German library

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German library
Book tower and main building (February 2008)

The Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig , Deutscher Platz 1, was a predecessor of the German National Library , of which it is part today. It was founded on October 3, 1912 by the Exchange Association of German Booksellers in Leipzig , the City of Leipzig and the Kingdom of Saxony as an archive of German literature and the German book trade. After German reunification , the German Library was founded in Frankfurt in 1990 and the larger German Library was founded in 1946 to form a single institution under the name Die Deutsche Bibliothek . Since 2006 it has been called the German National Library and Leipzig is a location.


In 1906, in a conversation with the then First Secretary and from 1910 head of the German Booksellers Association, Karl Siegismund , the Ministerial Director in the Prussian Ministry of Culture, Friedrich Althoff , suggested the establishment of a general archive of national literature, which receives free specimen copies from the publishers and is supported by the Börsenverein. A state national library was not possible due to the federal structure of the German Reich. The strong growth in German book production at the beginning of the 20th century to 33,000 printed works in 1911 made the establishment of a central library for German literature, including bibliographical indexing of published literature, an important goal of the Börsenverein. Both the city of Leipzig and the Kingdom of Saxony showed interest in the establishment of the institution and agreed to provide financial support to consolidate Leipzig's leading role in the German-speaking book trade. The second head of the Börsenverein, the Dresden publishing house book dealer Erich Ehlermann , finally wrote the memorandum “A Reich Library in Leipzig” in 1910, which set out his ideas about the establishment, tasks and goals of a Reich library and demonstrated its practical implementation.

1912 to 1933

The first executive committee, oil painting by Hugo Vogel in the stairwell of the central building
Poster for the "announcement" of the state of
war of July 31, 1914; Exhibit from the first war exhibition of the Deutsche Bücherei from April 30 to May 15, 1915
Main entrance to the main building
The three facade figures by Felix Pfeifer and Adolf Lehnert symbolize technology, art and law.

In the summer of 1912, the owners of the new library, the Exchange Association of German Booksellers in Leipzig , the publishing city of Leipzig and the Kingdom of Saxony agreed on the name Deutsche Bücherei . On September 25, 1912, the announcement about the establishment of the Deutsche Bücherei and its statutes was published in the Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel, after the draft contract and statute had been fixed on September 19. On October 3, 1912, the final founding agreement was signed by the institution's sponsors. On December 13th, 17th and 19th, 1912, the two chambers of the Saxon state parliament discussed and approved the agreement. On January 1, 1913, work began in the extension of the bookseller's house atgerichtsweg 26. The members of the first executive committee are shown from left to right on a painting by Hugo Vogel , donated by Arthur Meiner: the Leipzig art publisher Artur Seemann, the Dresdner Publisher Erich Ehlermann, the Mayor of Leipzig Rudolf Dittrich , the Ministerial Director in the Saxon Ministry of Finance Max Otto Schroeder, the first head of the Börsenverein Karl Sigismund (in the center of the picture), the director of the Leipzig University Library Karl Boysen , the head of department of the Royal Library in Berlin Hans Paalzow and the Leipzig publisher Arthur Meiner. Gustav Wahl was appointed the first director of the institute, followed by Georg Minde-Pouet in 1917 .

As an archive of German-language literature, the entire German-language and foreign-language literature published in Germany since 1913, as well as foreign literature in German, was to be collected, recorded in a national bibliography and made freely available to everyone as a reference library . The publications were therefore to be collected according to formal and not content-related criteria. It thus fulfilled essential parts of the functions of a national library . The goal of the complete archive of German literature and the claim to be the bibliographic center of Germany led the Deutsche Bücherei into a strong competitive situation with the Prussian State Library , which lasted until the middle of the 20th century.

On October 19, 1913, one day after the inauguration of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations , the foundation stone was laid on the originally planned site. On April 30, 1915, the keystone for the new library building followed on the occasion of the general assembly of the German Stock Exchange Association. Integrated into the festival program, the Deutsche Bücherei in the German Booksellers House from April 30 to May 15, 1915 showed its first war exhibition on the First World War in 36 showcases with “German, Austrian and French proclamations as well as military posters from the Russian or German side in East Prussia and Belgium Announcements ”. Between 1916 and 1918 there was a military censorship office in the Deutsche Bücherei with the auditing office. In addition, various bibliographies for the military were compiled.

