Kurt Landsberger (1920-2014) will be remembered by many as a successful businessman, an environmentalist, and a community activist, but the Verona Library fondly remembers him as a writer, researcher, and benefactor.
In the early 1990s, Kurt Landsberger approached the Verona Public Library Board of Trustees with the idea of creating a Holocaust collection at the Library. The collection was to be funded by the Landsberger family and would include not only books and media, but also the shelving to display them. The Board was enthusiastic about the concept, and the collection was started with a few books from Mr. Landsberger’s personal library. Over the years, more books were purchased and more shelving and furniture was added. Mr. Landsberger often traveled on business, and would return with Holocaust books published in other countries, in a variety of languages. The Verona Library has since developed a collection of hundreds of volumes that can be used not only by Verona residents, but by anyone doing research on the Holocaust.
The collection is located on the second floor of the Verona Public Library in the Nonfiction section.
From The Star-Ledger (Nov. 11, 2007):
Landsberger was born in Prague and grew up in Vienna with his mother and stepfather. When Germany annexed Austria in 1938, he was sent to live with his father in England.
“The day Hitler marched into Vienna, my father wrote, ‘Send me the boy,'” Landsberger recalls. While he was in London, in another fateful break, his mother and stepfather were among the few Jews who were able to immigrate to New York. The 19-year-old Landsberger arrived in December 1939 as war descended on Britain.
While Landsberger and his fiancee, Anny Terkel of Vienna, got away, many of their relatives were lost in the Holocaust, including Anny’s father.
“We can’t forget that,” he says.
The Verona collection is made up of hundreds of volumes in a variety of languages that Landsberger acquired all over the world. The collection continues to be developed through an endowment left by the Landsberger estate.