Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

A classic case of, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer…”

Appointments Unsettle State of Venezuelan Politics

Ever since President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela fell ill with cancer last year, intense speculation has focused on his inner circle and who might be groomed as a possible successor. Now, with a lengthy re-election campaign ahead of him, Mr. Chávez has once again upended expectations, scattering some of his closest confidants and promoting some old associates in a way that seems certain to provoke alarm at home and abroad.

On Thursday, a top official in Mr. Chávez’s political party, Diosdado Cabello, was sworn in as president of the National Assembly. Mr. Cabello, a former vice president with close ties to the military and an on-again off-again relationship with Mr. Chávez’s inner circle, wasted no time in announcing to opposition legislators that he had no intention of negotiating with them over issues.

Then came a bombshell with international implications: On Friday, Mr. Chávez announced that his new defense minister would be Gen. Henry Rangel Silva, a longtime military ally who has been accused by the United States of links to drug traffickers and by opposition politicians in Venezuela of being hostile to the democratic process. A former head of the Venezuelan intelligence service, General Rangel was accused by the United States Treasury Department in 2008 of working closely with the main leftist Colombian rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to help them transport drugs through Venezuela. Since then, further evidence has emerged fleshing out allegations that General Rangel aided the FARC’s efforts to move both drugs and weapons.

“Naming him while he’s on the list that the United States has of likely corrupt officials involved in the drug trade in Venezuela is clearly a thumb in the eye of the United States,” said Bruce M. Bagley, chairman of the international studies department at the University of Miami.

The announcement was sure to play well to Mr. Chávez’s base, which cheers his frequent taunting of the United States as an imperialist power seeking to trample on Venezuelan sovereignty. (Mr. Chávez will burnish his anti-American credentials further on Sunday when he hosts a visit by Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)

The appointment may have been equally calculated to infuriate the opposition. In 2010, General Rangel gave an interview in which he said that the military was deeply loyal to Mr. Chávez and “married” to his political project. Some of his remarks were interpreted as suggesting that the military would not accept the formation of an opposition government if Mr. Chávez lost the 2012 presidential election, although the government later said his words were misinterpreted.

On Friday, Diego Arria, an opposition politician, issued Twitter posts criticizing the appointment of General Rangel, citing the drug trafficking allegations and his remarks about the coming election.

The appointment “is an act of profound embarrassment for the Armed Forces and a threat to all of us,” wrote Mr. Arria, who is seeking the opposition presidential nomination but is not considered a front runner.

Carlos Blanco, an adviser to another opposition candidate, María Corina Machado, said that General Rangel’s appointment carried a political message.

“Rangel Silva is connected to that image, the military officer that won’t allow another leader being in office,” Mr. Blanco said. “That’s the symbol that he represents, and I think that’s what Chávez is bringing into his cabinet.” He said that Mr. Chávez’s intentions would become clearer when he appointed a new vice president, an announcement that is expected soon.

The moves come as Mr. Chávez prepares for an extended political campaign against an opposition that appears more unified than it has been in years. A group of opposition politicians will hold a primary election next month to choose a single candidate to face Mr. Chávez. The presidential election is scheduled to take place in October.

Mr. Chávez’s doctors diagnosed cancer last June, and he spent the remainder of the year shuttling back and forth to Cuba, where he received treatment. But he has refused to give details of his illness and insists that he is fully recovered.

That has not cooled speculation about who might be waiting in the wings. Some speculation has focused on his brother, Adán, the governor of Barinas state and a close confidant. Others have looked to politicians high up in Mr. Chávez’s government.

The equation changed last month, when Mr. Chávez announced that he would be moving several key figures of his inner circle out of important government positions. They included Nicolás Maduro, the foreign minister; Elías Jaua, the vice president; Tareck El Aissami, the interior minister; and Gen. Carlos Mata Figueroa, the defense minister. All four, he said, would run for governorships in states currently held by the opposition.

Mr. Maduro, and to a lesser extent Mr. Jaua, were often spoken of as possible successors to Mr. Chávez. But commentators say that Mr. Chávez has never felt comfortable keeping potential rivals close by.

To many, the ascent of Mr. Cabello and General Rangel represents a strengthening of the military’s hand.

Both men took part in the failed 1992 coup attempt that first brought Mr. Chávez, then a military officer, to the attention of most Venezuelans.