On the day the foundation stone was laid, the Society of Friends of the German Library was founded. This should generously promote the development of the library by providing financial means. At the end of 1922 the society had over 3,600 members. As a thank you, the private donors received literary or artistically valuable annual gifts that were only produced for this purpose in limited editions and not sold in bookshops. The main building was opened in Leipzig on Deutsches Platz on September 2, 1916, the so-called Sedan Day , in the presence of the Saxon King Friedrich August III. inaugurated. The building site was provided by the city of Leipzig and the cost of the representative library building was borne by the Saxon state. The Börsenverein undertook to set up, operate and manage the library. The city and the state also promised a joint maintenance grant of 200,000 marks annually. The main basis of the Deutsche Bücherei was the voluntary agreements with the German publishers to supply the library free of charge with specimen copies from their entire publishing house production.

Inadequate subsidies from maintenance providers due to inflation led the board of the Börsenverein to consider dissolving the Deutsche Bücherei in the summer of 1920. Alternatively, the merger with the Leipzig University Library was examined, but this failed due to the different tasks of the two institutions. From 1919 the Deutsche Bücherei received financial aid from the German Reich. Finally, at the beginning of 1923, the Reich could be won over as a permanent cost bearer in order to ensure its continued existence. According to an agreement, the German Reich and the Free State of Saxony each share two-fifths and the city of Leipzig one-fifth of the administrative costs. An amendment to the statutes of the German Publishers' Association in 1925 also obliged every member of the Börsenverein to make a copy available to the Deutsche Bücherei free of charge after the publication of a new work or a new edition of such a work, which was the rise of the library during the period that began on October 1, 1924 thirty-year era of the director Heinrich Uhlendahl significantly promoted. Uhlendahl, for example, initiated a so-called book lottery in 1925 , which threw a profit of 100,000 marks in favor of the library.

In 1921 the Deutsche Bücherei began editing and issuing bibliographical lists of literature for the German Booksellers Association. In the beginning, there were the “daily registers of new publications” and the “weekly registers of published and prepared news from the book trade”. In 1931, the "German National Bibliography" followed in series A (new publications in the book trade) and B (new publications outside the book trade). The editing of the "Half-yearly directory of new publications of the German book trade" and the "German book directory" has now also been taken over. The collection area was expanded again in 1927 to include dissertations and other university papers, after having been dispensed with in 1920 for cost reasons. In 1925, Uhlendahl had an information center set up, which in 1932 provided 18,993 information in writing and by telephone. Most of the inquiries concerned incorrect or incomplete title information or confusion between authors. In addition, the information center compiled literature compilations on individual problems and evidence of “factual material of various kinds”.

After the law for the protection of young people from trash and filthy writings came into force at the beginning of 1927, a supervisory authority was set up at the Deutsche Bücherei as a revision instance, which decided applications against the inclusion of a document in the prohibited list and its deletion from the list as well as complaints. The library also set up a special collection of garbage and dirty writing. Heinrich Uhlendahl was one of the members of the senior inspection body.

1933 to 1945

As early as March 1933, Uhlendahl had writings “which are incompatible with the national efforts of the government” removed from the reading rooms. The secreted literature was then specially marked, recorded in separate registers and kept under lock and key in a secret archive. In October 1937, Reich German Jews were banned from using the German library.

On June 30, 1933, the Deutsche Bücherei, which had previously been co-financed from the budget of the Reich Ministry of the Interior , was placed under the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda . Responsible there was the literature department, which among other things had to control the literature published in Germany. In contrast, the university and state libraries were subordinate to the Reich Ministry for Science, Education and National Education, formed on May 1, 1934 . Otto Erich Ebert , who since 1920 employed at the German Library Deputy Uhlen Dahl, and four other Jewish people and the library secretary Ernst eagle and two workers were 1933 to 1934 as a "non-Aryans" or for political reasons, according to the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service dismissed . Ebert's successor was the librarian and convinced National Socialist Werner Rust in 1934 . He previously worked at the university library of the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin and joined the NSDAP in September 1932 . Around 44% of the employees were organized in the NSDAP and its affiliated associations, among the scientific librarians it was 50 percent.

With the aim of a national library, the position of the library in the German library system was strengthened. An order issued by the Reich Chamber of Culture on September 20, 1935 obliged the associations, publishers and individuals subordinate to it to submit a copy of the writings they edited to the Deutsche Bücherei. With the "Law on the German Library in Leipzig" of April 18, 1940 , it was finally converted into an institution of public law with legal capacity in order to achieve equality with state libraries. The entire movable and immovable assets of the institute, with the exception of the entire bookselling bibliography, were transferred free of charge from the Börsenverein to the property of the Deutsche Bücherei. Two fifths of the funding came from the Reich and the State of Saxony and one fifth from the City of Leipzig.

