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 The Library's unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony.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:
We have recently moved to new premises in a historic location on Russell Square. At this time, access for some disabled people is limited and we encourage visitors to contact us in advance if they are concerned about access.
•The ground floor exhibition area is accessible only by a flight of five steps. We will be installing step-free access in Spring 2012. Once inside the building, all areas are accessible to wheelchairs via the 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.

A Bitter Road: Britain and the Refugee Crisis of the 1930s and 1940s

  • 27 October 2016 — 17 February 2017 *on now

At a time when violence and upheaval in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and elsewhere have created an upsurge in the number of refugees, many look to historical examples for potential continuities and solutions. Conflict and war, political, religious and ethnic persecution have always caused the displacement of populations. Civilians are forced from their homes, fearing for their safety and future.

This exhibition examines responses to Jewish and other refugees in Britain during the 1930s and 1940s. Built on the rich collection of refugee sources held by the Wiener Library, the exhibition explores a number of themes, including governmental policy on asylum and the kinds of assistance offered by humanitarian aid organisations at the international, national and local level.

A Bitter Road also looks closely at the myriad experiences of Jewish refugees in Britain, including of surveillance and detention, poverty, separation and isolation. It highlights their resilience and means for coping with the hardships of integrating into a new society. Through the voices of refugees, A Bitter Road explores how refugees negotiated the road to safety and attempted to rebuild their lives.

This timely exhibition raises important questions about historical examples of forced migration and Britain’s response in the past – and how the past can inform our responses to refugees today.

Follow the hashtag #ABitterRoad on Twitter for updates and responses to this exhibition.

Purchase a copy of the exhibition catalogue for a selection of photographs and documents from our collections, personal refugee stories featured in the exhibition, and important historical context of Jewish refugees coming to Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. The catalogue is available to purchase at our Library's reception desk, amazon.co.uk and amazon.com.

Website

http://wienerlibrary.co.uk/a-bitter-road

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.

Free Library and Archive Tours

  • 31 January 2017 1-2pm
  • 7 February 2017 1-2pm
  • 14 February 2017 1-2pm
  • 21 February 2017 1-2pm
  • 28 February 2017 1-2pm

tour of The Wiener Library takes place every Tuesday at 1.00pm offering visitors an accompanied tour of our current exhibition, as well as a chance to see behind the scenes of the Library, including our archive storage areas in the Library's basement.

The tours are free of charge and do not need to be booked in advance. Anyone interested in joining a tour should gather in the Library's Reception at 1.00pm on Tuesday.

Dedicated group tours are also available for up to 25 people, although special arrangements can be made for larger groups. If you are interested in organising a group visit, please contact the Learning team at least two weeks in advance of your visit.

A full tour lasts approximately 40 minutes to an hour. If you have any special access requirements, we advise that you contact the Library in advance.

To book a tour please contact the Learning team [learning@wienerlibrary.co.uk] or call us on 020 7636 7247.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free entry, meet in Reception at 1pm

Leon Weinstein and daughter, Natasha, in Radzimin, Poland, 1947

Holocaust Memorial Day Event: Starting Over: Reconstituted Jewish Families After the Holocaust

  • 25 January 2017 6:30-8pm *on now

With an introduction by the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Nadia Shah

To mark the week of Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, The Wiener Library will host a special lecture by Dr Beth Cohen to reflect on the theme of ‘How can life go on?’.

In the postwar Displaced Persons camps, the birth rate of Jewish babies born to survivors was historically high. While this was true, Cohen provides an alternative narrative to the post-Holocaust picture of survivors’ renewal. She argues that many postwar Jewish families were built on the remnants of ruptured ones: widowed parents who remarried and became blended families of survivors that included children born before or during the war. What did this mean to child survivors who found themselves in new reconfigured groups composed of two-generations of survivors now under one roof? Synthesizing oral testimonies and archival documents, Cohen’s talk will highlight the complexity and long-lasting repercussions of rebuilt families from the children’s perspective.

Beth B. Cohen received her Master’s Degree in psychology from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Holocaust History from Clark University. After completing her PhD, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum awarded her a Life Reborn Fellowship where she completed her first book, Case Closed: Holocaust Survivors in Postwar America (2007).

Admission

Free entry but please visit The Wiener Library website to reserve your ticket.

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=295

Watching the Moon at Night poster

Film Screening: Watching the Moon at Night

  • 8 February 2017 6-8pm

Watching the Moon at Night – a 90 minute creative documentary with a personal tone, looks at contemporary terrorism and antisemitism. Filmed in six countries, Watching the Moon at Night focuses on the victims’ experiences and juxtaposes them against the views of world experts in this field. As a result, the film goes far beyond the stereotyped perception of terrorism.

Walter Laqueur, former director of The Wiener Library and the world-renowned German-Jewish historian, who left his native Breslau for Palestine on the day before Kristallnacht 1938, is one of the inspirations for Watching the Moon at Night. He is also an important participant in the film which explores the many faces of contemporary terrorism, its frequent connections to antisemitism, and its roots in the history of 20th century political violence.

