[CAUCASUS / TALES] Märchen aus Lasistan. [i.e. Fairy tales from Lazistan]: Sonderabdruck aus den Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien, Bd. LXIX)

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SEPP [JOSEPH] FINGER, (1901-1962), Ahnenerbe-Stiftung Verlag, Berlin C2, Wien, 1939.

Contemporary black cloth bdg. Original covers in binding. 4to. (27,5 x 20 cm). In German. 173-224 pp. Ownership signature on colophon, some underlined sentences, and markings. Otherwise a good copy.

Exceedingly rare separatum of collected and compiled 27 Laz (Lazuri) fairy and folk tales around Rize area of Turkey as well as an introduction and short information on folklorists of Lazistan by Finger.

From introduction: "Die nachstehenden Märchen wurden von mir im Jahre 1934 in der kleinen Nahie Kurayiseb'a, etwa 80 km landeinwarts von Rize am Kalopotamos gelegen, aufgezeichnet. Der kleine Han, der wir dort durch etwa 14 Tage bewohnten, war abends Treffpunkt der Jugend des Ortes, und die Märchen wurden mir im Austausch gegen deutsche Sagen und Märchen, die ich erzahlte, mitgeteilt." [i.e. The following fairy tales were recorded by me in 1934 in the small town Kurayiseb'a, about 80 km inland from Rize on the Kalopotamos. Little Han, which we lived there for about 14 days, was the evening meeting place for the local youth, and the fairy tales were given to me in exchange for German sagas and fairy tales that I told].

Josef (Sepp) Finger studied at the Handelsakademie and was employed from 1919 in a Vienna bank. In 1926 he emigrated to Turkey, living in Ankara and Constantinople (Istanbul), traveling around Asia Minor, and working for the Deutsche Orientbank. From 1927 he worked at the Austrian legation in Turkey and the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in Istanbul and he also organized a zoological study trip through Anatolia. He returned to Vienna at the end of 1934 and was employed by the Österreichisches Verkehrsbüro. After the annexation of Austria, he was employed initially at the Feinstahlwerke in Traisen, Lower Austria, and then as an export manager in Vienna. Finger, who spoke Turkish and several European languages, was employed in 1939 as an interpreter in the Vienna Gestapo censorship department and also joined the SS Security Service (SD) that year. He attended the SS leadership school in Fulda in 1941 and was promoted to SS-Obersturmführer. In 1943/44 he published extensive travel reports, particularly about Turkey, in the Völkischer Beobachter. Until September 1944 he worked in the press censorship department of the Vienna Gestapo and later in Department (Amt) IV (Gestapo) of the Reich Security Main Office in Berlin. He moved to the anti-Communist Department (Amt) VI in February 1945. His last posting was in the special department for combating Austrian resistance. From February 1946 to July 1947 he was detained in the Marcus W. Orr US internment camp in Glasenbach near Salzburg. He said nothing there or during registration as a Nazi about his career in the Gestapo and ultimately lived under a false identity in the Saalfelden area. In 1947 he was transferred to the prison of the Landesgericht für Strafsachen (provincial court for criminal matters) in Vienna, and Volksgericht proceedings were instituted against him under §§ 8, 10, and 11 of the Prohibition Act (registration fraud, illegality, and qualified illegality). Finger claimed that he had been sent to the Gestapo by the employment department and had been used there merely for "subordinate activities". In 1949 the public prosecutor's office in Vienna dropped the case.

On several occasions between 1935 and 1944, Finger had given or sold the Museum für Völkerkunde (Museum of Ethnology, now Weltmuseum Wien) objects from the Caucasus, Asia Minor, Persia, and the Middle East. The objects were not identified as having been expropriated by the Nazis, and it is most likely that Finger acquired them during his long sojourns abroad. The Art Restitution Advisory Board took note of a report on the ethnographic items in the Weltmuseum from Finger on 30 November 2012 and a dossier on textiles in the MAK on 26 September 2014. (Lexikon Provenienzforschung online).

Only one copy in OCLC: 560570599 (The British Library, St. Pancras of London).