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Rare books

By the start of World War II, the Palaces book collection consisted of over 30,000 items, incorporating libraries of historical and scholarly books. The entire book collection, totaling 6,474 items, was inventoried and became part of the museums holdings.
During the war, only a few hundred books were able to be evacuated. Some books were burned while others were plundered and taken to Germany. Books that were found in Austria after the war and those that survived the fire were transferred to the Central Storage facility for property of museums in the environs of Leningrad, which later, in the 1950s, distributed the books among different libraries and museums. An inventory conducted in 1938 helped to identify 3,083 books marked as returned, which amounts to nearly half of the pre-war original collection. Out of these books 1,832 volumes are now stored in a special collection for rare books, while the remaining 1,251 books remain in libraries and museums across the country.
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