The Wiener Library

Photograph of the Reading Room in the Library
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The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide is one of the world's leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era. The Library's unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony. It provides a resource to oppose antisemitism and other forms of prejudice and racism.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive, Museum

Opening hours

Monday to Friday 10.00-17.00
Tuesday 10.00-19.30

Closed: Bank Holidays
First day of Rosh Hashanah
First day of Yom Kippur
Christmas & New Year

Admission charges

Free entry to the public.
Photo ID and proof of address/letter of introduction required on first visit.
Only Members or Friends of the Library are permitted to borrow books.

Getting there

By tube:
• Russell Square (Piccadilly line)
• Goodge Street (Northern line)
• St Pancras International (Metropolitan, Northern, Circle, Victoria and Hammersmith & City lines)

By bus:
The following buses stop nearby:
7, 59, 68, X68, 91, 168, 188

Access:
In 2011 the Library moved to new premises in a historic location in Russell Square.
• There is a disabled lift outside of the building, and once inside the building, all floors are accessible via the indoor lift.
• There are adapted toilets on the basement level.
• The nearest step-free underground station is King’s Cross, St Pancras.

The Wiener Library collects material related to the Holocaust, its causes and legacies. The Library has holdings of approx 65,000 items searchable online including books, pamphlets, periodicals and documents. The collection includes rare eye-witness accounts and an extensive press cuttings archive. The Library holds a photo archive of over 10,000 images, in the process of being digitised and made accessible through the website. Up to one third of the collection contains pre-war material and the Library continues to add to its collections.

Collection details

Archives, Photography, Religion, Social History, World Cultures

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
London 1938: Defending 'Degenerate' German Art

London 1938: Defending 'Degenerate' German Art

  • 13 June — 14 September 2018 *on now

The Wiener Library’s summer 2018 exhibition explores the history and context of an exhibition held in 1938 at the New Burlington Galleries in London entitled Twentieth Century German Art. 2018 marks the eightieth anniversary of this exhibition, which was the most prominent international response to the Nazi campaign against ‘degenerate’ art. It remains the largest display of twentieth-century German art ever staged in Britain.The show featured over three hundred examples of modern German art, by exactly those artists who had faced persecution in Germany: the exhibition in London in 1938 was an attempt to defend them and their work on a world stage.

The Wiener Library’s exhibition tells the story of the Third Reich’s campaign against ‘degenerate’ art and this response in London in 1938. The exhibition features a number of the original artworks from the New Burlington Galleries’ exhibition, including works by Emil Nolde and Max Slevogt, presented with the stories of their lenders in 1938. The show will also include items from The Wiener Library’s unique archival collections.

Admission

Free admission, no booking required

Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm
Tue: 10am-7:30pm

Free exhibition and archive tour Tuesdays at 1pm

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/London-1938

Michael Tymkiw's Nazi Exhibition Design and Modernism

Nazi Exhibition Design and Modernism

  • 29 August 2018 6:30-8pm

National Socialist exhibitions are largely known for their role in attacking modern art. What is less widely known, however, is that many Nazi exhibitions beyond the fine arts served as surprising sites of formal experimentation for artists, architects, and graphic designers to draw upon and reconfigure modernist ideas and practices. As this talk will explain, a core motivation behind such experimentation was the interest in provoking forms of “engaged spectatorship”—attempts to elicit experiences among exhibition visitors that would spark their desire to become involved in wider processes of social and political change.

Admission

Free, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=407

Prof Tim Cole and Prof Alberto Giordano's GIS work

Space and Place in Holocaust Studies: What We Have Learned and Future Research

  • 4 September 2018 From 6pm

This lecture will draw on over ten years of collaborative interdisciplinary research to explore how a range of digital humanities approaches might help us better understand the events and experiences of the Holocaust.

Tim Cole and Alberto Giordano’s collaboration started by exploring how spatial analysis, GIS and geo-visualization might contribute to a geographical study of the Holocaust at a variety of scales ranging from the continental through to the individual. While this phase of the research shed light on the structural aspects of the Holocaust—and especially how the Holocaust was organized and carried out spatially—they realized that a quantitative approach tends to favour the perspective of the perpetrator.

For an integrated history of the Holocaust, it is essential to insert the perspective of the victim through the study of survivors’ testimonies. Mirroring the organization of the first phase of their research, they are tackling this issue simultaneously at a variety of scales, through both a close reading of individual testimonies and the use of corpus linguistics, social network analysis, and other techniques to scale up from one testimony to hundreds and thousands of narratives. Thus, thus aim at an integrated geography of the Holocaust as well as an integrated history of the event.

In this lecture, Cole and Giordano will make the case for such an approach through the combination of a spatial approach to the study of the Holocaust with one that is explicitly based on the construction of the places of the Holocaust by victims, bystanders, and perpetrators.

Chaired by: Prof Marilyn Deegan, Professor of Digital Humanities and Honorary Research Fellow, King’s College London.

Admission

Free, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=403

Jewish prisoners in the Drancy camp. France, between 1941 and 1944.

A Spatial History of Drancy: Architecture, Appropriation and Memory

  • 6 September 2018 6:30-8pm

Drancy’s name is now synonymous with the internment and deportation of Jews in France. From the summer of 1941 to 1944, 67,000 of the 75,000 Jews deported from France under Nazi occupation were apprehended in Drancy. Those detained in the improvised, ill-equipped camp were held—from several hours to three years—before being deported ‘east’. The U-shaped concrete complex used was, paradoxically, conceived as a model city, named the Cité de la Muette. A celebrated design in the 1930s promoting a utopian vision for self-contained, integrated community living—the work of French architects Marcel Lods and Eugène Beaudouin—the mass housing building development in Drancy was never completed as expected, and never occupied as intended.

This lecture begins by examining the time before the Holocaust, when this targeted area on the periphery of Paris strived to be a place of hope, modernity and progress. Drawing on numerous survivor testimonies, the spatial experiences of those interned in the repurposed internment camp will be discussed. The period following the intervention of war and trauma of deportations, where the Cité de la Muette emerged as a complex site of memory and reflection, will later be explored, including the first permanent memorial placed in the 1970s, the discovery of the Drancy ‘graffiti’ in the 1990s, and the more recently opened purpose-built Drancy Memorial Museum. In evaluating the spatial history of Drancy, this lecture examines the social, cultural and human implication of this conflicted, multi-dimensional site.

Admission

Free, booking essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=400

Elisabeth Gifford's The Good Doctor of Warsaw

Book Talk: The Good Doctor of Warsaw

  • 20 September 2018 6:30-8pm

In this event Elisabeth Gifford will speak about her new book The Good Doctor of Warsaw, which is based on the true story of one of Poland's greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak.

Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha's mentor, Dr Janusz Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls.

Admission

Free, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=402

Hermann Gutmann's 1941 diary © Naomi Levy

The Shifting Policy of British Internment and Deportation, 1939-1940

  • 9 October 2018 6:30-8pm

Joint event with the Second Generation Network

Why were German and Austrian Jewish refugees interned? Why were so many deported out of the country? Roger Kershaw, who has written extensively on the subjects of immigration, emigration and aliens, will talk about the policy of internment during the Second World War and the invaluable family and political research resource that is The National Archives.

Naomi Levy, whose German-born father, then Hermann Gutmann, was deported to Australia on HMT Dunera, will talk about his experience of internment there based on his 1941 Diary. Does your family also have a Diary or other memorabilia connected to British internment during WWII? If so, please do bring it along as there will be an opportunity to share and chat following the talks.

Admission

Free admission, registration essential.

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=399

Michael Rosen

Book Talk: So They Call You Pisher!

  • 11 October 2018 6:30-8pm

Writer and broadcaster, Michael Rosen presents his memoir, So They Call You Pisher! (Verso Books). In the midst of the Rosens' often hilarious north London life, there was a mystery: what happened to his paternal grandfather's side of the family? Thanks to some old postcards turning up ten years ago, some photos sealed up in a cupboard in Connecticut for 70 years, and The Wiener Library itself, he started to piece together what grandfather Morris had been up to in the USA, and ultimately what befell Morris's brothers and sisters in Poland and France. But why did he spend so much time and effort trying to find out?

Admission

Free, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=406

Defendant Herta Oberhauser is sentenced to twenty years in prison by the Military Tribunal I at the Doctors Trial.

The Female Doctors and Nurses of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

  • 16 October 2018 2-3:30pm

During the Third Reich, a handful of female doctors and nurses worked at Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. Some of these women assisted in the human experiments that took place at the camp, administered lethal injections to prisoners, and deliberately withheld medication. But who were these women, and how did they end up working at a concentration camp?

The backgrounds of these female medical personnel, their paths to Ravensbrück, and their experiences as workers in the camp hospital, known as the Revier, varied quite substantially between individuals. However, what unites their journeys is that all were impacted by contemporary constructs of gender while they worked in the Revier; namely, these women experienced at least some level of subordination to their male counterparts. Yet this differed significantly between individuals, and, on an individualistic basis, over time. But we must move beyond the tropes of subordination/domination entirely in order to obtain a more nuanced understanding of the interactions between the medical staff in the Revier, especially given that individual women and men did not always perceive these themes as particularly prominent in their testimonies after the war. Other notable tropes, apart from subordination/domination, were evident in their recollections, such as differing medical ideologies and romantic love.

This argument will be formulated through engagement with a variety of sources, including survivor testimony, documents from the post-war Ravensbrück and Nuremberg Trials, and oral history. Analysing the Revier through the lens of gender not only allows us to obtain a wider knowledge of who participated in Nazi crimes, but also enables the gleaning of similarities between certain gender constructs in concentration camps and in wider society.

Admission

Free, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=413

Synagogue alight in Germany during Kristallnacht

Curator’s Talk: Shattered: Pogrom, November 1938

  • 18 October 2018 6:30-8pm

In this talk, The Wiener Library’s curators explore the genesis and development of the Library’s latest exhibition Shattered: Pogrom, November 1938, which examines the origins, events and legacies of Kristallnacht. The talk will showcase the Library’s extensive collections relating to Kristallnacht, including over 350 eyewitness testimonies collected in the immediate days and weeks after the events of November 1938. These testimonies were collected under the direction of Alfred Wiener, founder of The Wiener Library and a campaigner against Nazism and fascism. Find out more about the personal histories, collections and themes that feature in the exhibition.

Admission

Free, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=409

Anthony Grenville's Encounters with Albion: Britain and the British in Texts by Jewish Refugees from Nazism

Encounters with Albion: Britain and the British in Texts by Jewish Refugees from Nazism

  • 31 October 2018 6:30-8pm

While much has been written about British attitudes to the Jewish refugees from Hitler who fled to this country after 1933, little attention has been paid to the ways in which those refugees perceived and depicted their (often somewhat reluctant) hosts. From their impressions on arrival, through the tumultuous events of World War II and mass internment, and on into the long period of integration after 1945, Anthony Grenville expertly traces the development of refugee responses to their new homeland. Drawing on a wide range of novels, autobiographies, memoirs, diaries and letters by Jewish refugees, he recreates the course of a complex and sometimes fraught relationship, but one that ultimately arrived at a largely settled resolution.

Admission

Free, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=408

Medical Globetrotters and Persevering Women From Galicia

Medical Globetrotters and Persevering Women From Galicia

  • 1 November 2018 6:30-8pm

Over centuries, Jewish medical practitioners faced contrasting attitudes of their brethren or society at large: from being admired to looked upon with a deep suspicion. Starting in the 16th century, aspiring Jewish men from Galicia and Lithuania ventured to Padua University to study medicine, while other schools barred Jews across Europe. From the end of the 18th century, the next generations attended Habsburg universities: from Lemberg/Lwów and Kraków to Vienna and Pest. Jewish surgeons and physicians influenced Galician life far beyond their medical talents. They served as intercessors (shtadlanim) for their communities; later, many nineteenth-century medical practitioners advocated religious and civic reforms. Their literary expressions—in German, Hebrew, or Polish—provoked fierce debates or reflections. At the turn of the 20th century, Jewish women sought university education in medicine, changing societal and family norms.

In this talk, we will discover surprising details about these Jewish globetrotters and intellectual rebels brought to light through newly uncovered records.

Admission

Free, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=411

Austerity Baby

Book Talk: Austerity Baby

  • 15 November 2018 From 6:30pm

The book is best described as an oblique memoir. It is essentially a family history, but one that is digressive in many ways. The central underlying and repeated themes of the book are exile and displacement; lives (and deaths) during the Third Reich; mother-daughter and sibling relationships; the generational transmission of trauma and experience; transatlantic reflections; and the struggle for creative expression. Other stories are told in the course of the narrative include the internment of aliens in Britain in 1940; cultural life in Rochester, New York in the 1920s; the social and personal meanings of colour(s); reflections on the lives and images of spinsters.

There are two hundred colour images in the book (photographs, paintings, facsimile documents), some of which will be included in the presentation.

Admission

Free, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=412

Paul Samuel Blach and Hedwig Wertheim with their children Cornelia and Rudolph, who came to Britain on the Kindertransport in 1938.

Memorial Concert for the 80th Anniversary of the Kindertransport

  • 22 November 2018 6:30-9pm

The Wiener Library is delighted to announce details of a special memorial concert to mark the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht and the Kindertransport. The concert will take place in the beautiful sanctuary of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London, on 22 November 2018, one day after the official anniversary of the Kindertransport debate in Parliament.

The evening will begin with a drinks reception at 6.30pm, with special guests, including Dame Esther Rantzen DBE. The concert that follows will consist of an exclusive, one-off performance by two acclaimed German musicians who have come specially for this occasion: cellist Friederike Fechner, and composer, conductor and pianist Mathias Husmann.

The performance promises to be particularly poignant as Friederike Fechner has recently helped to reunite the descendants of the Blach family, originally of Stralsund, through her research. Multiple branches of the Blach family were torn apart by Nazi persecution, and many members of the family did not survive the Holocaust. Two of the children, Cornelia and Rudolph, survived by coming to Britain on the Kindertransport. Another descendant, AJR trustee Gaby Glassman, is co-organising this special evening.

Where

Liberal Jewish Synagogue
St John's Wood Road
London
NW8 7HA

Admission

£30

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=410

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Online Learning Materials

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/wls.aspx

A selection of the Wiener Library's unique stories and materials are now remotely accessible to anyone who wishes to learn more about the Holocaust and the Nazi era. The site allows users to trace different topics interactively, as well as providing background information on connected themes. The materials currently include detailed information on 'Childhood under the Swastika', 'Helping the Survivors' and the fascinating story of German-Jewish factory owner Ludwig Neumann.

Creator

  • The Wiener Library

How to obtain

The Wiener Library Learning Materials are freely accessible to everyone via the Wiener Library website.

Getting there

By tube:
• Russell Square (Piccadilly line)
• Goodge Street (Northern line)
• St Pancras International (Metropolitan, Northern, Circle, Victoria and Hammersmith & City lines)

By bus:
The following buses stop nearby:
7, 59, 68, X68, 91, 168, 188

Access:
In 2011 the Library moved to new premises in a historic location in Russell Square.
• There is a disabled lift outside of the building, and once inside the building, all floors are accessible via the indoor lift.
• There are adapted toilets on the basement level.
• The nearest step-free underground station is King’s Cross, St Pancras.

The Wiener Library
29 Russell Square
London
Greater London
WC1B 5DP
England

Website

www.wienerlibrary.co.uk

E-mail

info@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Telephone

020 7636 7247

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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