E-Newsletter for September 2020 View in browser
E-Newsletter for September 2020

Dear Friend,

Welcome to The Wiener Holocaust Library's e-newsletter for September 2020.

This month we are pleased to announce further reopening plans for the Library. Please note that restrictions still apply due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. See below for further details.

We are also pleased to share a special Roma Holocaust Memorial Day video; a vignette from the archives by Senior Archivist, Howard Falksohn; updates on the Library's Refugee Family Papers: An Interactive Map project; an opportunity to sign up to upcoming virtual events and to catch up on recent talks and more.

We know this is a difficult time for everyone, and we continue to send our very best wishes to you all.

Kind regards,

The Wiener Holocaust Library

The Library announces further reopening plans

We are pleased to announce that from the week commencing Monday 7 September, The Wiener Holocaust Library will be open to the public three days a week.

Our new opening hours will be Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11am-3pm.

Please note that entrance to the Library is still strictly limited to only those who have pre-booked. Visit our website for more information on pre-booking and details on our health and safety measures.

We are also pleased to share further dates for those who wish to visit our new Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust exhibition in September. Please visit our Eventbrite page to pre-book.

Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust
"Untold stories of Jewish resistance revealed in London Holocaust exhibition."

Exhibition curator, Dr Barbara Warnock, spoke with The Guardian journalist, Caroline Davies, to highlight some of the Library's collections showcased in our new exhibition, Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust. Dr Warnock explores how some of the Library's diaries and manuscripts included within this exhibition turn a spotlight on the little-known acts of endurance and bravery. 

Read article
Exhibition catalogue now available!

We are delighted that copies of our exhibition catalogue, Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust, written by curator Dr Barbara Warnock are now available to buy.

If you would like to purchase a copy for £10 (+£5 p&p) please email your interest to info@wienerlibrary.co.uk.

An online event to celebrate The Wiener Holocaust Library’s new exhibition

On 5th August, we were delighted to host a special virtual event with distinguished Professor of History Samuel Kassow and Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger to celebrate the launch of Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust

Professor Kassow and Rabbi Baroness Neuberger were joined by the Library's Director, Dr Toby Simpson, and exhibition curator, Dr Barbara Warnock. The talk was interesting and informative as all speakers shared fascinating insights into this often overlooked aspect of the Holocaust.

Roma Holocaust Memorial Day

To mark Roma Holocaust Memorial Day on 2 August, and to mark the launch of The Wiener Holocaust Library’s exhibition, Forgotten Victims: The Nazi Genocide of the Roma and Sinti at the United Nations, exhibition curator Dr Barbara Warnock spoke to Daniela Abraham, founder of the Sinti and Roma Holocaust Memorial Trust, about her family’s experiences during the Nazi era and about her aims for the Trust.

The short, socially distanced, conversation was filmed at The Wiener Holocaust Library in London on 4 August 2020.

Watch video
A vignette from The Wiener Holocaust Library archives: The Fokschaners of Czernowitz

By Howard Falksohn, Senior Archivist

Otto Fokschaner identification card for British Mandate Palestine, c. 1940s. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections. 

Whilst the Jewish populations in certain parts of Europe covered by our collections are again approaching (or even exceeding) pre-Nazi-era levels, there are other once-thriving communities of which barely a trace remains.

One such example is Chernivtsi in South West Ukraine, known as Czernowitz under Austrian rule and Cernauti under Romanian rule, capital of the region Bukovina. During the Habsburg Empire and particularly after the revolutions which swept across Europe in 1848, Czernowitz’s Jewish population flourished. By 1910 it was the largest of five principal ethnic/national minorities including Rumanians, Ukrainians, Ruthenians and Poles, who lived harmoniously together in this cosmopolitan city. It was a hotbed of cultural activity and in 1908 hosted the first Yiddish language conference, although the majority of the Jewish population spoke German. Among some of its illustrious natives were the poet Paul Celan (1920-1970), the writer Rose Ausländer (1901-1988), the city’s last Yiddish poet, Josef Burg (1912-2009); the Argentinian-Jewish pioneer of film and music, Max Glücksmann (1875-1946) and the stage director, Sam Kogan (1946-2004).

Here at The Wiener Holocaust Library, we are fortunate to hold a rare surviving remnant from this bygone era. The Fokschaner family papers document, in microcosm, the fate of Bukovina’s middle class German-speaking Jewish population from the years of prosperity and political freedom under the Austro-Hungarians to the community’s destruction at the hands of Romania’s violently antisemitic Fascist party in the late 1930s.

The Fokschaner family can be traced back to the 19th century in Czernowitz. Leon Fokschaner was an agricultural engineer in the middle of the 19th century. He had several children, amongst them Max Fokschaner (born in 1862) who was a lawyer and Parliamentarian. He represented the interests of the Jewish population in Bukovina. Max Fokschaner's wife Sarina (born in 1877) was active in charitable circles and established the children's wing at the Jewish hospital in Czernowitz. Max established a law practice together with his two sons Wolfgang (born in 1899) and Otto (born in 1903) and his son-in-law Erich Lupul who married his daughter Else (born in 1905). Wolfgang Fokschaner served as a captain in the Austrian army in the First World War.

The law practice survived the transition of Czernowitz from Austrian-Hungarian to Romanian jurisdiction in 1918. When Max Fokschaner passed away in 1926, Wolfgang took over the running of the practice. However, Wolfgang emigrated to Bucharest in 1939 and later to Geneva and Israel. Wolfgang's daughter was born in Bucharest and his son, Michael, in Geneva.

In the mid-1930s Otto Fokschaner took over the running of the law firm. He was married to Erica (born in 1905, née Barber) and they had a son George, born in 1933. Erica's mother Klara Löwner was born in Bielitz (Bielsko, now Poland) in 1880 and her husband was a lawyer. She remarried after his death.

Otto Fokschaner served as a sub-lieutenant in the Romanian military reserves and was attached to an artillery regiment. In 1939 he was dismissed from the army in line with the decree that all Jewish officers be removed from their posts. In 1940 Czernowitz was annexed by the USSR and the family was forced to flee overnight and seek refuge in Bucharest where they lived until 1941 when they emigrated to Israel. The family obtained Palestinian citizenship in 1946. At some point, the family moved to the United Kingdom as Otto Fokschaner was living in London in 1999.

Klara Loewner remained in Czernowitz after the Soviet occupation and the Romanian re-occupation in 1941. In 1944 Klara obtained an exceptional permission to leave the country and emigrated to Israel.

This collection consists of family papers including the papers and authenticated copies of papers of Max and Sarina Fokschaner, Otto and Erika Fokschaner, Erich Lupul and Else Fokschaner, Wolfgang Fokschaner, Karoline Fokschaner, Johanna Fokschaner and Klara Löwner. Documents include certificate of Palestinian naturalisation; affidavit in lieu of passport; nationality, school, birth, nationality and wedding certificates; professional certificates; Max Fokschaner's election certificates for entry to Parliament of the province of Bukovina; inheritance papers; border passes, passports and identity cards; emigration papers for Palestine including lists of belongings, and a photograph of Max Fokschaner's grave. Also included is a linen armband with printed letters A.R.P. (Air Raid Precaution) and Hebrew printed letters for Tel Aviv Civil Guard.

Travel pass giving Otto Fokschaner and his wife the right to travel to and from British Mandate Palestine, 1946. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections. 

This collection can be accessed digitally in the Library’s Wolfson Reading Room.

Picturing Refugee Families

In 2020, The Wiener Holocaust Library was awarded a generous grant from Arts Council England‘s Designated Development Funding towards improving and access to our collections and re-developing our online resource Refugee Family Papers: An Interactive Map. This includes cataloguing and conservation of the collections, increasing engagement and learning through exhibitions and events, digitisation and redevelopment of the collection’s online resources, such as our Interactive Map, which includes clips from the AJR Refugee Voices audio-visual archive.

As part of this initiative, the Library has hired Helen Lewandowski to lead as Project Officer. Helen has a curatorial background working in museums, galleries and archives, with an academic speciality in documentary and vernacular photography in the 20th century. Vernacular photography, which includes every day and common subjects such as family snapshots and ID cards, is a particular strength of the collection. Warm, funny, poignant and tragic moments are all captured in the many images from our Family Papers collections. Above is a contact sheet of Herbert and Eleanor Hess as children. Eleanor came to Great Britain from Munich with her mother in 1939. Her brother, Herbert, immigrated to Brazil where he eventually died in 1981. For a brief period, Eleanor went to live with her brother in the early 1950s. She died in London c. 1999.

Material like this, as well as the numerous documents, correspondence, objects and audio recordings in the collection all, serve to tell, bring to life, and preserve important stories of the individuals and families that fled from Nazi persecution and antisemitism in the years before, during and after the war. Emigrating from Germany and other Nazi-controlled countries, including Poland, Austria and France, these refugees found temporary or permanent adopted homes in the UK, amongst other countries.

The Library continues to actively build and develop its Family Papers collections. Senior Archivist, Howard Falksohn said: The Coronavirus pandemic has necessarily resulted in a considerable reduction in numbers physically visiting the library although this is beginning to rise as we start to re-open to the public. Up until recently, potential donors of archival material have been advised to hold on to their papers until such time as it is safe to come in. We would like to emphasise that we are still very much interested in acquiring this material where it meets our collecting remit. I am happy to advise donors on how to preserve material and have now begun to take in collections if potential donors are willing/ able to bring the material in.

The Library welcomes donations of any original material that documents the Holocaust and Nazi era. Such material might include correspondence, diaries, photographs, identity and emigration papers, compensation claim papers or ephemera (contemporary leaflets, programmes, publications). We collect material relating to individuals, organisations, political groups and companies.

If you would like to speak to the Library about documents you wish to donate, please contact Howard Falksohn at hfalksohn@wienerlibrary.co.uk

Help the Library Develop our Refugee Family Papers Map

Whether you’ve browsed the map before or you are taking a look now for the first time, we would be grateful for your feedback to help us to make this resource more responsive and adapted to our audience’s needs. If you would like to help us with this initiative, please visit the link below to complete a short survey and let us know your thoughts!

Take our survey now
Upcoming Events
Thursday 3 September, 4-5pm
A Virtual Conversation: Genocide: Concepts and Problems

In this online conversation, Dr Becky Jinks and Professor Dirk Moses will discuss evolving questions and debates in the field of genocide studies, with particular focus on the semantics and politics of naming and representing genocides before and after the Holocaust.

Wednesday 9 September, 7-8pm
A Virtual Event: The Communist resistance group in Theresienstadt

In this talk, Dr Hájková will show how being a Communist shaped the experience of some Holocaust victims, how should we conceptualize the Communist group as resistance, and the relationship of the underground Communist Party in occupied Czech countries to their deported Jewish comrades.

Thursday 10 September, 7-8pm
Online Book Launch: 'Survivors: Children's Lives after the Holocaust'

The Wiener Holocaust Library is delighted to launch Dr Rebecca Clifford's new book, Survivors: Children's Lives after the Holocaust. In this beautifully written account, Rebecca Clifford follows the lives of one hundred Jewish children out of the ruins of conflict through their adulthood and into old age.

Wednesday 16 September, 7-8pm
A Virtual Talk: Felix Ganz (Mainz) – A Man and his Collection - Vanished almost without Traces

We are delighted to be virtually welcoming Adam Ganz and Nathalie Neumann to speak about the life and family history of Felix Ganz (1869-1944). The discussion will also explore their journey to locate the art collection of the Ganz family.

Thursday 17 September, 7-8pm
From the Ghetto Underground to a Partisan Warfare: Jewish Resistance in the Second World War

During the Holocaust, young Jews founded clandestine groups and organised undergrounds in ghettos in order to resist the Nazis. In this talk, Daniela Ozacky Stern aims to discuss this unique chapter in the Jewish occurrence during the Second World War.

The registration for this event is now at capacity, but you can join us via our LIVE stream on our YouTube channel. 

Thursday 24 September, 4-5pm
PhD and a Virtual Cup of Tea: Sound and Memory in Contemporary Holocaust Film

In our next virtual PhD and a Cup of Tea event, Archie Wolfman will be presenting his work on the relationship between sound and memory in contemporary Holocaust film. With particular reference to the film Remember (Atom Egoyan, 2015).

This event series is designed for PhD students and early career researchers.

The Wiener Holocaust Library Blog

Why not check out the Library's blog? Read staff articles, past book reviews, guest posts and more. 

Library Blog
Recent virtual events at the Library
29 July 2020
Virtual Book Talk: The Young Survivors with Debra Barnes

This online book talk celebrated The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes, published on 23 July 2020. The Young Survivors is a historical novel inspired by the survival of Debra's mother during the Holocaust in France. Debra will be discussing her extensive research into her family's history and her writing process.

5 August 2020
An online event to celebrate The Wiener Holocaust Library’s new exhibition on Jewish Resistance

On Wednesday 5 August, distinguished Professor of History Samuel Kassow spoke at an online event to celebrate our new exhibition, Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust, along with Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger, Dr Toby Simpson, Director of The Wiener Holocaust Library, and the exhibition’s curator, Dr Barbara Warnock.

The Wiener Holocaust Library on YouTube
View all

Did you know that the Library has a YouTube channel? Why not have a browse through some of the past events the Library has hosted. Includes book talks, curator talks and more.

Constella OperaBallet: Orchestras Of Auschwitz

In this talk members of Constella OperaBallet give an introduction and overview of their project; The Orchestras of Auschwitz. This opera-ballet production 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. 

Watch in full
David Bolchover: From Genocide to Football Glory

Béla Guttmann was the first superstar football coach, achieving great success in Europe and South America before Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho were even born. He was also a Holocaust survivor. In this presentation, David Bolchover traces Guttmann’s background and extraordinary career, and investigates some broader themes thrown up by his recent book.

Watch in full
Generation 2 Generation upcoming events

To register your interest for either of the below events please email Lesley Urbach

Monday 14 September 2020
Family Wohl, an ordinary German, Jewish Family

Lesley Urbach will tell the story of her mother's German-Jewish family and their lives before and after the Nazis came to power. She will focus on her mother and aunt's journey to England on the Kindertransport and what happened to their parents left behind in Germany.

Pictured: Ulli and Eva Wohl, who came to Britain on the Kindertransport at the ages of 13 and 16 in December 1938.

The Wiener Holocaust Library

The Wiener Holocaust Library
29 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DP
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7636 7247

Registered charity number 313015

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