Rocío San Miguel, a legal scholar who heads an organization that monitors Venezuelan security issues, said that Mr. Chávez might be seeking to solidify the loyalty of military officers in case the result of the October elections is in dispute.

“They are really who he has the most confidence in,” she said. If the October election is close or if the opposition disputes the results, she said, the military wing of Mr. Chávez’s party would be “absolutely indispensable.”

María Eugenia Díaz contributed reporting from Caracas.

Read the story online here:

According to the Big Mac Index from The Economist, the answer would be no…

 The wages of China bashing

Sep 7th 2011, 18:07 by R.A. | WASHINGTON
YESTERDAY, Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for the presidential nomination, released his plan to invigorate the American economy. It’s mostly a collection of Republican orthodoxy, with one notable exception: Mr Romney declared his intention to get tough with China and push for a revaluation of the yuan against the dollar. The Obama has been reluctant to apply heavy pressure on China toward this end, despite populist criticism of the yuan’s valuation from the left and the right. In that sense, the policy seems like a useful political weapon. As a means to boost the economy, however, its potency has significantly deteriorated.
Kevin Drum wisely points to our Bic Mac index in showing that the yuan may no longer be heavily undervalued.

That’s hardly the final word on the matter, but two trends have contributed to a meaningful shift in China’s terms of trade. One is change in the nominal dollar-yuan exchange rate. Since China resumed a managed appreciation in June of last year, the yuan has risen over 6% against the dollar.

The other is growth in Chinese labour costs. Mary Amiti and Mark Choi note that manufacturing sector unit labour costs in China likely rose by over 4% in 2010, contributing to a sharp rise in Chinese import prices in America. Meanwhile, yesterday’s Financial Times pointed out that rising Chinese wages are already leading some manufacturers to move production outside of China:

Last week, Jonathan Anderson, a UBS economist, released a report after crunching the numbers of the US and European Union’s import data for the first half of 2011. He found China’s light manufacturing share is starting to decline from more than 50 per cent to about 48 per cent. The beneficiaries include Bangladesh (up 19 per cent in exports to the US) and Vietnam (16 per cent). The first half of 2011 “looks a pretty convincing turning point”, says Mr Anderson of a shift in labour-intensive manufacturing to south-east Asia. India and the Philippines, by contrast, which should be “natural destinations” for labour-intensive investment, appear to be sitting out the action, he says.

More yuan appreciation would in many cases simply accelerate the relocatin of labour-intensive manufacturing to other countries. It might also lead to more internal adjustments in China to raise domestic consumption, but as Michael Pettis frequently points out, the exchange rate is hardly the only tool China uses to encourage investment-led growth.
Mr Romney’s China talk might be good politics, but America’s economy will need much more than a floating yuan to get back to full employment.

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Spy vs Spy: Cyber Crime, Surveillance on Rise in Latin America
Written by  Southern Pulse

Phone tapping, data theft, and secret recordings have made headlines across Latin America in recent weeks, reflecting the growth of cyber crime and information trafficking in the region, as Southern Pulse explains.

Domestic spying is in the news this month in the Western Hemisphere. A subject that is often not discussed in formal settings has made its way to the front pages of at least a dozen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean over the past few weeks. The news includes phone taps, hacked emails, covert video surveillance and legislative debates over privacy online and offline. A confluence of events around the region and the globe as well as improved spying technology has pushed this trend into the open and could change how the spy vs spy, police vs crime and government vs opposition scenarios play out in several countries.

Certainly, there have been phone taps and secret recordings for decades in Latin America. Perhaps the most famous examples were the “Vlad-videos” in Peru under the administration of President Fujimori and National Intelligence Service chief Montesinos. What makes 2011 different is the surge in surveillance by governments across the political spectrum and the media providing increased coverage of the situation.

The technology and techniques are a mixture of old and new. Phone taps and illegal recordings are old technologies that have become more sophisticated while data mining of social networks is a new field that all governments around the globe are just beginning to understand. Private hacking gangs appear to have surpassed the capabilities of government intelligence agencies in terms of the ability to hack email and computers, creating a new black market for information trafficking.

It’s worth noting that the technology to encrypt data has also become cheaper and easier to use, but has not yet caught on in much of Latin America. However, the increased public nature of government and private sector surveillance should push an increased demand for privacy technologies in the coming year, both by criminal groups and civilians who want greater privacy from the government.

