The library of Gratz College is very well known among scholars and collectors of Jewish music for its rich musical resources. The most substantial and valuable component of the library, but certainly not the only one, is the Eric Mandell Collection. The collection consists of more than 15,000 items. It includes books, articles, clippings, catalogues, anthologies, sheet music, vocal and instrumental compilations and a variety of manuscripts.
Volumes of Music compiled by Hugo Chaim Adler at the Eric Mandell Collection
Recently, Professor Edwin Seroussi located in the collection four manuscript volumes dated in 1928 containing music compiled by cantor and composer Hugo Chaim Adler (1894-1955) for the Haupt-Synagogue of Mannheim. Cantor Adler was the Oberkantor (Chief Cantor) of this synagogue during the two decades preceding World War II. He rescued the volumes a few days after Kristallnacht from the devastated synagogue in Mannheim, sneaking in under the noses of Nazi soldiers while risking his life and the life of his ten-year old son Samuel, and managed to bring the precious volumes with him when he immigrated to the United States in 1940. The manuscripts were given to the Eric Mandell Collection in Gratz College. For decades these volumes were considered lost due to rumors about a fire at the Gratz College library a few years after their arrival. Prof. Seroussi who located the books on one of the shelves notified the son of cantor Hugo Chaim Adler, the notorious American composer Prof. Samuel Adler, who tells in front of a camera the extraordinary story about the fate of the re-discovered volumes: