Library > News > Historic Moment: The Günzburg Collection will be Made Public to the Jewish World

Historic Moment: The Günzburg Collection will be Made Public to the Jewish World

Collected over three generations in Russia, one of the most important Jewish book and manuscript collections will be opened for the general public.



An historic agreement was signed in Jerusalem on 7 November 2017 between the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, the Russian State Library in Moscow, and the Moscow-based Peri Foundation regarding the future of the Günzburg Collection, which includes some of the most important Hebrew manuscripts and books in the world.


Through the generous support of the Peri Foundation, 2,000 manuscripts and thousands of books in the collection will be digitized, making these significant works accessible online to both institutions as well as to the general public.


 Passover Hagada, Frankfurt am Main (Germany) 1725 


The addition of the digitized Günzburg Collection marks a significant milestone in the renewal process of the National Library of Israel, the home of greatest collection of Hebrew books and manuscripts in the world, and advances its key aim to preserve the national memory of the Jewish people. The new high quality images of the ancient Hebrew manuscripts will be integrated with the National Library of Israel's new and comprehensive digital platform: Ktiv, which will eventually include images of all known Hebrew manuscripts. 





The Russian State Library is Russia’s largest library according to the number of items—about 47 million—preserved in its collections. The Library was originally part of the Rumyantsev Museum, which opened in 1828. At present it is one of Russia’s national libraries and is located in Moscow where it holds the most comprehensive collection of books published in the Russian Federation.



 Prayer Book according to the Roman Rite, Italy 15th century


The NLI is currently undergoing an extensive process of regeneration, the aim of which is to develop and adapt the institution to the twenty-first century. A key element of this process is the development of a new library building designed by world-leading architects Herzog & de Meuron, due to open in 2021.



 Magid Davar (Folklore), Ancona (Italy) 1550


The Peri Foundation was created in 2012 by Ziyavudin Magomedov, chairman of Summa Group. Central to the foundation’s aims is to create educational opportunities to unlock the potential of young people and to offer access to the latest technological developments.


Mr. Oren Weinberg, Director of the National Library of Israel, said:


“We are enormously grateful to the Peri Foundation for enabling this landmark agreement with the Russian State Library, an institution that we hold in such esteem.  We are gratified that the digitized Günzburg books and manuscripts will join other Hebrew manuscripts on Ktiv, a joint venture of the National Library of Israel and the Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society, with the support of the Israel Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage-Land Marks Project. Ktiv is one of the largest digital collections of manuscripts in existence.”



  Magid Davar (Folklore), Ancona (Italy) 1550


Lord Rothschild, funder of the NLI, said:



“For many decades now the National Library has lived in hope of having access to the great Günzburg Collection in Russia.  Thanks to the imaginative generosity of  Ziyavudin Magomedov and the Peri Foundation and with the support of the Russian State Library, this will at last happen.  This is of particular sentimental importance to me as I happen to be an Executor of the estate of Isaiah Berlin’s widow, born Aline Günzburg, a direct descendant of the Günzburg family.”



 Evronot (Book of Intercalations), Europe, 17th century


Vladimir Gnezdilov, Acting General Director, Russian State Library, said:

“Modern information technology has opened new and unlimited possibilities for accessing the cultural values of countries and their peoples.”



  Prayer Book according to the Roman Rite, Italy 15th century



Ziyavudin Magomedov, Founder, Peri Foundation, said:  


“I personally consider this a project of the utmost importance. New technology has the potential to assist in comprehending one’s identity, history and culture, change approaches to education, and give access to the exploration of historical heritage. Humanitarian collaboration is extremely important for a balanced world.”