A German researcher, who has extensively studied the 228 Incident, on Friday donated 69 German texts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the National Central Library.
Researcher Gunter Whittome and his wife, Fu Jen Catholic University professor Chang Sheng-ching (張省卿) presented the collection at a ceremony.
It included original publications of works by German writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, poets Gottfried Keller and Christian Johann Heinrich Heine, and philosopher Moritz Schlick, among others.
Photo courtesy of National Central Library
The largest single sets of books in the collection were a set of 17 works by poet Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, and a set of 10 works by Keller.
Whittome’s father served in the British Army during World War II and bought the books while stationed in West Berlin after the war, the library said.
His father was a languages professor and was proficient in German and French.
The National Central Library houses about 5,000 foreign-language books that are 100 or more years old, library Director-General Tseng Shu-hsien (曾淑賢) said.
The library’s collection is valuable to Taiwan, Tseng said, adding that part of it was from the private library of Republic of China citizen and educator Li Shizeng (李石曾), who acquired them while living in Geneva in the 1930s.
Tseng’s collection was moved to Uruguay in the 1950s, and then to Taiwan in the 1990s, the library said.
In 2018, collector Cheng Ting-tang (澄定堂) donated a private collection of first-edition European books to the library, it said.
Tseng thanked Whittome and Chang on behalf of the library and said that the books would be digitized, preserved and well cared for, as well as made available to the public in digital form.
Whittome is an experienced Chinese translator and interpreter, and has interpreted for the Hanover District Court in Germany, the library said.
He has worked in East Asian studies at the Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen and the University of Hamburg, and published his research on the 228 Incident while at Hamburg, the library said.
The 228 Incident refers to an uprising that began on Feb. 27, 1947, and was violently suppressed by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government starting the next day. Estimates of the number of deaths vary between 10,000 and 30,000 or more.
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