Sunday, September 26, 2004

Duchess Anna Amalia Library

On September 3, 2004 the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar Germany was destroyed by fire. So what? The library was established in 1761 in the Green Castle of Anna Amalia. Among the works destroyed were a collection of 18th century musical works and the renowned book collection of the first librarian Daniel Schurzfleisch, who brought them to the castle on 35 horse-drawn carts in 1722. Johann Goethe served as supervisor of the collection for over 30 years.

Other treasures destroyed were 10,000 original editions of Shakespeare. 50,000 classics were irreparably damaged, but some 6,000 works, including a 1543 Bible belonging to Martin Luther, were saved by a chain of people who rushed into the burning building and sloshed through sooty water....The staff was in tears when firemen prevented them from continuing as the roof threatened to cave in.

The cause is thought to be faulty wiring. Government officials called the fire a "national culture catastrophe and a great loss for world heritage." It is certainly a loss for world scholars as well.

I suppose it would be equal to our Library of Congress burning down....perish the thought!

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