We are pleased to announce that the Library will be opening fully from Tuesday 18 May 2021.
We will initially reopen with reduced opening times (Tuesday - Friday, 10am-5pm) with pre-booked appointments in the Wolfson Reading Room and exhibition space, and continued health and safety measures.
We continue to closely monitor the situation with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such, our regulations are under constant review and might change at short notice. The safety and wellbeing of all our staff and visitors are of paramount importance and we thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this uncertain time.
We look forward to welcoming you back to the Library soon!
Exhibition pre-booking is now live
Death Marches: Evidence and Memory
The Library’s new exhibition will uncover how forensic and other evidence about the death marches has been gathered since the end of the Holocaust. It chronicles how researchers and others attempted to recover the death march routes – and those who did not survive them. Efforts to analyse and commemorate the death marches continue to this day. Please note our current COVID-19 opening times and health and safety measures, including wearing a face-covering, before visiting. Entry to the Library is only permitted to those who have pre-booked.
The exhibition catalogue from the inaugural exhibition of the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership, on display in 2021 at The Wiener Holocaust Library and the Holocaust & Exhibition and Learning Centre, Huddersfield, is now available to purchase online.
Her remarks were brief, composed, and yet disturbing in their detail. She was forced on a death march from a slave labour camp to Bergen-Belsen. The experience shapes her life to this day.
We often hear concern about what will happen to Holocaust education and memory “after the survivors die”. This is not a new debate. But it also implies that we’ve learned all there is to learn from survivors, like Susan, who are very much still with us. Remarkably, Susan spends much of her time speaking to learners of all ages for key Holocaust education organisations in the UK, such as the Holocaust Educational Trust. In 2020, her webcast for Holocaust Memorial Day was broadcast to thousands of students. Prompted to speak about her experiences in Belsen, Susan provided a fleeting account of the death march.
Yet, as her testimony during the event showed, the extreme brutality of the march deeply marked her experience, and that of tens of thousands of other survivors of “liberation” and survival, just as much as Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen.
Contrary to widespread belief, survivors did speak about their experiences, including the death marches, in the days and months following the end of hostilities. Most were in terrible physical condition – and some did not survive very long after they began to receive medical assistance from Allied armies and humanitarian relief groups. Soon after the war’s end, evidence was gathered about the tortuous evacuations that the Germans perpetrated, as they sent prisoners on brutal marches that crisscrossed Germany. These “mobile concentration camps” came within sight of many villages and towns across the country. Bodies of those executed and discarded en route were found, and while many could not be identified, most were reburied with some form of dignity. The people who had survived, civilian witnesses who saw what happened, and victims’ bodies that had been recovered form the basis of evidence of what we know today about the death marches.
The Wiener Holocaust Library’s latest exhibition, Death Marches: Evidence and Memory, which will be on view in London and in Huddersfield at the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre from May/June 2021 through the summer, describes a significant part of the history of “liberation” that is not fully understood or researched and also reveals the process of gathering evidence and how historians and other scholars have used this evidence to write the history of the death marches over several decades.
It is an exhibition about the marches themselves, and also about how research is done. And it rests on transforming existing scholarship conducted by historians like Daniel Blatman and Danuta Czech and new work by Dan Stone into a digestible, three-dimensional format.
The new exhibition programme offers a challenge to National Holocaust Centre and Museum CEO Marc Cave’s recently stated view that “there is brilliant academic scholarship on the Holocaust but too little of it benefits the mainstream.” He asserted that “the public” only “harvest the chaff” and “not the wheat” of scholarship.
While it is true that there is often a gap between public understanding of the Holocaust and the latest academic research, our experience shows that this is not for lack of interest or due to a lack of will – either from the public or from many scholars working in the field.
What we can agree on is that there needs to be more, concerted public engagement on the Holocaust framed to ensure that new scholarly findings – and insight into how those findings are reached – are made widely available.
