Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide

Location
    • Web
    • Email
    • Telephone
        +44 (0)20 7636 7247
    • Address
        29 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DP, United Kingdom
    • Opening Hours
      • Monday-Friday 10.00-17.00 / Tuesday 10.00-19.30
    • Public Internet Access
        via terminals in reading room or PCs using Wifi
    • Facilities for Disabled Persons
        Access to reading room via lift
    • Archival and Other Holdings

      The Wiener Library seeks to continue to collect materials which support the aims set out in the mission statement, namely research into the Holocaust and Nazi era, its causes and legacies, and the history of Jewish life in prewar Europe. For the foreseeable future particular emphasis will be placed on adding to our collections of personal papers of Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors. Of particular interest are collections which document life in European Jewish communities which have since ceased to exist.

      The Library is also keen to acquire records of European Jewish organisations from the Nazi era and earlier and British Jewish organisations which provided relief to survivors of the Holocaust.

      Whilst the majority of collections pertain to the victims of the Nazi era, the Library also accepts material of and about perpetrators if it offered. Thismight include statements of defendants at War Crimes trials; original letters and diaries from individuals; decrees, orders and correspondence from Nazi organisations.

    • History

      The Wiener Library traces its roots back to Germany in the 1920s. Dr Alfred Wiener, a German Jew, having fought in WWI, returned to Germany in 1919 and was horrified at the surge of right-wing antisemitism, which blamed Jews for the defeat.

      Dr Wiener worked with the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith to combat antisemitism, writing, lobbying and speaking publicly. From 1925 (the year Hitler published Mein Kampf) he perceived a greater threat from the Nazi Party than any other antisemitic group or party. Under his influence an archive was started just to collect information about the Nazis, which formed the basis of campaigns to undermine their activities.

      Dr Wiener and his family fled Germany in 1933 and settled in Amsterdam. Dr Wiener's archive is believed to have been destroyed. Later that year he set up the Central Jewish Information Office at the request of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Anglo-Jewish Association. The JCIO essentially continued the work of the earlier archive.

      Following the November Pogrom of 1938, Wiener prepared to bring his collection to the UK. It arrived the following summer and is believed to have opened on the day the Nazis invaded Poland.

      Throughout the War the JCIO served the British Government as it fought the Nazi regime. Increasingly the collection was referred to as ‘Dr Wiener's Library' and eventually this led to its renaming.

      Post-war, the Library assisted the prosecutors at the Nuremberg Trial, amassed early survivor testimony and helped to shape the emerging academic study of the Holocaust.

    Collections