiscated, and Jews who were fluent in Hebrew were taken to sort through them.  Valuable books were packed into boxes and sent to Germany, while the rest were sent to be processed into paper.  Members of the Zionist underground managed to hide some Hebrew books in containers that they buried in the ground.  Many youngsters took part in the book rescue operation, as well as others who had been ordered to confiscate the books. After the war, books from Kovno’s Mapu library were found in Germany, and brought to Israel.  Most of them are preserved in the National Library in Jerusalem.

To read about the Kovno ghetto, click here.

Yad Vashem Photo Archives, 7003/83