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Soncino Gesellschaft der Freunde des Juedischen Buches


SONCINO GESELLSCHAFT DER FREUNDE DES JUEDISCHEN BUCHES , Jewish bibliophile society, founded in Berlin in 1924, and liquidated by order of the Nazi government of Prussia in 1937.

The Society aimed at the typographic improvement of the Jewish and Hebrew book; 15 regular publications were primarily intended to introduce to the Jewish book-world suitable models to be imitated by the commercial producers. The Society, therefore, commissioned all the different types of literary products likely to appear in print, such as scholarly works and periodicals, novels, short stories, plays, texts illustrated by modern artists, and reprints of interesting rare books. The texts were chosen from Jewish literature of all periods and languages. Leading master-printers selected the printing type, size, and paper of each individual publication in order to design an external appearance in accordance with its contents.

The most ambitious enterprise of the Society was the creation of a new Hebrew printing type, a task not attempted for many generations. The letters were designed by Markus Behmer, who based his work on the script used by Gershom *Kohen in his Haggadah, printed in 1527 in Prague. The "Behmer type" appeared for the first, and last, time in the Pentateuch printed for the Society in 1930–33 by E.W. Tieffenbach at his "Officina Serpentis" printing press in Berlin.

The Society published Soncino Blaetter; Beitraege zur Kunde des juedischen Buches, edited between 1925 and 1937 by Herrmann Meyer, the founder and honorary secretary of the Society. In addition, Mitteilungen der Soncino Gesellschaft appeared between 1928 and 1932 with A. Horodisch as editor.


J. Rodenberg, Deutsche Bibliophilie in drei Jahrzehnten (1931), 199–210; F. Homeyer, Deutsche Juden als Bibliophilen und Antiquare (1963), 67–69; 128–34. add. bibliography: A. Horodisch, in: Bibliotheca docet: Festgabe fuer Carl Wehmer (1963), 181–208; idem, in: Imprimatur Neue Folge 8 (1976), 243–54; M. Brenner, The Renaissance of Jewish Culture… (1996) 173–77.

[Herrmann M.Z. Meyer]

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