Some examples from recent weeks follow:

A New York Times article described enhanced intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico that includes phone tapping technologies. The U.S. has assisted in the creation of intelligence fusion cells in Mexico and is providing information to a vetted group of Mexican authorities so that they can conduct operations against criminal organizations.

In Honduras, an investigation revealed that the email servers at the presidential palace had been hacked, giving one or multiple organizations access to email, the president’s schedule and budget documents. Foreign government involvement does appear likely at this point. An Israeli firm has been hired by the government to provide increased cybersecurity protection.

Even as officials from the government of former President Uribe are being investigated for phone taps and domestic spying on judges and political opponents, the Colombian government showed off some new surveillance capabilities. Police utilized new online forensic capabilities and arrested a hacker who broke into the account of a journalist. The government, under attack by a local branch of the hacking group Anonymous, has announced they plan to have a new CERT agency online before the end of the year that can counter and investigate attacks.

In Venezuela, phone calls by opposition candidates have been recorded and played on state television as a way of embarrassing those politicians. It appears state intelligence is behind the tapping of the phones. This news comes just months after other sources indicated that Venezuela’s intelligence services, with the assistance of Cuban intelligence and private hacking groups inside Venezuela and Colombia, have hacked into the private email accounts of journalists and politicians and have stolen their messages for at least the past five years.

In Bolivia, the government tapped the phones of indigenous protesters and U.S. embassy officials. President Morales then revealed phone calls made between the two groups as a way of showing a plot against his government. In the process, he showed that his government is tapping the phones of political opponents and foreigners living in the country.

In Argentina, a number of private emails by Kirchner government officials recently appeared on a website “Leakymails.” There are three aspects to this scandal worth considering. First, the content of the emails contains personal information about key political officials. Though most of the emails released are rather boring, one set of emails does appear to link a government-backed candidate to organized crime. Second, the question of how the emails were obtained may point to the state intelligence service or former officials within the intelligence service committing domestic espionage. There are indications outside non-state groups hacking into government officials’ email account. Third, an Argentine judge ordered local ISPs to block the Leakymails websites. This opens a new chapter in web censorship in Argentina and the region and places the question of how private ISPs filter Internet content directly onto the policy agenda.

The government of Brazil fined Google for failing to reveal identifying information about an Internet user. According to Google, Brazil is the top country in the world for making requests to obtain user information or to block search results through legal actions. Part of this is due to Brazil’s speech laws that give public officials broad sway on any issue that could be considered libel or slander.

Similarly, the government of Ecuador is considering passing a law that would require Facebook and Twitter to provide information about anonymous postings based out of that country. Though President Correa has backtracked on his initial request, draft versions of the law suggest an expanded government authority to track the identity of users online.

The governments of Chile and Brazil have said they are starting to monitor social media sites as a way of detecting criminal activity as well as potential social unrest. For Brazil, this operation has included a military unit dedicated to cyberwarfare and cyberdefense. This unit is also receiving training from Israeli and U.S. firms in offensive operations in the cyber-domain, the first Latin American government to admit that publicly. For Chile, the monitoring of social media has made the government a target for the international hacking group Anonymous, which is also attacking government websites as a way of supporting recent protests by student groups. Chile’s domestic cybersecurity units, particularly those within the police, are now forced to increase their capacity to handle the incidents.

The issues reported only hint at some of the issues that remain hidden from public view. Police and intelligence organizations across the region have expanded their capacity for surveillance in recent years and a number of foreign firms from the U.S., Europe and Israel are assisting them in that effort. Meanwhile, criminal groups have banded together with hackers from Eastern Europe and Russia to enhance their technological capabilities to steal government and corporate information.

Back at the regional level, Latin American intelligence agencies are running into the same problem as their developed world counterparts: how do they analyze all the data they collect? The ability to collect and store data is moving more quickly than the ability to process, analyze and utilize it. For Presidents Chavez and Morales, who have very specific political targets for their intelligence collection campaigns, this has not been much of a problem. However, for Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, whose intelligence efforts do focus on organized crime (in spite of some high profile scandals in which they don’t), they cannot keep up with the data in a timely fashion. All three countries are known to have missed arrest opportunities in which they had data about a relevant target but did not filter it out of their mounds of data quickly enough to operationalize it.

