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 The Library's unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony.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.
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 *on now

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

Andrew Zalewski's book cover

Jewish Galicia (1772–1918): Vibrant Past Rediscovered

  • 2 May 2017 6:30-8pm

In this talk, Andrew Zalewski will intertwine genealogical discoveries with a broader historical context to bring to life the Jewish community of Galicia during the era of Austrian rule.

Galicia, annexed into the Habsburg Monarchy in 1772, was home to a large and diverse Jewish community: by the twentieth century, approximately 10% of the population of Galicia was Jewish.

Andrew Zalewski, author of two books on his Jewish roots in Galicia, explores the impact of Habsburg rule and the ‘Jewish enlightenment’. Habsburg imperial edicts were both stifling and inspiring for the Jewish community in Galicia – the laws about Jewish marriages, surnames, schools, and military service brought dizzying pace of changes but also controversies. From the inside the community, there was a wave of the Galician Enlightenment (Haskalah) – biting satires by local Jewish cultural rebels were met with condemnations and counterattack. The community was vibrant and diverse: professionals, pious traditionalists and reformers, dwellers of shetls and cities, and passionate arguments about language, customs, and loyalties easily erupted. But even in difficult times, there were brave voices that spoke loudly against prejudice.

Based on expanded research to the speaker’s recently published book Galician Portraits: In Search of Jewish Roots, the talk is illustrated by many pictures, historical documents, and old maps of Galicia.

Admission

Reserve tickets via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=317

Book cover showing Bela Guttman with title of book "The Greatest Comeback" in red text.

Book Launch: The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory

  • 18 May 2017 6:30-8pm

The Wiener Library is pleased to host the launch of David Bolchover’s book, The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory, an extraordinary and compelling account of the life of football coach Béla Guttman.

Béla Guttmann was the first of a breed of globe-trotting superstar football coaches, achieving his greatest successes before Pep Guardiola or José Mourinho were even born.

He was also a Holocaust survivor. In 1944, much of Europe had wanted Guttmann dead. He hid for months in an attic near Budapest as thousands of fellow Jews in the neighbourhood were dragged off to be murdered. Later, he escaped from a slave labour camp before a planned deportation and almost certain death. His father, sister and wider family were murdered.

But by 1961, as coach of Benfica, he had lifted Europe’s greatest sporting prize, the European Cup, a feat he repeated the following year. From the death pits of Europe to champion of Europe in little more than sixteen years, Guttmann performed the greatest comeback in football history.

The launch will include opening remarks by Daniel Finkelstein OBE as well as by author David Bolchover.

David Bolchover is an author and commentator. He has published three previous books, including the bestselling 90-Minute Manager, which explored the various management styles of the great football coaches. He has written for a number of leading newspapers, such as The Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times, and has frequently appeared on the BBC, Sky and other broadcast outlets.

Admission

Reserve tickets via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=318

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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