The film will be accompanied by a Q&A with filmmakers Joanna Helander and Bo Persson.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Free but please visit the Wiener Library website to reserve your ticket

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=299

LGBT History Month logo 2017

LGBT History Month Talk: The Persecution of Gay Men and Lesbians under the Third Reich: (Re)-Examining the Historical Record and the Continued Effects in the Post-War Years

  • 9 February 2017 6:30-8pm

The Wiener Library and Holocaust Research Centre at Royal Holloway, University of London are pleased to co-host a special lecture by Professor William Spurlin for LGBT History Month. This lecture provides a contextual overview of the experiences of gay men and lesbians under National Socialism, especially the ways in which the Nazi regime targeted homosexual men, and the varying degrees of tolerance and actual persecution directed by the regime toward lesbians. However, the surveillance, management, prosecution, and punishment of same-sex affectional and erotic bonds must be understood in relation to the evidence of juridical laws and practices and their precedents in German cultural history, such as Paragraph 175 and its subsequent revision by the Nazis, as well as the perceived threat of homosexuality to racial and national fantasy, the family, reproductive and population politics, and the elimination of so-called social degeneracy. This means that Nazi homophobia, rather than being a separate axis of power, was part of a larger system of social and cultural organisation and was an effect of historically specific cultural, material, and ideological conditions.

At the same time, however, the historical record alone is not sufficient; feminist scholarship has already indicated that Holocaust research in general has not paid sufficient attention to the unique experiences of women under Nazism until recently given a (hetero-)masculinist bias in the narration of Holocaust history and a reluctance to address new questions, as well as elisions and ambiguities, in the interpretation of historical records and sources. Asking new questions about sexuality, for example, helps contest the prevailing notion that lesbians were not as systematically persecuted as gay men because lesbian sex was not specifically criminalised in the Reich Penal Code. This denies the historical fact of lesbian existence under National Socialism and lesbians’ lived experiences of displacement, forced migration, separation from lovers, and actual persecution and deportation.

Given that Nazi homophobia must not be reduced to a momentary aberration in history, the lecture will conclude by addressing the ways in which homophobia continued to find expression in the post-war criminalisation of homosexuality in both the former West and East Germany, as well as the failure to recognise more broadly across Europe the crimes perpetrated against gay and lesbian victims of Nazi atrocities. By illuminating the ways in which homophobia intersects with other forms of domination and continues to shape contemporary society and culture, and by approaching historical sources of the period with new questions about sexuality and gender, we deepen the meaning of the Holocaust and help shape its ongoing significance.

William J Spurlin is Professor of English and Director of Teaching and Learning for Arts & Humanities at Brunel University London. Previously, he was Professor of English at the University of Sussex, where he directed the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence & Cultural Change for five years (2006-2011). Professor Spurlin has written extensively on the politics of gender and sexual dissidence and is widely known for his work on queer theory. His latest monograph, Lost Intimacies: Rethinking Homosexuality under National Socialism (2009), uses queer theory as a hermeneutic tool with which to read against the grain of hetero-textual narratives of the Holocaust and as a way for locating sexuality at its intersections with race, gender, and eugenics within the National Socialist imaginary. His book also challenges prevailing assumptions in the received scholarship that lesbians were not as systematically persecuted by the Nazis. The research for Lost Intimacies was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the book is widely cited and has been reviewed in such journals as Men and Masculinities; German Studies Review; International Review of Social History; and Zeitscrift für Geschichtswissenscaft. Professor Spurlin gave a series of invited lectures on his work in Holocaust studies last year across New Zealand, sponsored by the New Zealand Holocaust Centre, at universities, in public forums, and at the International Lesbian and Gay Alliance (ILGA) conference for Oceania in Wellington, where he delivered the Inaugural Robin Duff Memorial Lecture “What We Can Learn from the Persecution of Lesbians and Gay Men during the Holocaust and the Impact on LGBTQI Communities Today.” He was also interviewed twice on New Zealand public radio about his Holocaust work. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University in New York, and he is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in recognition of exceptional leadership in teaching.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Reserve free tickets via The Wiener Library website

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=309

Photograph of Paul Shapiro

From Kishinev to Kishinev to Kishinev

  • 14 February 2017 6:30-8pm

From Kishinev to Kishinev to Kishinev - a talk by Paul Shapiro, Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Office of International Affairs, author of The Kishinev Ghetto, 1941-1942: A Documentary History of the Holocaust in Romania's Contested Borderlands (2015).

