The German Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (VDA) is delighted to announce that Dr. Michael Knoche and Professor Dr. Reiner Speck have been awarded the ILAB Patron of Honour for their outstanding contributions to the world of books and the antiquarian book trade.
Dr. Michael Knoche is director of the Anna Amalia Library in Weimar. When the library was burnt down in 2004 he himself rescued some of the extremely rare books which were kept there, among them the first edition of Martin Luther’s bible from the year 1534. Dr. Michael Knoche risked his own life to save the life of the books which are part of the German cultural heritage. Since then, he has been responsible for the rebuilding of the library, the restoration of the books which were damaged by fire and water, and the acquisition of new books to compensate the irretrievable losses. Under Michael Knoche’s guidance the history of the Anna Amalia Library has become the shining example of a resurrection. Today the beautiful Rococo library is open to visitors again, many of the books have been restored and put back into the shelves, others have still to be repaired, and the Anna Amalia Library has become a most famous place for scientific research again.
Professor Dr. Reiner Speck is not only an internationally renowned scientist and author of numerous books, articles, lectures, essays and reviews on medicine, art and literature. He owns the world’s famous collections of Petrarca and Marcel Proust. And even more important: Reiner Speck, founder of the German Marcel Proust Society and the Dr. Speck Literary Foundation, does not keep his treasures in secret. His Bibliotheca Proustiana and his Bibliotheca Petrarchesca are presented to the public in a magnificent library building created by one of Germany’s foremost modern architects, Oswald Mathias Ungers. This „casa senza qualità” is more than a library and a museum: It is a centre of research and the very heart of book collecting and bibliophily in Germany.
ILAB Patrons of Honour have not only achieved world renown in their own fields, they are scholars, scientists, authors, artists, editors, librarians - and book collectors. Through their avid devotion to the world of books and manuscripts they have become our customers, partners and inspiration. Without them our book culture, the antiquarian book trade and bibliophily would be poorer, or non-existent. Their collections, libraries and foundations, the books and bibliographies they write and publish, enrich our cultural life, and even more: They lay the cornerstone for a lively book culture of our future generations. For this, the ILAB Patrons of Honour deserve our sincere gratitude.
(Official press release of the German Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association VDA).