In May 1933, the German Library began compiling black lists for the book trade at the instigation of the Combat League for German Culture and the Stock Exchange Association of German Booksellers. Under the direction of librarian Wilhelm Frels , the four lists Sexualliteratur, Schöne Literatur, Politische Literatur und Jugendschriften were created for indexing. At the beginning of autumn 1933, the individual lists were combined to form a “complete list of undesirable literature”. In order to avoid negative reactions from abroad, the publishers were informed of the affected works in strictly confidential registered mail.

At the beginning of 1934 the Deutsche Bücherei officially began work on the bibliographical overview of Nazi literature under the direction of the librarian Hans Cordes. From April 1934 Werner Rust directed work on the Nazi bibliography. From mid-1934, the party official examination commission for the protection of National Socialist literature took over the political processing and set up a department in the German library in February 1935. The Deutsche Bücherei was still responsible for the bibliographical work.

During the time of National Socialism , the Deutsche Bücherei continued to pursue the goal of completeness of all German-language literature. As a result, she also collected the works of the fled, expatriated, and expelled authors that were published outside of Germany, among other things by purchasing the publications abroad. However, the works were no longer allowed to be completely included in the directories with commercial functions, the “Daily Directory” and the “National Bibliography A” (weekly directory). After there had been a collaboration with the Leipzig “Arbeitsstelle für literature treatment” (SD) under the direction of Wilhelm Spengler since 1934, a branch of the SD with work rooms in the building of the SD followed from March 1936 onwards, called the “Liaison Office at the German Library” German library. The SD used the Deutsche Bücherei as a source of information to monitor political opponents. The activities included the acquisition of data on new publications, the creation of dossiers to supplement personal reports, situation and literature reports with references to potentially dangerous persons and associations, including suggestions for monitoring and the recommendations for the prohibition of politically and ideologically unsuitable publications. The decision about the bibliographic display of new entries and the selection of non-German literature was incumbent on the detached SS-Hauptscharführer Heinz Lämmel for about a year from 1936. In 1936, the responsible department head in the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Heinz Wismann , did not count in German literature books that were banned in Germany, books written by emigrants , books with anti-German content and books in which Bolshevik theories were represented. In 1937 Wismann added works by Jewish authors on Jewish subjects to his instructions on secrecy. By 1945, 5,485 titles had been declared secret, their inclusion in a directory was prohibited and their use was monitored.

From 1933 onwards, the Deutsche Bücherei closed its gaps in its holdings with the help of the Nazi authorities, which, like other libraries, had confiscated literature from private collections, museums, libraries and archives returned. It was declared a gift and included in the inventory. After the incorporation of the federal state of Austria into the National Socialist German Reich in March 1938, the security service and the Gestapo confiscated around two million volumes. The head of the acquisitions department, Albert Paust, was entrusted with the management of a sifting and tidying operation at the book recycling center of the Reich Propaganda Office in Vienna. Paust took care of the appropriation and unlawful transfer of over 500 confiscated and stolen titles to the German library's depot.

In 1938 the Deutsche Bücherei had a stock of 1.5 million copies and around 200 employees. From 1939 to 1944 the library therefore compiled a monthly list of the printed matter placed under lock and key in the Deutsche Bücherei, which was only published for official use by authorities and academic libraries. In 1942 the collection area was expanded retrospectively from 1941 to include translations of German works into foreign languages ​​and foreign-language works about Germany and German personalities. While the number of users declined after a maximum of 401,900 in 1931, the number of inquiries from the information department reached its highest value in 1941 at 74,215. The number of users was still 33,059. From 1933 the inquiries had an increasingly political character. In the 1940s, authorities and armed forces departments increasingly used the information services of the German library.

In January 1942, the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda set up a liaison office in the Deutsche Bücherei, the head of which was Wilhelm Emrich . The speaker should, among other things, monitor the German-language new publications and look after the so-called Jewish bibliography. In order to identify “all Jewish authors of German-language books” and university publications and to examine “all Jewish-German mixed marriages in their descendants and ramifications”, the Reich Ministry had previously commissioned the German Library in 1941 to process a “bibliography of Jewish literature in German” . This was done until 1944 by the library councilor Johannes Ruppert. Between 1942 and 1945 a total of 23 French prisoner-of-war officers were deployed, especially in the bookbinding department. In December 1943, fire damage occurred after an air raid, which destroyed around 50,000 stacked magazines and 14 workrooms. In the summer of 1944, this resulted in 1.6 million volumes being relocated to ten alternative locations.

1945 to 1990

German library 1979 with a third extension
Magazine in the main building

On September 7, 1945, the deputy head of the Soviet military administration in Germany, Vasily Danilowitsch Sokolowski, issued Order No. 12 for the “re-establishment of the Leipzig library”. In September 1945 the relocated books, the holdings of the Deutsche Bücherei were the least affected of all German academic libraries by the aftermath of the Second World War. The library, which had been closed since the beginning of 1944, was reopened on November 24, 1945, for use by the SMAD as a bibliographical information center. From September 1947 the general public had access to the German library again.

In the course of the denazification process carried out in 1945, 80 out of around 220 employees were dismissed because they were members of Nazi organizations. Heinrich Uhlendahl remained head of the German library. In August 1945 the Deutsche Bücherei was subordinated to the Ministry of National Education of the State Administration of Saxony and from March 1951 to the management and supervision of the State Secretariat for Higher Education, from 1958 to the State Secretariat for Higher and Technical Education and from 1967 to the Ministry of Higher and Technical Education of the GDR . The Deutsche Bücherei played a central role in supplying science and practice in the GDR. With total expenditures of around three million marks, it employed 340 people in 1961. In 1977 the budget was 7.5 million marks and there were 500 employees.

On the instructions of the People's Education Department of the Soviet Military Administration, the Deutsche Bücherei created and published a “ list of literature to be sorted out ” between 1946 and 1952 , which later comprised 38,700 books and magazines with “fascist or militarist” content and served as the basis for cleaning libraries. In the Deutsche Bücherei the publications came to the holdings, also known as the lock library , which were kept under lock and key, and later to the “Department for Special Research Literature”. A second group of segregated literature comprised political literature with a so-called "anti-democratic" character, which at the end of 1989 comprised about 100,000 volumes. As a third group, pornographic literature had long been kept in special magazines . Dissertations with a degree of confidentiality were no longer properly inventoried from 1977. Books from GDR publishers by authors who had left the GDR were blocked. The secretions were carried out independently by specially qualified library staff. The decision was made by the head of the blocking magazine. Criteria for the secretion did not exist except for the “list of literature to be discarded”. According to the usage regulations of January 1, 1974, "books that express fascist, militarist, anti-communist, neo-fascist, neo-colonialist and other undemocratic ideas" had to be segregated. The titles had to be inventoried immediately and then kept in steel cabinets. Any binding work was only allowed in the house. However, there were differences between official literature policy and lending practice in the Deutsche Bücherei. Viewing the so-called special research literature in a separate reading room was only possible for a limited group of users who had to prove the necessity and the approval of the General Director Rötzsch .

From September 1, 1955, an implementation regulation, which was replaced by a new order in July 1960, regulated the delivery of mandatory copies from the GDR publishing house production to the Deutsche Bücherei. 85% of the West German literature that had to be collected was delivered to the Deutsche Bücherei voluntarily and free of charge by publishers from the Federal Republic of Germany. The publisher's motives were, in addition to an awareness of tradition, above all the inclusion of their works in the German National Bibliography, which was of better quality for advertising purposes than the German Bibliography of the German Library. Since the national bibliography contained all of the GDR's publications, it also served as information for doing business with the states of the Eastern Bloc. One million GDR and 450,000 German marks were available annually for literature procurement . In the period from 1961 to 1989 it had 1.97 million new acquisitions of West German literature, and 0.84 million copies (including second copies) were received from GDR production. With the help of a special import permit, she was allowed to import or receive printed matter, records , other sound carriers, films and slides into the GDR without evaluating their content. In 1982 the library had a total of 4.3 million volumes. In 1956 a technical and scientific information and advice center was set up to provide and process information and literature compilations, especially for industry and agriculture.

In 1950, the German Book and Writing Museum , founded in 1884 by the Central Association for the Entire Book Industry , as the oldest book museum in the world, was incorporated into the Deutsche Bücherei as a department. The collection in Leipzig also includes special holdings such as the Reich Library of the Frankfurt National Assembly from 1848/49, initiated by the bookseller Hahn and looked after by the librarian Johann Heinrich Plath , which was intended in May 1938 as a donation from the German book trade for the first basic stock of a German national library . At the beginning of April 1953, the remaining holdings, around 20,000 volumes, from the library of the German Booksellers Association in Leipzig were taken over. In December 1943, three quarters of the library's former book history inventory in the bookseller's house was destroyed by an air raid.