This presentation will place the creation and liquidation of the Kishinev ghetto in 1941/42, where over 11,000 Jews lost their lives over the course of just a few weeks, in the context of the resonance in the Jewish world of the Kishinev Pogrom of 1903, when 42 Jews were killed, and then carries the story forward to the manner in which what occurred in this once important Jewish centre is being remembered today.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Reserve free tickets via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=308

Otto Kurz and Franz Rosenthal in the Library of the Warburg Institute at the Imperial Institute

PhD and a Cup of Tea: Crisis, Rescue and Renewal. The Warburg Institute and the Role of Academic Refugees during the Second World War

  • 14 February 2017 2:30-3:30pm

The Library is pleased to host a talk by Maria Teresa Chicote Pompanin and Hanna Gentili for our PhD and a Cup of Tea series, which provides PhD candidates an opportunity to share their research and gain feedback.

Born as Aby Warburg’s private library, known as the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg (KBW) and originally housed in Hamburg, the famous library that later became the Warburg Institute was moved to London in December 1933 following the rise of the Nazi party.

Both before and during the war, the Institute promoted a dense cultural programme and improved its public standing by lecturing, publishing, organising and circulating exhibitions in London and across the UK. In a constant effort to maintain a stimulating cultural offer and provide assistance to academic refugees in need, the Warburg Institute established a number of long-lasting collaborations with British institutions such as the Courtauld Institute, the Academic Assistance Council and later the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning (now CARA), the National Buildings Record (NBR) and the Council for the Encouragement of Music and Arts (CEMA).

The research here presented shows how the Warburg Institute and its circle reacted to the international crisis of the Second World War through the lens of a series of micro-stories of academic refugees and it is based on unpublished material from the Warburg Institute Archive, the E. H. Gombrich Archive, the Warburg Institute Photographic Collection and the CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics) Archive.

Maria Teresa Chicote Pompanin is a PhD student in Cultural and Art History at the Warburg Institute (School of Advanced Study, University of London). The main focus of her research is the manipulation of Spanish historiography and historical memory through acts of patronage. In particular, her analysis focuses on the Marquises of Villena’s efforts to overcome the official negative image projected on certain sectors of the nobility by the monarchs between 1445 and 1529. In 2014, she completed the MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture offered by the Warburg Institute and the National Gallery (Distinction). In 2013, she obtained a BA in Art History from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid (summa cum laude).

Hanna Gentili is a PhD student in Cultural and Intellectual History at the Warburg Institute (School of Advanced Study, University of London). Her research focuses on the dynamics of the interreligious dialogue between Jewish and Christian scholars in the Italian cultural context of the late fifteenth century. Other areas of interest include the Jewish notion of cultural identity and early modern aesthetics. She recently completed a MA in Cultural and Intellectual History (1300-1650) at the Warburg Institute. Prior to this she received a MA (summa cum laude) in Philosophy and Forms of Knowledge and a BA in Philosophy at the University of Pisa.

Admission

Admission free but please reserve tickets via The Wiener Library website

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=306

Women in the Holocaust book cover

Book launch: Women in the Holocaust: A Feminist History

  • 16 February 2017 6:30-8pm

The Wiener Library is delighted to launch the most recent book by Dr Zoë Waxman, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. The event will include a talk by the author and a reception with light refreshments.

Despite some pioneering work by scholars, historians still find it hard to listen to the voices of women in the Holocaust. Learning more about the women who both survived and did not survive the Nazi genocide — through the testimony of the women themselves — not only increases our understanding of this terrible period in history, but makes us rethink our relationship to the gendered nature of knowledge itself. Women in the Holocaust is about the ways in which socially- and culturally-constructed gender roles were placed under extreme pressure; yet also about the fact that gender continued to operate as an important arbiter of experience. Indeed, paradoxically enough, the extreme conditions of the Holocaust — even of the death camps — may have reinforced the importance of gender.

Whilst Jewish men and women were both sentenced to death, gender nevertheless operated as a crucial signifier for survival. Pregnant women as well as women accompanied by young children or those deemed incapable of hard labour were sent straight to the gas chambers. The very qualities which made them women were manipulated and exploited by the Nazis as a source of dehumanization. Moreover, women were less likely to survive the camps even if they were not selected for death. Gender in the Holocaust therefore became a matter of life and death.

Dr Zoë Waxman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. She previously taught in the history faculty in Oxford and at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she was fellow in Holocaust Studies. She is the author of Writing the Holocaust: Identity, Testimony, Representation (2006), and Anne Frank (2015), as well as numerous articles relating to the Holocaust and genocide. A board member of the British Association of Holocaust Studies, she also sits on the editorial board of Holocaust Studies and the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. She is a trustee of the Wiener Library and a member of the academic advisory board for the Imperial War Museum's Holocaust galleries.

Admission

Free entry but please visit The Wiener Library website to reserve your ticket

Website

http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=297

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

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:
We have recently moved to new premises in a historic location on Russell Square. At this time, access for some disabled people is limited and we encourage visitors to contact us in advance if they are concerned about access.
•The ground floor exhibition area is accessible only by a flight of five steps. We will be installing step-free access in Spring 2012. Once inside the building, all areas are accessible to wheelchairs via the 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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