Lurking among all of these government-related surveillance and privacy issues is an increase in private sector and corporate espionage in the region. Much less reported, companies have had gigabytes of data stolen by local private hacking groups and foreign governments from Eastern Europe and East Asia. In various surveys, over half of corporations in the region report being victim of cyberattacks and theft of data. These corporations, when they manage to detect the problem, generally do not report the problems to the governments. While it is apparent from the above examples that governments have plenty of surveillance issues on their plate, this private sector surveillance challenge cannot be ignored. The threat that some corporations and criminal groups may surpass local police and intelligence agencies in their surveillance and spying capabilities can be a problem for the future security of these states and the civil rights of their populations.

Reprinted with permission from Southern Pulse. See original article here.

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Iran is Building a Secret Missile Installation in Venezuela – Opinion

This photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry, alledgedly shows a Nasr1 (Victory) missile in a factory in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 7, 2010. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi announced on state TV Sunday a new production line of highly accurate, short range cruise missiles capable of evading radar. The missile named Nasr 1 (Victory) will be capable of destroying targets up to 3,000 tons in size according to Vahidi. Iran frequently makes announcements about new advances in military technology that cannot be independently verified.

AP Photo/Iranian Defense Ministry, Vahid Reza Alaei, HO

This photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry, alledgedly shows a Nasr1 (Victory) missile in a factory in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 7, 2010. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi announced on state TV Sunday a new production line of highly accurate, short range cruise missiles capable of evading radar. The missile named Nasr 1 (Victory) will be capable of destroying targets up to 3,000 tons in size according to Vahidi. Iran frequently makes announcements about new advances in military technology that cannot be independently verified.

In November of last year, the German daily Die Welt reported that a secret agreement between the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, and his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had been signed.
The agreement was said to have been signed and finalized on October 19 by both parties, though no details were offered. Hugo Chávez, who had traveled to Iran on what was called expansion of relations between the two countries, acknowledged that the details of the latest accords were not released, and that some agreements went beyond those put on paper.
The leaders of Iran and Venezuela hailed what they called their strong strategic relationship, saying they are united in efforts to establish a “New World Order” that will eliminate Western dominance over global affairs.
Now, the German newspaper, however, confirms that the bilateral agreement signed in October was for a missile installation to be built inside Venezuela. Quoting diplomatic sources, Die Welt reports that, at present, the area earmarked for the missile base is the Paraguaná Peninsula, located 120 kilometers from the Colombian border.
A group of engineers from Khatam Al-Anbia, the construction arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, covertly traveled to this area on the orders of Amir Hajizadeh, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Air Force.

Die Welt writes that the Iranian delegation had been ordered to focus on the plan for building the necessary foundations for air strikes. The planning and building of command stations, control bases, residential buildings, security towers, bunkers and dugouts, warheads, rocket fuel and other cloaking constructs has been assigned to other members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps of Engineers. The IRGC engineers will also be interfacing with their Venezuelan counterparts in fabricating missile depots that are said to go as deep as 20 meters in the ground.
The report maintains that building such depots is not easy and that they must be built to accommodate a network of special pipes necessary for the transfer of fuel within the installation, while expelling poisonous materials to the outside. At the same time, necessary precautions must be taken to withstand all possible air strikes.
Security sources have stated that the plans for the underground missile depots will be prepared by experts from the chemical engineering department of the Sharif Industrial University and Tehran Polytechnic. Apparently, these experts have produced and presented their first proposal to the Revolutionary Guards’ Khatam Al-Anbia headquarters.
Based on sources inside Iran, reports indicate that the Revolutionary Guards have established many entities and facilities in Venezuela as front companies involved in covert operations, such as exploration of uranium.
Venezuela is said to have significant reserves, something that Iran is desperately in need of for the continuation of their nuclear bomb project. Other activities include housing of the Quds forces, along with Hezbollah cells in these facilities, so they can expand their activities throughout Latin America and form collaborations with drug cartels in Mexico and then enter America.
Many of the Iranian so-called commercial facilities in Venezuela are under strict no-fly zone regulations by the Venezuelan government, and are only accessible by the Iranians in charge of those facilities!
With Iran’s refusal to halt its nuclear program and the progress they’re making with their missile delivery system, this new military alliance with Venezuela is most alarming for our national security here in America.
Based on my sources, I believe the radicals ruling Iran are emboldened by the confusion of the Obama administration in confronting Iran’s nuclear program. The Iranian regime feels that America has exhausted all of its options with its negotiation and sanctions approach and therefore no longer poses a serious threat to Iran’s nuclear drive.
The Iranian officials recently announced that Iran will continue enriching uranium to the 20 percent level (enriching uranium to 20 percent is going 80 percent of the way to nuclear bomb material), and that it also intends to install centrifuges in the previously secret site at the Fardo enrichment plant.
With Iran’s pursuit of the bomb, its collaboration with rogue states, and its continuous support of terrorist groups in the Middle East and around the world, it is time to realize that the Iranian regime poses the gravest danger to world peace, global stability and our national security.
The Obama administration needs to take immediate action to stop the jihadists in Tehran from acquiring the nuclear bomb. Failing to do that means we will face a new brand of terrorism on a scale that will dwarf 9/11 by comparison!
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reasons. He is the author of “A Time to Betray,” a book about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, published by Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster, April 2010.

