Arthur Goldschmidt, a Leipzig dealer in animal feed and an exporter to South America, was more passionate about books than business. His private collection numbered 40,000 carefully indexed volumes and he engaged a librarian to take care of it.
After the Nazis seized power in 1933, Goldschmidt was persecuted as a Jew; his assets were liquidated and his company confiscated. For survival, he sold his treasured collection of 2,000 almanacs -- spanning three centuries -- for a pittance to the Goethe and Schiller Archive in Weimar. He fled in 1938.