United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
weimer_inside.jpg Director-General stresses importance of Documentary Heritage following Fire In Weimar

UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura today deplored the great loss caused by a fire at a UNESCO World Heritage property, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar (Germany) where more than 30,000 exceptional books and manuscripts were destroyed.

“The fact that this unique library, both the building and its unique collections could be prey to such a sudden accident, despite all the plans for its conservation, highlights the vulnerability of the architectural and documentary treasures which UNESCO seeks to preserve”, Mr Matsuura said.

“The Herzogin Anna Amalia Library has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1998, as part of ‘classical Weimar’”, Mr Matsuura recalled. “The destruction and damage caused to tens of thousands of rare books and manuscripts is an indescribable loss. It proves the importance of work done to preserve the documentary heritage of humanity, a mammoth task undertaken by numerous libraries and institutions in cooperation with UNESCO and our Memory of the World Programme.”

“I wish to express my solidarity with the people of Weimar and Germany”, the Director-General concluded, “and I am confident that experts will do all that can be done to salvage the damaged documents.”

Some 30,000 volumes dating back to the Renaissance were destroyed and tens of thousands were damaged by fire in the library on the evening of September 2. The 400-year-old library contains close to 1 million volumes and manuscripts and is home to the most outstanding collection of 17th and 18th century German literature.

For more information see:

Source Press Release No.2004-81
Website 1 (URL)
  • UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre
  • Website 2 (URL)
  • UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme:
  • Website 3 (URL)
  • Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek
  • Generic Field
    Spanish | Russian
    Publication Date 03 Sep 2004
    © UNESCO 1995-2007 - ID: 22513