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 The Library's unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony.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

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
The businessman Ludwig Neumann was arrested and deported to Dachau shortly after Kristallnacht. This image was taken after his release in 1938.

SHATTERED: Pogrom, November 1938

  • 3 October 2018 — 15 February 2019

Thousands of Jewish women, men and children brutalised. 25,000 Jewish men deported to concentration camps. Over 1,200 synagogues desecrated. Thousands of Jewish businesses and homes looted and destroyed. Over 100 Jews murdered.

The events of 9-10 November 1938, commonly called Kristallnacht, are the focus of The Wiener Library’s new temporary exhibition. Eighty years on, this exhibition explores exactly how the brutal events unfolded.

Through the eyewitness accounts gathered shortly after Kristallnacht, the exhibition examines responses to this unprecedented, nation-wide campaign of violence. Never-before-seen documents from the Library’s collection demonstrate German and Austrian Jews’ desperate attempts to flee, in many cases as refugees to Britain.

Newly curated by Dr Christine Schmidt and Dr Barbara Warnock, Shattered explores the experiences of Jewish women, men and children whose lives were changed forever after November 1938.

Admission

Free admission

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/SHATTERED

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.
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

Auschwitz Album, Yad Vashem

Roundtable: 100,000 Lost: Child Victims of the Holocaust in Hungary

  • 22 October 2018 6-8pm

Every tenth victim of the Holocaust was a Hungarian citizen, a victim group constituting half a million people. Among them, more than one hundred thousand were children and teenagers. Most of their names and stories are unknown. Although Anne Frank, one of the most well-known victims of the Holocaust, was herself a child, the perspectives and experiences of child victims (Hungarians and others) are often marginal in mainstream Holocaust research, education and remembrance.

With the support of the Europe for Citizens Program of the European Commission, The Wiener Library has been working in partnership with the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives, the Anne Frank House and the Komarno Jewish Community to explore, collect and publicise the personal stories of Hungarian Jewish child victims of the Holocaust. Stemming from this effort, this event will feature a panel with presentations and roundtable discussion by three outstanding experts of Holocaust history, Professor Tim Cole, Professor Dan Stone and Dr Gabor Kadar. The panellists will illuminate various approaches to research into the fate of Hungarian Jewish children, including lesser-known aspects of this history.

Admission

Free admission, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=419

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

Viennese civilians crowd around a uniformed Nazi holding the morning edition of the Weiner Montagblatt newspaper announcing Hitler’s arrival in Vienna

‘Austria is Lost’: British and Austrian Diplomats and their Experience of Anschluß

  • 6 November 2018 3-4pm

On 12 March 1938, the Third Reich began erasing a country that lay in the heart of Europe from the map. Early that morning, in advance of a plebiscite on Austrian independence, the German Wehrmacht poured across the border into its southeasterly neighbor. The following day, Arthur Seyß-Inquardt, Chancellor of Austria, revoked Article 88 of the Treaty of Saint-Germain, which effectively forbade the union of Austria and Germany, and Austrian sovereignty collapsed as the country became absorbed into the Third Reich. The Anschluß was complete.

This talk will look at the months of heightening German Nazi antagonism and increasing Austrian isolation prior to this moment through the eyes of British and Austrian diplomats stationed in Vienna and London, respectively. Rather than focusing on ambassadors and heads of mission, this research examines the experiences of lower-level cultural and military attachés, economic and press officers, clerks and secretaries—‘ordinary’ bureaucrats whose lives became entangled in Austria’s desperate attempts to thwart a German invasion.

By piecing together a variety of written sources, from official communiqués and correspondence to private letters and memoirs, this research seeks to explore how diplomats act in times of crisis. In the case of British bureaucrats assigned to Vienna, did they follow the government line (e.g., appeasement) or did they act out of friendship towards their Austrian counterparts in an effort to assist? Ultimately, this talk examines conflicts of conscience, internal hesitations, paranoia, and desperation when it became ever clearer that, for Austria, everything was on the line.

Admission

Free admission, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=414

Christoph Kreutzmueller

Looking into the Abyss: Photos of Kristallnacht

  • 8 November 2018 6:30-8pm

While there are hundreds of written reports on the pogrom of November 1938 in Nazi Germany, there are only a few (mainly press) photographs in the archives of The Wiener Library. A closer look reveals that in nearly all the places where synagogues and shops were plundered photos were taken. Some were made by press photographers, passersby or by the perpetrators – a few others even by Jews. In his talk, Christoph Kreutzmueller will discuss these photographs as historical sources and analyse different scenes, motifs, postures and perspectives.

Admission

Free admission, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=416

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

Exhibition sponsored by the World Jewish Congress on efforts to trace survivors of the Holocaust and reunite families, July 1945

Early Postwar Holocaust Knowledge and Jewish Missing Persons

  • 21 November 2018 3-4pm

Jewish missing person searches in the first years after World War II offer a unique pathway for understanding what Jews both in Europe and further afield actually understood about the Nazi-era camp system, deportation process, ghettos and killing operations in eastern Europe. The correspondence sent to postwar Jewish community offices and organisations reveals highly fragmentary knowledge about wartime events, both on the part of far-flung refugees and the officials who attempted to assist them. Many of these searches ended in grief but many more in 'no information located'. As a result, Jewish tracing enquiries continued to be made for years after the war and were only halted with reluctance. Some family survivors eventually did seek declarations of death for relatives who had not returned. International law experts' discussions of the hurdles for certifying Jewish 'legal death' further demonstrate the very limited ways in which the details of the Holocaust were understood in the latter half of the 1940s.

Admission

Free admission, registration essential

Website

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=420

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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