Until the change of power from Walter Ulbricht to Erich Honecker in 1971, the general director Helmut Rötzsch and his deputy Helmut Lohse worked as IM of the GDR MfS . Then 15 more IMs were recruited, mainly in the management staff.

Since electronic data processing was only inadequately used from 1971 onwards, the processing times for the bibliographies took longer and longer in comparison with the German library in Frankfurt am Main, despite the increased use of staff and the growing book market. The processing backlogs led to a significant loss of timeliness. The use of EDP was limited to the bibliographies until the end of the 1980s.

After 1990

After the Deutsche Bücherei was in the Soviet occupation zone after the Second World War , a second national library called the Deutsche Bibliothek was founded in the course of the east-west division in 1947 in what was then the bizone in Frankfurt am Main . In the unification agreement of 1990, the merger of the Leipzig and Frankfurt institutions (including the German Music Archives in Berlin) to form the DDB ( The German Library ). Frankfurt became the seat of the library. At that time, the Deutsche Bücherei had 8.8 million media units and 540 employees. The number of employees in Leipzig was subsequently greatly reduced. At the end of the 20th century, library magazines had a capacity of around 12 million volumes.

With the entry into force of a new law on the competence and organization of the German National Library on June 29, 2006, the institution was renamed the German National Library . With a stock of 16.23 million media (as of 2010), the Deutsche Bücherei , now officially known as the German National Library in Leipzig , is the largest library in Germany and the larger location of the German National Library.

In Leipzig, the two mandatory copies of the publishers from the federal states of Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia are formally and factually indexed. The second copy will then be passed on to Frankfurt. The site is also responsible for archiving the German-language publications from abroad, the translations from German and the foreign-language Germanica, which have only been collected in one copy .

The Deutsche Bücherei took over the function of the international depot library within the DDB until 2004 . Before reunification , the UN , UNESCO and WTO viewed both locations as a depository library.

In addition to the German Museum of Books and Writing as a documentation center for book culture with 782,000 study collections, the Exile Literature Collection 1933–1945 and the Anne Frank Shoah Library, an international specialist library for documenting the persecution and extermination of Jews, are located in Leipzig. The German Music Archive, with 1.68 million music sound carriers and music, moved from Berlin to Leipzig in 2011 as part of the construction of the fourth extension and was merged with the Leipzig music and sound carrier collection. The "Center for Book Preservation" department, which emerged in 1992 from the restoration workshop that was established in 1964, was spun off in 1998 as a privately run center for book preservation .


The City of Leipzig provided a plot of 12,500 square meters on Karl-Siegesmund-Straße, next to the former Samuel Heinicke School for the Hearing Impaired, free of charge as a building site for the new library building. The associated building plans were designed by Edmund Waldow , head of the entire Saxon structural engineering department, with the assistance of building officer Oskar Pusch .

main building

Large reading room
Facade on Philipp-Rosenthal-Strasse

Growing criticism of the future hidden location of the library, opposite the back of what was then Reitzenhainer Straße, then led to the creation of a new, 16,850 square meter area on February 11, 1914 on the representative axis between the Völkerschlachtdenkmal and the New Town Hall , on the street the new location on October 18th. This required new construction plans, which Pusch drew up on his own after Waldow's resignation. The construction management was the responsibility of the Leipzig building officer Karl Julius Baer and the builder Karl Schmidt. The second laying of the foundation stone followed on July 21, 1914. On April 30, 1915, the shell was completed and on September 2, 1916 the inauguration ceremony. An enclosed space of 76,736 cubic meters was built on a floor area of ​​4,148 square meters . The ceilings were made of reinforced concrete . The walls of the lower floors are also made of reinforced concrete, on the upper floors they are bricked. The facades have a natural stone cladding or are plastered.

The symmetrical main facade of the building, built in the modern early renaissance style, is 120 meters long and has a slightly concave curve in plan. The main entrance in the central axis is on Deutsches Platz. The building initially comprised the front building with a basement and attic a total of nine stories high, in which the administration rooms and the storage rooms for 1.23 million volumes were housed on the upper floors. Behind the middle section is the staircase, followed by a 19-meter-wide and 20-meter-long, five-storey intermediate wing to which the reading room wing connects as the center of the rear extensions. In addition to the 614 square meter reading room, there was initially the 364 square meter magazine reading room on the first floor of the intermediate building. The reading room wing was later to be rebuilt for the expansions planned for every twenty years with magazine extensions.

