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

Dear Friend,

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

This month we are pleased to announce that the Library's current exhibition, Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust, has been extended until January 2021. Please note that restrictions still apply due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. See below for further details.

We are also pleased to announce a new event series that will explore family research into the Holocaust; Black History Month at the Library; a new online resource is now available to access from the Library; our Being Human Festival event taking place in November; and 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 remains open

We are continuing to closely monitor the situation with respects to the Coronavirus 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 is of paramount importance and we thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this uncertain time.

Our opening hours are 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.

Remembering Mirjam Wiener

In 1943, Mirjam Wiener, the daughter of Dr Alfred Wiener, founder of The Wiener Holocaust Library, was deported from Amsterdam to Westerbork, where she spent seven months before being deported to Bergen-Belsen. The Dutch Railways (NS, Nederlandse Spoorwegen) were involved in the transportation of Jews, Roma and Sinti towards concentration or extermination camps, and since November 2018, the NS have been working on compensating the survivors or their next of kin. Mirjam’s children, Daniel, Anthony and Tamara, received compensation from the NS for the part that the company played in their mother’s deportation to Westerbork. The children felt that the most fitting way to remember their wonderful mother, who herself knew and loved The Wiener Library, was by gifting this money towards its mission.

All of us at the Library are extremely grateful for this generous donation which has come at an extremely important time when the Library and all charities are feeling the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. This donation will enable us to continue assisting family research, cataloguing and preserving documents, curating exhibitions, running online events, and helping historians remotely.

We would really love to share Mirjam’s story during the years of her deportation, as it highlights just why it is so important to both remember and learn from the past:

Mirjam Emma was born on 10 June 1933 in Berlin. Mirjam had two older sisters, Ruth Hannah (born in 1927) and Eva Elise (born in 1930). Shortly after Mirjam’s birth, in the autumn of 1933, the family relocated to Amsterdam to avoid persecution under the Nazis. The family thrived; Mirjam, Eva and Ruth attended school, joined local clubs and learned Dutch.

However, as international tension increased and war became more likely, Holland became less safe for the family. In August 1939, Alfred Wiener made arrangements to move his library and activist work to London. Unfortunately, following the outbreak of the Second World War shortly afterwards, his wife Margarethe, Ruth, Eva and Mirjam were unable to join him. The family was trapped in Holland, and became subject to increasing Nazi persecution and oppression. On 20 June 1943, the family was detained and sent by NS train to Westerbork transit camp. In January 1944, after seven months in Westerbork, the family was deported to Bergen-Belsen. In January 1945, a rare opportunity to be part of a prisoner scheme between the Nazis and the United States appeared. The Wieners were chosen for this exchange and transported to Switzerland. Shortly afterwards, Margarethe was too ill to continue travelling. On 25 January 1945, she was taken into a Swiss hospital and sadly died just a few hours later. Soon after, Ruth, Eva, and Mirjam boarded a Red Cross ship, The Gripsholm, bound for New York where they were reunited with their father.

After her liberation, Mirjam settled in London, where she met and married the engineer and scientist Ludwik Finkelstein, a fellow refugee. Together they had three children, Daniel, Anthony and Tamara.

You can visit our online learning resource, The Holocaust Explained, to read more about the Wiener family during the Holocaust and learn about the creation of The Wiener Holocaust Library.

The Library is very fortunate to have such a strong supporter base and the support we have received during the pandemic has been so greatly appreciated. Mirjam’s donation will enable the Library to thrive at a very uncertain financial time, and enable us to do so in Mirjam’s memory. However, we are realistic that the impact of the pandemic will continue to be felt for the foreseeable future, meaning further support is vital.

We kindly ask you to consider the impact a donation from you could make to the Library during these uncertain times.

Help us by making a donation today
Exhibition extended to 2021

The Library is delighted to announce that our current exhibition, Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust, will be on show until January 2021. 

We are also pleased to share further dates for those who wish to visit our exhibition in October. Please visit our Eventbrite page to pre-book.

Book slot
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.

Black History Month at the Library

Ronald, Alma and Beryl Roberts, Rostock, 1924. The Wiener Holocaust Library holds the papers of Ronnie Roberts, courtesy of Carol Roberts.

To mark Black History Month (1 - 31 October), the Library will be sharing stories from our collections of the persecution of Black people in the Third Reich and its aftermath. This series will include an online exhibition, a virtual lecture, new articles on our educational website The Holocaust Explained and a new article on our blog highlighting the incarceration of Black people in concentration camps, drawing on documents from the Library’s digital copy of the International Tracing Service Archive.

Follow the Library's Twitter to keep up with these activities.

New Online Exhibition - Thursday 15 October
The Persecution of Black People in Nazi Germany: Ronald Roberts’ Story

This exhibition explores the life of Ronald Roberts, born in Germany in 1921 to a white German mother and a Black British/Barbadian father.

