Saturday, May 28, 2011

The librarian thief

A day in Copenhagen wandering around. The Serbian Dane (Leif Davidsen) and Mercy (Jussi Adler-Olsen) take on a slightly different shape in my head now I've located myself in the books. I visited the Royal Library in the early afternoon, where the old building has been extended with a new modern front, and was delighted to find nine of my books in the collection. The Royal Library was founded in 1648 and in 1989 was merged with the university library (founded in 1482) and is the largest collection in Denmark with over 32 million items. A quick browse of Wikipedia has thrown up this interesting snippet.

"Between 1968 and 1978, the library saw one of the largest book thefts in history. Someone had managed to steal some 1,600 historical books worth more than $50 million, including prints by Martin Luther and first editions by Immanuel Kant, Thomas More and John Milton. The theft remained undetected until 1975. Between 1998 and 2002, the thief succeeded in selling books worth some $2 million at various auctions. The case was finally solved in September 2003, after a stolen book had surfaced at Christie's auction house in London. The thief, a head of department of the library's oriental department named Frede Møller-Kristensen, had died in February 2003. His family then became careless in selling the remaining books. At a coordinated raid of the family's homes in Germany and Denmark in November 2003, some 1,500 books were recovered. In June 2004, his wife, son, daughter-in-law and a family friend were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 18 months to 3 years; the friend was acquitted on appeal. In April 2005, a daughter of the thief was also found guilty."

I don't think I have to worry about any of my books being caught up in this kind of theft! Pesky librarian.


Dorte H said...

Well, once you have 32 million items, you may be excused if you mislay one or two, but we did wonder how they could lose 1600 without noticing it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This is a trip I would love to take.