Return to Rightful Owner

Eva Olthof’s book takes as it’s starting point the American Memorial Library in Berlin (Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek), which opened in 1954, and two books, which were returned after 50 years, accompanied by a handwritten personal letter. The library was a gift from the American people to the population of West Berlin after enduring the Berlin Blockade, promoting the “illimitable freedom of the human mind”, as it reads in a quote on the library’s wall from US President Thomas Jefferson.

The book brings together the charged political history of this library, and the recent events connected to the revelations of NSA files by Edward Snowden.

Onomatopee 116

Photography: Eva Olthof
Text: Eva Olthof, Doreen Mende, Eben Moglen
Design: Stefano Faoro
Advice: Steven ten Thije
Printer: Lecturis, Eindhoven

Published: April 2015

This project originated during a four months work period at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin December 2013 - March 2014

Generously supported by:
Mondriaan Fund
Stiching Niemeijer Fonds
Stichting Bekker-la Bastide-Fonds
Stichting Harten Fonds

The publication can be ordered through: