The Wiener 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 The Library's unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony.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 anti-Semitism 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

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Line drawing showing woman with two planes overhead.

One Family, Three Cities, Six Years of War

  • 1 March — 28 April 2017 *on now

This exhibition traces the story of one family’s experiences of separation, persecution and survival during the Second World War and the Holocaust: the family of Franciszka Themerson and her niece Jasia Reichardt.

Originally from Warsaw, artist and illustrator Franciszka Themerson found herself alone in London during the war, separated from her husband, writer and film-maker Stefan Themerson, who was stranded in southern France, and the rest of her family, trapped inside the Warsaw Ghetto.

As deportation from the Ghetto intensified in the summer of 1942, Franciszka’s nine-year old niece Jasia Reichardt escaped. Jasia’s remarkable ’15 Journeys’ took her from the Ghetto in 1942 to London in 1946, where she was reunited with her aunt and uncle, as described in her 2012 memoir. From 1942-1946, Jasia experienced life in hiding, and finally lived in convents under an assumed Catholic identity.

This exhibition features family documents and photographs, and showcases some of the work of this highly creative family. There is also a display of sixteen original drawings made by Franciszka Themerson in London between 1940 and 1942, the drawings she called her ‘Unposted Letters’ to her husband separated from her in France.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • 18+

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/one-family

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.
Book cover of Concentration Camps: A Short History

Book Launch: Concentration Camps: A Short History

  • 9 March 2017 6:30-8pm

The Wiener Library is pleased to launch the most recent book by Dan Stone, Professor of Modern History at Royal Holloway University of London. The book launch will include a talk by Professor Stone, followed by a reception with light refreshments.

Concentration camps are a relatively new invention, a recurring feature of twentieth century warfare, and one that is important to the modern global consciousness and identity. Although the most famous concentration camps are those under the Nazis, the use of concentration camps originated several decades before the Third Reich, in the Philippines and in the Boer War, and they have been used again in numerous locations, not least during the genocide in Bosnia. They have become defining symbols of humankind's lowest point and basest acts.

In this book, Dan Stone gives a global history of concentration camps, and shows that it is not only "mad dictators" who have set up camps, but instead all varieties of states, including liberal democracies, that have made use of them. Setting concentration camps against the longer history of incarceration, he explains how the ability of the modern state to control populations led to the creation of this extreme institution. Looking at their emergence and spread around the world, Stone argues that concentration camps serve the purpose, from the point of view of the state in crisis, of removing a section of the population that is perceived to be threatening, traitorous, or diseased. Drawing on contemporary accounts of camps, as well as the philosophical literature surrounding them, Stone considers the story camps tell us about the nature of the modern world as well as about specific regimes.

Dan Stone is Professor of Modern History at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he is also Director of the Holocaust Research Centre. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, including Histories of the Holocaust (OUP, 2010) and The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and its Aftermath (Yale, 2015), and some seventy scholarly articles. He is currently the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship, working on a project on the International Tracing Service.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Reserve free tickets via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=310

Drawing of the Orchestra of Auschwitz

Talk: The Orchestras of Auschwitz

  • 20 March 2017 6:30-8:30pm

The Orchestras of Auschwitz is an opera-ballet production that memorialises the Jewish musicians imprisoned in Auschwitz-Birkenau who were forced to play each day as slave labour commandos set off to and returned from their work. The production will focus on the Sunday concerts given by the camp’s orchestra and vocal soloists, drawing on original music written in the camp itself. Elements of the score will include an original composition in memory of Sir Martin Gilbert, renowned Holocaust historian.

In this talk, Constella OperaBallet will give an introduction and overview of the project, including information about Sir Martin Gilbert's work. Speakers will include Lady Esther Gilbert, Leo Geyer (Artistic Director) Anna Whyatt (Project Director and Dramaturge), and Ella Marchment (Production Director) Constella OperaBallet.

Admission

Admission free but please reserve tickets via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=307

Photograph of Jan Karski

Who Owns Jan Karski? The Controversy Around the Man Who Tried to Stop the Holocaust

  • 23 March 2017 From 6pm

6:00pm - 6:30pm = Exhibition View
6:30pm - 8:00pm = Talk by Dr Helena Duffy

Jan Karski (1914–2000) was a Polish diplomat and resister who in 1942 and 1943 undertook to inform the Western Allies about the extermination of Jews that was being carried out by the Germans in the occupied Poland. As we know, Karski’s mission was hardly successful, which left the Polish hero with an enduring sense of guilt and failure. Another attempt to rally support for the causes Karski championed was his bestselling book, Story of the Secret State (1944). Yet, like his diplomatic mission, his memoirs achieved little in practical terms. Karski’s engagement with the Jewish cause was officially acknowledged in 1982 when he was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations, and when in 1994 he was made an honorary citizen of Israel. Then, in 2002 a statue of Jan Karski was unveiled in Washington and in 2012 Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Polish courier the Presidential Medal for Freedom. It is also in order to honour Karski’s courage and moral integrity that in 2009 French writer Yannick Haenel published a novel celebrating the Polish hero’s commitment to saving Europe’s Jews. At first favourably received, Jan Karski then caused a storm in the French media where the book was attacked by, amongst other, eminent figures such as Claude Lanzmann and Annette Wieviorka; the critics reproached Haenel for having distorted historical reality and misrepresented Karski himself. It is the aim of this presentation to shed some light on the heated debate surrounding Haenel’s controversial take on Karski’s story and, if possible, to evaluate the French writer’s contribution to preserving the legacy of the Polish resister and, more broadly, the memory of Holocaust victims.

Speaker:

Dr Helena Duffy is a Marie Skłodowska–Curie Research Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she is affiliated to the Holocaust Research Institute. She is working with Prof. Robert Eaglestone on an EU–funded project concerned with French Holocaust fiction. She is particularly interested in the interplay between the thematics and postmodern aesthetics of contemporary literature dealing with the Occupation of France and the Shoah, and with the potential ethical implications of this literature for Holocaust memory.

Please note that the talk by Dr Helena Duffy will commence at 6:30pm.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Reserve your free ticket via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=311

Photograph of Dr Joanna B. Michlic

Talk: Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Some Vignettes of Jewish Children’s Lives in Early Postwar Poland

  • 28 March 2017 6-8pm

6:00pm - 6:30pm = Exhibition View
6:30pm - 8:00pm = Talk by Dr Joanna B. Michlic

In this talk, Dr Joanna B. Michlic examines the situation of Jewish child survivors in Poland in the early postwar period. She argues that each of the young survivors had his own or her own special life story that consisted of a unique universe of experiences, interactions, reactions, and beliefs. Yet at the same time, certain patterns in the children’s relations with the adult world in the early postwar period can be delineated, allowing us to conceptualize the macro-history of Jewish child survivors in that period. Starting life anew was a turbulent process, filled with enthusiasm, naiveté, trust, and hope on the one hand, and with fear, uncertainty, and emotional upheaval on the other. Child survivors’ accounts attest to the great vulnerability of children in the adult world not only during the war-time era, but also during the early post-war period.

Speaker

Joanna Beata Michlic is a social and cultural historian, and founder and Director of HBI (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute) Project on Families, Children, and the Holocaust at Brandeis University. She teaches at the Leo Baeck College in London and is an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the UCL Centre for the Study of Collective Violence, the Holocaust and Genocide, UCL Institute for Advances Studies, London. Her latest publication is Jewish Family 1939 –Present: History, Representation, and Memory, Brandeis University Press/NEUP, January 2017. Her other major publications include: Poland’s Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present, (its Polish translation was nominated for a prestigious history book award of Kazimierz Moczarski in 2016), and Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, co-edited with John-Paul Himka (Lincoln, NUP, 2012).

Please note that the talk begins at 6:30pm

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Reserve your free tickets via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=312

Francizska Themerson with Stephen Bann at 28 Warrington Crescent, London, photographed by Stefan Themerson in 1977.

Talk: The Themersons - At Home and Abroad

  • 25 April 2017 6:30am-8pm

6:00pm - 6.30pm – Exhibition view

6.30pm - 8:00pm – Talk

Part of the Wiener Library’s One Family, Three Cities, Six Years of War exhibition series.

This talk explores the unique contribution that the artists, writers, film-makers and publishers Franciszka (1907-1988) and Stefan Themerson (1910-1988) made to literary and artistic life in Britain. The Themersons were part of the wave of émigrés and refugees who fled from Hitler’s Europe to Britain, and so enriched culture here in the post-war period.

Franciszka and Stefan Themerson were originally from Warsaw and married in 1931. They spent much of the 1930s making experimental films in Poland. In 1938, Franciszka and Stefan moved to Paris in order to pursue their work at the centre of the art world. Following the German invasion of France in 1940, Franciszka escaped to London to work for the Polish Government in Exile, whilst Stefan was left stranded in France, having joined the Polish Army in France. During this period, Franciszka produced a remarkable series of drawings reflecting on her experiences and their separation, the Unposted Letters, which feature in the Wiener Library’s One Family, Three Cities, Six Years of War exhibition. The couple were reunited in 1942 in London, where they started to rebuild their lives, together and independently. In 1948, they founded Gaberbocchus Press, the first avant-garde press in Britain. They published the first English translations of Alfred Jarry, Kurt Schwitters and Raymond Queneau, alongside producing artworks and their own publications.

Professor Stephen Bann is Emeritus Professor of History of Art at the University of Bristol, where he was previously the Chair in History of Art. Since 2000, he has held visiting fellowships and appointments at some of the most prominent Research Institutes in Europe and America. He edited the first international anthology of concrete poetry to be published in Britain in 1967, and a major anthology of twentieth-century avant-garde writings, The Tradition of Constructivism, in 1974. He also curated the showing of his own collection of works by Ian Hamilton Finlay at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, in 2014/15, and has recently published two volumes of his correspondence with Finlay (1964-69 and 1970-72).

Professor Bann first met Stefan and Franciszka Themerson in the early 1960s, when he was an undergraduate at Cambridge helping to run the Society of Arts. Stefan Themerson came to Cambridge at the Society’s invitation to give a lecture on Kurt Schwitters. Stephen Bann subsequently also reviewed a small clutch of Gaberbocchus publications for the magazine Granta. Contact between Bann and the Themersons continued over the succeeding decades, and Stephen curated the first American exhibition of Franciszka’s works in New York in 1977/78.

Supported by GV Art London.

Please note that the talk by Professor Stephen Bann will commence at 6:30pm.

Admission

Admission free but reserve tickets via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=316

Cover of Sands East West Street

East West Street: Philippe Sands in conversation with Daniel Finkelstein

  • 27 April 2017 6:30-8pm

Human rights lawyer Philippe Sands will discuss his book, newly available in paperback, East West Street, which explores the creation and development of world-changing legal concepts that came about as a result of the unprecedented atrocities of Hitler’s Third Reich, with Daniel Finkelstein OBE. Winner of the 2016 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, East West Street is part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller. Philippe Sands guides us between past and present as several interconnected stories unfold in parallel. The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trial, that the man they are prosecuting may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide' in the judgement at Nuremberg. The defendant, Hans Frank, Hitler's personal lawyer and Governor-General of Nazi-occupied Poland, turns out to be an equally compelling character.

A Professor of law at University College London, Philippe Sands QC has written widely on the subject of international law as well as participating in major legal cases with global implications, including taking part in the 1992 Climate Change Convention and legal cases concerning the Belmarsh and Guantánamo detainees. Daniel Finkelstein OBE is a Conservative Member of the House of Lords and weekly columnist, leader writer and Associate Editor of The Times. Before joining the paper in 2001, he was adviser to both Prime Minister John Major and Conservative leader William Hague. Daniel was named Political Commentator of the Year at the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards 2011 and 2012.

Admission

£5.00, tickets available via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=313

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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