Above the main entrance of the building there are busts of Otto von Bismarck , Johannes Gutenberg and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , the latter signed by the Dresden sculptor Fritz Kretzschmar . Statues by Adolf Lehnert and Felix Pfeifer represent technology , art , justice , philosophy , theology and medicine , flanked by Johannes Hartmann's coat of arms holders with the coat of arms of the city of Leipzig (left) and the Börsenverein (right). The sentences above the main entrance are: "Scripture lends body and voice to mute thoughts, through the centuries the river carries them through the talking paper." And "Free space for free speech, free research, safe haven, pure truth protection and refuge". The first verse comes from Friedrich Schiller , the second was recited by the then Saxon minister, Count Vitzthum von Eckstädt , when the foundation stone was laid. A large, wrought-iron facade clock with gold-plated numerals and hands is attached above the portal. It has a diameter of four meters and comes from the Leipzig master locksmith Hermann Kayser.

The facade of the large reading room in Philipp-Rosenthal- Strasse is plastered and has a 27 meter long and 1.5 meter wide balcony as a striking design element. Seven bulged consoles support the balcony with its stone balustrade. The facing above the reading room windows is decorated with seven lion head masks in the shape of a medallion.

In today's humanities, the large reading room, there is an Art Nouveau painting by Ludwig von Hofmann that depicts Arcadia and was created from November 1917 to July 1920 (a sister painting on the other side of the room was destroyed in the Second World War). On the first floor of the building in the stairwell there is a mural, a group picture with the members of the First Executive Committee of the German Library.

First extension

The need for reading room spaces, administration and storage rooms for a further 15 years, with an annual increase of 50,000 volumes, required the first expansion 20 years after the opening of the new library building. Since the building costs were capped by the Reich Ministry of Labor at 600,000 Reichmarks, the upper floors were omitted. A temporary roof was erected in its place. With 1036 square meters of built-up area and 16,636 cubic meters of enclosed space, the southeast wing was built between 1934 and 1936. The construction project consisted of a small reading room with an area of ​​267 square meters, designed in the New Objectivity style, and a magazine wing for 750,000 volumes, which was only built up to the second floor. The structure was built next to the large reading room and reached at an angle to the front building, creating an inner courtyard. Oskar Pusch and Karl Julius Baer took over the construction management again. During the Second World War , the building complex was damaged by fires in the roof structure, in the great reading room and in the basement. The new reading room had a painting by the painter and SA man Clemens Kaufmann on both sides in the style of National Socialist realism . Due to insufficient quality, Joseph Goebbels ordered the removal of the pictures that had been painted over before the new reading room opened.

Second extension

The second expansion with 1243 square meters of built-up area and space for around a million books was carried out between 1959 and 1963. In the first construction phase, it comprised the northwest wing with the wing structure and the reading room extension. The Leipzig civil engineer Gerhart Helmer was in charge of construction. Oskar Pusch was involved in an advisory capacity. The wing building was intended for the German Museum of Books and Writing on the first and second floors and for book magazines on the other four floors. The reading room extension received, among other things, a culture and dining room with a large kitchen and a further small reading room for technical and scientific literature in the basement. The second construction phase consisted of adding storeys to the south-east wing from 1936 to expand the book magazine. Conversions in the front building completed the construction work, which cost 8.5 million marks. The building complex thus had a symmetrical basic shape with a 63 meter deep central axis. The total built-up area was 6484 square meters.

Third extension

Magazine tower and book transport system of the Deutsche Bücherei before the renovation in 2009/2010

In 1914, in his design for the entire complex, Pusch assumed a final expansion with a built-up area of ​​9,064 square meters for an inventory of ten million volumes. An annual increase of 50,000 books was assumed. However, the successive expansion of the library's collection areas while at the same time rapidly growing book production made a third expansion necessary at the end of the 1970s, which deviated from the original design. According to plans and under the direction of the architect Dieter Seidlitz, a silo-like storage tower made of reinforced concrete was built 55 meters west of the main building, with space for around five million volumes. The foundation stone was laid on June 7, 1977, the topping-out ceremony on November 22, 1978 and the inauguration on December 9, 1982; the construction costs amounted to 25 million marks in the GDR.