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Opinion: Iran is Building a Secret Missile Installation in Venezuela –

They’re losing enough to qualify…
Fannie, Freddie, and the Banksters come to mind…
Announcing a $2.2 billion first quarter loss for 2011, the U.S. Postal Service warned it would become insolvent unless Congress takes action.
The amount of mail sent through the Post Office dropped by 12 billion pieces a year from 2006 to 2009 — from 213 billion to 177 billion pieces. And it is expected to drop to 150 billion by 2020, according to the WSJ

THE NEXT BAILOUT? The Post Office Has Lost Nearly $20 Billion In Four Years

Robert Johnson | May 16, 2011, 3:38 PM

Announcing a$2.2 billion first quarter loss for 2011, the U.S. Postal Service warned it would become insolvent unless Congress takes action.

The institution has already lost a shocking $20 billion since 2007.

The reasons are obvious. The amount of mail sent through the Post Office dropped by 12 billion pieces a year from 2006 to 2009 — from 213 billion to 177 billion pieces. And it is expected to drop to 150 billion by 2020, according to the WSJ.

The USPS has cut costs in light of this decline, but not enough. The USPS does not plan on making any money any time soon.

To cover its losses, the Post Office took a soon to be depleted, $15 billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury in the early 1990’s, and has been drawing on it ever since. Even this, combined with $9 billion in cost cuts, and the elimination of 105,000 full time jobs in the last two years, has done nothing to help.

Thus USPS officials are now asking Congress to skip their annual $5.4 billion retiree health benefit prepayment and to adopt a pay-as-you go system; the same method currently used by states like California, that can’t meet their obligations.
In fact, the Postal Regulatory Commission claims that the Post Office has overpaid the system $50 to $75 billion throughout the years, and consequently it asks the Federal Government to assume the health care burden of its retired workers. The postal union says this would cover retiree who earned pensions prior to 1970, when the law that reformed the Post Office came into effect.
Some kind of bailout is coming, or the end of an institution.

THE NEXT BAILOUT? The Post Office Has Lost Nearly $20 Billion In Four Years

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>Jewish Texts Lost in War Are Surfacing in New York
NY Times
March 7, 2011

In 1932, as the Nazis rose to power in Germany, a Jewish librarian in Frankfurt published a catalog of 15,000 books he had painstakingly collected for decades.

It listed the key texts of a groundbreaking field called the Science of Judaism, in which scholars analyzed the religion’s philosophy and culture as they would study those of ancient Greece or Rome. The school of thought became the foundation for modern Jewish studies around the world.

In the tumult of war, great chunks of the collection vanished. Now, librarians an ocean away have determined that most of the missing titles have been sitting for years on the crowded shelves of the Leo Baeck Institute, a Manhattan center dedicated to preserving German Jewish culture.

The story of how the hundreds of tattered, cloth-bound books with esoteric German titles ended up in New York includes impossible escapes, careful scholarship and some very heavy suitcases. And while the exact trails of many of the volumes remain murky, they wind through book-lined apartments on the Upper West Side, across a 97-year-old woman’s cluttered coffee table and into a library’s cavernous stacks.

For Jewish scholars, the collection of Science of Judaism texts (in German, Wissenschaft des Judentums) is a touchstone marking the emergence of Jewish tradition as a philosophy and culture worthy of academic study.

“We’re all heirs to the legacy of Wissenschaft,” said Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

The University Library Frankfurt still houses the bulk of the collection, but experts there have determined over several decades that they were missing some 2,000 books listed in the 1932 catalog. In the last two years, a team led by Renate Evers, head librarian at the Leo Baeck Institute, found that her shelves had more than 1,000 of the lost titles.