The Death Marches exhibition evolved from a new partnership that takes up this very challenge: The Library is working with the foremost scholars in Holocaust and genocide research in the UK at the Holocaust Research Institute, Royal Holloway, University of London, as well as partners in the North, the University of Huddersfield and the Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association, with the express purpose of ensuring that Holocaust scholarship informs public debate. The Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership (HGRP) aims to build a dynamic, inclusive research vision to ensure that public knowledge of the Holocaust and genocide is shaped both by expert knowledge and survivors’ voices. Likewise, we hope that little-understood aspects of the history of the Holocaust and other genocides, including those ongoing today, help inform scholarly research agendas.
The HGRP’s first virtual launch event for Death Marches: Evidence and Memory – which has already attracted hundreds of viewers – as well as the Library’s track record of engagement across our events and exhibitions, demonstrate that there is public will to engage with scholarship that lacks “bland universalist clichés”, in Cave’s words. Neither the launch nor the exhibition resort to cliché, since the history of this horrific aspect of the Holocaust and the end of the war, offer few, if any, life lessons. Nor was there any message of redemption in Susan Pollack’s remarks, which she made with both grace and even some humour.
The death marches were an important part of “liberation” for Susan and thousands of other survivors. We hope the exhibition and related events – soon to be announced and featuring both survivors and scholars – will highlight survivors’ voices, including those who are still living and willing to speak if only they are asked. This article was originally published on The Jewish Chronicle website 23 March 2021.
The Library is seeking a Dutch translator
The Wiener Holocaust Library is seeking a volunteer who can translate Dutch into English and help us with our upcoming translation projects. New volunteers will be joining a large team of more than twenty experienced and dedicated volunteer translators of many different languages, including German, French, Polish, Hebrew, and Spanish.
This is a great opportunity to get to know the Library's collections and to use your language skills to bring original sources of the history of the Holocaust to a wider audience. This role does not require coming into the Library and can be completed working from home with scanned copies of our documents. You would volunteer on a flexible working schedule and can dedicate as much or as little time as you are able to commit to.
Ottoman military forces march Armenian men from Kharput to an execution site outside the city. Kharput, Ottoman Empire, March – June 1915. Armenian National Institute.
The Armenians of the Ottoman Empire experienced calamity of the greatest degree during the First World War. Many males, including young men and boys, were executed outright, whilst women, children and the elderly were deported to barren lands in Iraq and Syria. Those deported were subjected to every manner of misery – kidnapping, rape, torture, murder and death from exposure, starvation and thirst – by every possible adversary – Ottoman gendarmes, Turkish and Kurdish irregulars, tribespeople, and the army. Those who escaped deportation, primarily women and children, were forced to convert to Islam, as Muslim identity was considered a cornerstone of the new nation-state, Turkey. Principally perpetrated by the “Committee of Union and Progress” (CUP, İttihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti) elite, who largely controlled the Ottoman government at the time, these events constitute what we now know as the Armenian genocide.
The Library has created a number of guides to help users navigate our collections.
Each guide introduces the material available at the Library on specific subjects, as well as online resources and sources of further information. For further information or guidance please contact the Collections Team.
Between 1938 and 1939 some 10,000 children were sent without their parents from Nazi Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia to safety in Britain. This rescue movement became known as the Kindertransport.
Our holdings on war crime trials largely pertain to those crimes committed by the Nazis and their allies during the Second World War. We also hold a small but growing section on war crime trials relating to other genocides.
Whilst we hold mainly secondary sources on genocides other than the Holocaust, this subject guide collates resources housed by the Library and also lists external resources from other institutions and organisations which may be helpful for researchers.
Virtual Primary Source Workshop for A-Level History Students: Who was Responsible for the Holocaust?
In this workshop, aimed at A-Level History students, the Library’s Barbara Warnock and Roxzann Baker will use documents from the Library’s unique archive of material on the Nazi era and the Holocaust to explore the question of responsibility for the Holocaust. A-Level history coursework, essays and exams frequently pose this question, and the primary sources contained within the Library’s archives can shed light on various themes connected to the topic, including the role of Hitler, Himmler and senior Nazis; the role of collaborators, and also the issue of the significance of the operation of the Nazi state.
This workshop will use primary sources to explore these themes and also examine issues around the use and reliability of primary sources.