The tower consists of a 55 meter high core, around which five vertical segments with heights of 41.5 to 51.4 meters are grouped. The magazine tower played an important role in socialist urban planning as the keystone of a nearby row of newly built apartment blocks. Its windowless facade was tiled with around 50,000 artificial stone tiles in whitish and gray tones. The Leipzig artist Arnd Schultheiß arranged the panels in geometric patterns. At a height of about ten meters there was a cantilevered, 55-meter-long and 2.88-meter-wide connecting tube to the old building, through which a conveyor belt system enabled the automatic transport of books between the buildings. The magazine tower has 14 floors and 9 mezzanine floors.


In 1991, a thorough renovation and reconstruction of the listed library building began. This lasted until 2004 and cost around 26 million euros.

Fourth extension

Fourth extension
Magazine tower with a new facade

The fourth extension is based on a design by the Stuttgart architect Gabriele Glöckler , who won a Europe-wide architecture competition in 2002 with her concept “Contents-Cover-Cover”. The building stands on an area between the historic main building and the book tower. It rounds off the development on Deutsches Platz. The foundation stone for the 59 million euro building was laid on December 4, 2007, the topping-out ceremony was on March 23, 2009, and the official opening took place on May 9, 2011.

The free-form structure has a usable area of 14,000 square meters, which is spread over nine floors, including three underground storage levels. The base plate is 1.9 meters thick. The construction pit had an area of ​​3,450 square meters and reached up to 12 meters below ground level. The neighboring magazine towers required underpinning almost 8 meters high. The reinforced concrete structure has ceilings that are designed for a payload of 17.5 kilopascals in the magazines . The curved roof structure is supported by glued wooden roof trusses.

The gross volume of the new building is 90,346 cubic meters. The building houses the German Museum of Books and Writing and the German Music Archive, which has been relocated to Leipzig . The magazine rooms with an area of ​​10,600 square meters have a capacity of five million units and are intended to accommodate publications for the next two decades on both underground and above-ground floors.

There is a separate entrance at Deutsches Platz, with the main building accessible via a public path through the new building. The previous book transport system was replaced by a container conveyor system and the associated connecting pipe between the book towers and the old building was replaced by a connecting passage in the extension. In addition, the facade of the book tower was redesigned with smooth, large-area, white aluminum composite cassette panels and offset, backlit segment joints. In addition, the music reading room was built in the western courtyard of the Oskar Pusch building as a glazed, two-story structure.

After completion, the entire complex will have 62,022 square meters of main usable space, of which 48,482 square meters are storage space. A total of 535 reading room spaces are available.

Head of the German Library

Since the merger of the Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig with the Deutsche Bibliothek in Frankfurt am Main and the establishment of a joint general directorate in Frankfurt, the Deutsche Bücherei has been managed by a "director as the permanent representative of the general director":


  • Max Reimann: The German library in Leipzig . In: Zeitschrift für Bauwesen , vol. 67, 1917, Sp. 1–34 ( digitized version of the Central and State Library Berlin ).
  • The Deutsche Bücherei after the first decade of its existence . Leipzig: Deutsche Bücherei, 1925
  • Heinrich Uhlendahl: Twenty-five years of the Deutsche Bücherei . Lecture to celebrate the 25th anniversary on May 15, 1938 (= special gift from the Society of Friends of the German Library 1938).
  • Heinrich Uhlendahl: Prehistory and first development of the German library . Leipzig: Deutsche Bücherei, 1957.
  • Helmut Rötzsch and Hans-Martin Pleßke: The German library in Leipzig. An outline of the history of the complete archive of German-language literature 1912 to 1987. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary. Pre-printed from: Yearbook of the Deutsche Bücherei. Vol. 23 (1987). Leipzig: Deutsche Bücherei, 1987.
  • Alfred Langer: The German library in Leipzig. Architecture and artistic jewelry . Beucha: Sax-Verlag, 1998.
  • Bernd Aschauer (Red.): Cover - Cover - Contents: Extension of the German National Library in Leipzig . German National Library, State Office for Taxes and Finances of the Free State of Saxony (Ed.), Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2011, ISBN 978-3-7757-2763-1 ( digitized version )
  • Christian Rau: "National library in a divided country". The German Library 1945–1990 . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-8353-3199-0 . Online: urn : nbn: de: 101: 1-2020060409532263435358 .
  • Sören Flachowsky: » Armory for the swords of the spirit«. The Deutsche Bücherei during the Nazi era . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-8353-3196-9 . Online: urn : nbn: de: 101: 1-2020060316523309004183 .
  • Tanja Sophie Müller: "Inferior" literature and national integration. The Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig as a project of the bourgeoisie in the German Empire and in the Weimar Republic . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2019, ISBN 978-3-8353-3516-5 .