While scholars say the books in New York are probably not the same copies as those lost from the Frankfurt library, their rediscovery offers the chance to rebuild what one professor called “a legendary collection.” Frankfurt librarians are putting the collection online, while the Center for Jewish History, the institute’s parent organization, is seeking a grant to do the same.

“This is very exciting,” said Rachel Heuberger, head of the library’s Judaica division. “You can reconstruct a collection that otherwise never would have come to life again.”

Scholars say the books were most likely brought to New York from Europe by private collectors and antiquities dealers. In the past 50 years, donors, nearly all of them German Jews who immigrated and prospered here, gave them to the Leo Baeck Institute.

The donors, photographed in their cinched ties and sober suits, represent a generation of scholarly New York immigrants that is nearly gone. They escaped the Nazis, built new lives and created a sophisticated community that centered on books, culture and learning. Their ranks included the political philosopher Hannah Arendt and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Many came to this country hauling suitcases filled with books, and as they settled here, they created academic journals and scholarly institutes. They debated politics during formal dinners in Washington Heights parlors. They took typewriters along on vacation so they could keep working.

Herbert A. Strauss, who came to New York with his wife in 1946, owned one of the lost books, an 1843 volume by Ludwig Philippson. Where he got it, his widow, Lotte, has no idea. A historian and a professor, he was always coming home to their Upper Manhattan apartment with his arms full of new tomes.

“He was not only married to me,” Mrs. Strauss said. “He was also married to his desk.”

When he died in 2005, she donated 4,500 of his books to the Leo Baeck Institute.

The couple had met in Germany, and escaped together to Switzerland just steps ahead of the Gestapo. They recounted their ordeals in separate memoirs published in 1999.

Mrs. Strauss, 97, a great-grandmother, recalled meeting her husband. “I was fascinated by him,” she said. “He was good-looking and he had new ideas.”

On a recent afternoon in her sun-drenched apartment, Mrs. Strauss pulled out her husband’s brittle papers. There were Nazi-era ration cards decorated with swastikas — red for bread, blue for meat. There was a lifeguard certificate from Berlin that showed a young man, sleeves rolled up past his elbows, smiling at something off-camera.

Did he carry books with him when he came to New York?

Mrs. Strauss laughed. “We came here poor as church mice,” she said. “You went as you were; you didn’t carry a thing.” She was eight months pregnant and had one dress to her name. Mr. Strauss built his library, and their life, in New York.

Ludwig Schwarzschild, a dermatologist, brought his library with him when he came to the United States in 1934. Although his practice north of Frankfurt was shuttered by the authorities, he, his wife and their two young children were able to take most of their possessions out of Germany, said their daughter, Lore Singerman, of Annapolis, Md.

Mrs. Singerman, 78, remembered a Manhattan childhood of heavy European furniture and crowded bookcases. Reading was highly prized — prayer books, The Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic.

Her father owned one of the lost Wissenschaft volumes, an 1888 edition of a Hermann Cohen book. His family donated it to the institute in 1970, the year he died. Mrs. Singerman does not know where her father got the book, but said, “If it was in German, he probably brought it with him — he didn’t buy German books here.”

Fred W. Lessing, another German Jewish donor, built such a vast book collection at his home in Scarsdale, N.Y., that he ordered catalog cards from the Library of Congress to keep track of it all. He was chief executive of a Yonkers metal company, but his passion was his library and discussions with professors and writers.

Mr. Lessing scoured auction catalogs for treasures, with a special focus on the history of the Enlightenment. His children knew enough not to touch his “good books,” said his daughter Joan Lessing. “His library was part of our lives,” she said. “Books were in every room.”

Mr. Lessing gave the institute an early-20th-century edition of a volume by Adolf Eckstein, but his daughter did not know where he had gotten it.

Even the Frankfurt librarian who cataloged the entire collection, Aron Freimann, came to New York. After arriving in 1939, he went on to work at the New York Public Library.

Today, his granddaughter, Ruth Dresner, lives in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. She keeps her grandfather’s catalog on her shelf — she calls it his “magnum opus” — and plans to leave it to her children.

“I’m 80 years old, and I’m very devoted and dedicated to perpetuating tradition,” she said. “I am very proud.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 9, 2011

A caption on Tuesday with an article about Jewish texts lost in World War II that have resurfaced in New York described an accompanying map incorrectly. It is a map of central Europe, not only of Frankfurt.

Jewish Texts Lost in War Are Surfacing in New York –

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