The accused at the Nuremberg Trial. The Nuremberg Trial was a trial that prosecuted the major Nazi war criminals for their crimes throughout the Second World War, including the Holocaust, in October-November 1946. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.
Wednesday 5 May, 6.30-8pm
Virtual Event: Forced Labour and Genocide: Then and Now
René Cassin and The Wiener Holocaust Library invite you to listen to our speakers who will discuss the issue of forced labour as a means of persecution and genocide used during the Nazi-era and more recently in China today.
Professor Wendy Lower will be in conversation with Dr Christine Schmidt to discuss her new book. 'The Ravine', a forensically moving study of the Holocaust, was crafted from the discovery of a photo documenting the shooting of a mother and two children.
Khatchig Mouradian will be discussing his newly published book, The Resistance Network, which gives a history of an underground network of humanitarians, missionaries, and diplomats in Ottoman Syria who helped save the lives of thousands during the Armenian Genocide.
'"What I have written is true—so witness me God": Jews, Christians, and the Holocaust in a Christian Army Chaplain’s Account of the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen’
'The Crimes of Belsen' is a unique account of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and the post-liberation care of Holocaust survivors. Robert Thompson will be sharing his research exploring Reverend David Stewart's writings and photos.
'Overt-covert recounting: deconstructing women’s personal memory narratives of sexual violence during the Holocaust'
Lauren Cantillon will be presenting her research that deconstructs women’s personal memory narratives of sexual violence during the Holocaust. Please note this talk will contain graphic descriptions of sexual assault.
Virtual Book Launch: The Palgrave Handbook of Britain and the Holocaust
To mark the publication of The Palgrave Handbook of Britain and the Holocaust, the Library hosted an online panel discussion to explore how Britain has engaged and disengaged with the Holocaust in the past, how it continues to in the present, and reflect on how it may do so in the future.
The Second Generation Network are extremely proud to announce they will be hosting the UK and the American premiere of the documentary Truus’ Children, the feature-length documentary of Truus Wijsmuller, the little-known force behind the Kindertransport.
Pamela Sturhoofd and Jessica van Tijn dedicated over three years to research the complete story of this Dutch Oskar Schindler, a woman so dedicated, stubborn, and convinced of her mission that she went to Vienna in December of 1938 to negotiate a deal with Adolf Eichmann to let around 10.000 mostly Jewish children leave their birth countries and flee to England, some staying behind in Holland too.
For a small donation to the Truus Wijsmuller Archives, it will be possible to privately view the film during a two-week window. After this period, on the 17 May at 6:30pm GDT directors Pamela Sturhoofd and Jessica van Tijn will be discussing their work and the life of Truus Wijsmuller. Register to watch the documentary here.
Alternatively, if you only wish to attend the talk sign up here.
A total 23 of the children saved by Mrs. Wijsmuller were tracked down and interviewed, together with an authentic recording of an interview with Truus Wijsmuller after the war, a story about how to Make a Difference unfolds that the world needs to see.
Truus’ Children is an ode to the bravery of an extraordinary woman who dared to Make a Difference, and to the equally brave and resilient children, she helped save.
Join Generation2Generation, with Eric Murangwa Eugène MBE and Dr. James Smith CBE, during the Kwibuka27, the 100 days of commemoration of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda.
Eric Murangwa Eugène MBE will relate his story of survival of the Tutsi genocide; how his status as a footballer and his teammates saved his life. He will also explain how Rwandan resilience of spirit has helped the country through its journey of reconciliation and reconstruction.
The evening will be introduced by Dr. James Smith CBE, President of the UK National Holocaust Centre, Founder and CEO of the Aegis Trust.
Eric is CEO and founder of the Ishami Foundation that is dedicated to telling the stories of the Tutsi genocide.
Demands upon the Library continue to increase as we face rising antisemitism, racism, distortion and denial of the Holocaust and genocide. We need to continue our important work to ensure our Collections are put to the best possible use and to the service of the future.
Becoming a member is a powerful way you can support us in working towards our wider mission. In return, you can enjoy our exclusive member benefits and know that you are playing a significant role in the future success of the Library.