Web links

Commons : Deutsche Bücherei  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Deutsche Bücherei  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Erich Ehlermann: A Reich Library in Leipzig: Memorandum (1910) . Society d. Friends d. German Library, Leipzig 1927, DNB  579329062 .
  2. a b c d e f Deutsche Bücherei: 1912–1962; Festschrift for the 50th anniversary of the German National Library . Publication for books and libraries, Leipzig 1962, DNB  980282381 .
  3. ^ NN : The Deutsche Bücherei exhibits: First war exhibition of the Deutsche Bücherei in 1915 on the website of the German National Library, last accessed on August 3, 2014
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Sören Flachowsky: " Armory for the swords of the spirit". The Deutsche Bücherei during the Nazi era . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-8353-3196-9 .
  5. ^ A b Jan-Pieter Barbian, Frank Simon-Ritz: German National Library 100 years - and not a bit quiet . In: , October 8, 2012
  6. Volker Dahm: The Jewish Book in the Third Reich . ISBN 978-3-406-37641-2 , p. 188
  7. Sören Flachowsky: The yellow star in science . In: Dialogue with Libraries . tape 28 , no. 2 , 2016, DNB  1115811932 , p. 37–44, here 39 , urn : nbn: de: 101-2016100662 .
  8. a b c d e f g h Christian Rau: "National Library in the Divided Land". The German Library 1945–1990 . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-8353-3199-0 .
  9. Soren Flachowsky: History of the German Library in Leipzig in the Nazi era . In: Dialogue with Libraries . tape 27 , no. 1 , 2015, DNB  1077224109 , p. 31–34 , urn : nbn: de: 101-2015100163 .
  10. Helmut Rötzsch: Die Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig Development and tasks of the complete archive of German-language literature , 1978 (PDF; 1.8 MB)
  11. Ministry for National Education of the German Democratic Republic, List of the literature to be sorted out Third supplement, Berlin: VEB Deutscher Zentralverlag, 1953
  12. Christian Rau: National library in the divided country: A project sketch for researching the history of the German library in the Soviet zone / GDR (1945–1989 / 90) . In: Dialogue with Libraries . tape 27 , no. 2 , 2015, DNB  1077323638 , p. 38–43, here 42 , urn : nbn: de: 101-20151001234 .
  13. Ulrike Geßler, Jenifer high-rise, Kerstin Schmidt: The German library. In: Siegfried Lokatis, Ingrid Sonntag: Secret readers in the GDR. Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-86153-494-5 , pp. 201-207.
  14. a b Helmut Rötzsch: A tightrope walk without falling. The Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig at that time . In: Mark Lehmstedt, Siegfried Lokatis (ed.): The hole in the wall. The internal German literature exchange . Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 1997, ISBN 3-447-03918-3 , p. 137.
  15. Gottfried Rost: The German library as a “hole in the wall” . In: Mark Lehmstedt, Siegfried Lokatis (ed.): The hole in the wall. The internal German literature exchange . Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 1997, ISBN 3-447-03918-3 , p. 132.
  16. Ute Schwens, Jörg Räuber: Make one out of two: Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig and Deutsche Bibliothek Frankfurt am Main have been united to form the German National Library for 25 years . In: Dialogue with Libraries . tape 27 , no. 2 , 2015, DNB  1077077041 , p. 4–24, here 10th , urn : nbn: de: 101-2015100108 .
  17. a b c d Bernd Aschauer (Red.): Cover - Cover - Contents: Extension of the German National Library in Leipzig . German National Library, State Office for Taxes and Finance of the Free State of Saxony (Ed.), Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2011, ISBN 978-3-7757-2763-1
  18. a b Sören Flachowsky: "Brown spots" under white patina . In: Dialogue with Libraries . tape 29 , no. 2 , 2017, DNB  1140660691 , p. 25–31, here 26 , urn : nbn: de: 101-20170929325 .
  19. ^ Bernd Hettlage: German National Library Leipzig . In: Die neue Architekturführer No. 181 , Stadtwandel Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86711-190-4 .

Coordinates: 51 ° 19 ′ 20.5 ″  N , 12 ° 23 ′ 48.1 ″  E