physical deterioration, seals and inscriptions.
The books arrived in various ways: the first ones were sent because Samuel Eliezer Donchik (first rabbi of the institution) requested them from some New York Jewish organizations and he received several Talmudic books; these can be recognized because Rabbi Donchik marked each volume in his handwriting. Apparently, there were some other donations from abroad, because among the Hebrew books we have discovered a number of seals from religious Jewish libraries in the United States. It is common to find books printed in Germany, sold in Russia, taken by some immigrant to the United Status and finally sent to Mexico. However, the most precious part of the Hebrew fonds comes from the library of the Mexican Jewish Central Committee. Those books have seals from more than forty European Jewish libraries such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Baltic countries, Hungary and Greece. Among the most frequently seen seals are those from the three rabbinic seminaries that existed in Germany before the war: the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau, the Superior School for the Science of Judaism and the Rabbinic Seminary for Orthodox Judaism. There are seals of four great community libraries such as Berlin, Frankfort, Karlsruhe and Koenigsberg.
After the 1945 victory, the Allied armies discovered Jewish book hide-outs in the German countryside, in warehouses, factories, castles, mines and even railroad wagons. The deposits that were in the area of US occupation were gathered in an industrial building in Offenbach, where an incredible effort of restitution was carried out. The Central Committee* took steps to request that part of those books be sent to Mexico to form the basis of a Jewish public library; a few months later, one thousand books arrived in our country.
2) MEXICO FONDS (1927-2007).
The Mexico Fonds has 1156 volumes and it constitutes a contribution to the study of the Jewish presence in Mexico because of the subjects it contains, as well as the deep message of the books printed in Hebrew and Yiddish as transmitters of its own culture. Talking about Yiddish is talking about human patrimony.
The students or readers can reconstruct the formation of the Jewish Community in Mexico, as well as to be aware of the historic moment when Spanish took over the place as transmitter of Judaism in our country. It is a meeting of the culture and history of a non national minority with the receiving society, in which books became the instrument for communicating and for mutual enrichment. Abraham Golomb, famous teacher, dean of the Colegio Israelita de México and of the Nuevo Colegio Israelita, published his Pedagogic Essays in 1955 and in them he says: “All the papers that I have written during many years have appeared in the Yiddish and Hebrew languages. Now I have decided to transcribe, for the very first time, at least a small part of my work in the language of the country where I have lived and worked during more than ten years, in an environment of liberty and peace, hoping they will be of some use to the cultured public in Mexico. That would be for me reason to be very satisfied”.
The Mexico Fonds has the complete production of Rabbi Dr. Jacob Avigdor, rabbi of the Ashkenazi Community of Mexico, who was a very prolific writer who penned at least ten books about religious, ethical and philosophic subjects, most of which were edited by the Ashkenazi Kehillah of Mexico, Nidjei Israel and printed by the Imprenta Moderna, property of Manuel Pintel, located in Garciadiego 28. His book La Visión del Judaísmo (The Vision of Judaism) was published in Spanish in 1959. It is a series of philosophic essays about the Jewish holidays, in which he says: “The book that I am editing is proof of a pioneer work. There are many Jews in the Spanish speaking countries, but unfortunately there are no Jewish books that deal with Jewish knowledge, with Jewish thought, nor with Jewish sanctity. The goal and intent of this book is to give some content of Jewish knowledge to Spanish speaking Jews.
The Colegio Israelita de México has been the pioneer as an institution for the printing of books and school textbooks. Thus the Mexico Fonds has the books by C. Pres, titled Mein Bichl (My little Book), textbooks for the first grade of elementary school, printed in 1941. The book is the 12th
* The Central Committee is the organization that unites the various sectors of the Jewish Community in Mexico. It was founded in November, 1938 and it is its representative before the Mexican government.