Library of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation

The Library of German Trade Union Federation

In February 1995, the DGB's executive manager entrusted the library to the care of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The handover took place within the framework of the contractual agreement of the FES taking over the DGB archive. The library remains the property of the DGB.

The stocks stolen from trade union libraries after the seizure of power by the National Socialists constitute the base of the DGB library. The volumes were stored in Berlin and minimally managed by the German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront - DAF). After Germany's unconditional surrender, the two largest occupying powers "shared" the old trade union stocks. Parts of the inventories were kept near Frankfurt/Main. Others were transported to the United States; partly the books were pre-organised in Washington's Library of Congress by German immigrants. In 1950, the American authorities returned the stocks to Germany's organised labourers and employees at the request of the newly founded German Trade Union Federation.

The library of the German Trade Union Federation contains some 120,000 volumes and is characterised by a plethora of very rare items and unique specimens. Prior to 1933, conference minutes, annual reports, printed collective bargaining agreements, agitational pamphlets and trade union members' magazines rarely found their way into public libraries. Nowadays, these are some of the much sought-after treasures that can be found here. The historic collection focuses on the publications by trade unions of all ideological and political leanings. Add to that publications by International Trade Secretariats and various occupational groups. The post-1945 period covers almost completely all German-language publications on the German trade union movement. The influx of "grey literature" from all sections of the DGB and its member unions proved particularly valuable. This literature, which appears outside of the publishing trade, represents the printed memory of the working people in our country.

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation Library maintains this collection, makes it accessible and continues it by actively acquiring trade union publications.

Library of the German Trade Union Federation

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