Ronald Roberts was one of the Black people living in Germany who suffered racist persecution during the Nazi era. In the mid-1930s, Roberts was removed from his school in Wiesbaden and threatened by the Gestapo with sterilisation after he was reported for holding hands with a white girl. Aged fifteen, he was also forced to work as a labourer on Nazi construction projects. A British national, Roberts spent most of the war interned in Germany as a British citizen and he later settled in Britain.

The exhibition draws upon documents deposited with The Wiener Holocaust Library by his wife Carol in 2008, and upon the memoir that Roberts dictated to his wife shortly before his death in 2001.

This exhibition will be available online as well as in the Library's Wolfson Reading Room.

Ronald Roberts post-war; Ronald Roberts’ parents, Alma and Henry Evandale Roberts, with their daughter Beryl, c. 1920; a postcard Ronald Roberts sent to his mother during The Second World War, all images from The Ronald Roberts Collections, Wiener Holocaust Library Collections, courtesy Carol Roberts.

New section published on the Library's educational website

We are thrilled to announce the publication of a new section entitled 'Survival and Legacy' on our recently relaunched educational website, The Holocaust Explained. Drawing on the Library’s unique archival collections, this section explores the aftermath of the Holocaust, focusing on Displaced Persons, the denazification process, postwar trials and memory. 

Roxzann Baker, the Project Coordinator for the website, has said: "Although often overlooked, exploring the aftermath of the Holocaust is vital in helping children to understand its long-lasting effects. It is wonderful to be able to add this extra material to the website and shed further light on some of the Library’s fantastic archival resources".

Two women holding a child inside the Belsen Displaced Persons Camp, c1947. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.

A new event series at the Library
Excavation-Confrontation-Repair? Family Histories of the Holocaust

Mary Vrabecz, Senior ITS Archive Researcher helping with family research at the Library.

The Wiener Holocaust Library is pleased to announce a new events series that will explore the meaning and legacy of family research into the Holocaust as well as offer practical advice to those embarking on their own research for the first time.

The Library offers a dedicated service to support Holocaust survivors and the descendants and relatives of Holocaust victims and survivors in conducting research on their families’ pasts. Our enquiries have ranged from survivors seeking documentation to support compensation and insurance claims, to those who have lived with only the outline of their family members’ experiences. Others have sought connections with living relatives and descendants in an attempt to repair the destruction of family ties by the Nazis and their allies during the Holocaust.

Since 2013, the Library has been the only point of access in the United Kingdom to the digital archive of the International Tracing Service (now Arolsen Archives), a collection of 30 million documents on over 17 million people whose lives were impacted by the events of the Second World War.

This free series will be led by The Wiener Holocaust Library’s Senior ITS Archive Researchers, who have expertise in helping family researchers interpret archives they find, and in connecting them with other institutions and organisations that can aid in their search. In partnership with Jewish genealogists and other archives and libraries, the series will explore the ethics of family research and the experience of diaspora and recovery often brought to the surface in the process of research.

Tuesday 27 October 2020
A Family Reunion across Time and Space: Family Research at The Wiener Holocaust Library

In this event, the first in our new series on Family Research and the Holocaust, we welcome Joel Hockman and Sue Smeding, to discuss with us the challenges and successes of their own family research. In conversation with researchers from The Wiener Holocaust Library, they reflect on their efforts to try to find out what happened to their family members during the Holocaust and the unlikely ways their families found each other long after the events of the Holocaust and the Second World War.

Book tickets
Refugees, Relief, and Resettlement: Forced Migration and World War II - new database available at The Wiener Holocaust Library

By Greg Toth, Head of Collections

Jewish refugees from Germany boarding a boat for England, 2 December 1938. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.

We are delighted to announce that the Library can now provide free access to Gale’s recently released digital primary sources project Refugees, Relief and Resettlement: Forced Migration and World War II. The online resource, only available at the Library, chronicles the plight of refugees and displaced persons across Europe, North Africa, and Asia from 1935 to 1950, bringing together over 590,000 pages of pamphlets, government documents, relief organization publications, ephemera, and refugee reports that recount the causes, effects and responses to refugee crises before, during and shortly after the Second World War.

This rich collection makes it possible for researchers to unravel the complex history of forced migration in the twentieth century at every level, from the logistical details concerning the migration and resettlement of those in flight to the political challenges presented during and after the war. Documentation offers a first-hand record of the response of governments to various crises and shifts in policy; a chronicling of the aid work undertaken by NGOs and charities seeking to provide relief and aid in resettlement; and a recognition through individual narratives of the daily reality of the refugee experience. This archive enables researchers to examine not only the plight of those forced to resettle inside and outside their national borders, but also the many types of refugee situations that arose, from voluntary evacuations and the internment of individuals in displaced person (DP) camps to whole population transfers and the return of forced labourers.

Refugees, Relief and Resettlement: Forced Migration and World War II includes many historical records from the World Jewish Relief (WJR), a collection of documents that the Library chiefly has on microfilm (Document Collection MF27). Gratis online access was kindly provided due to the generous support of Paul Anticoni, Executive Director of the World Jewish Relief, who negotiated access to the Library. There has been a long-standing, close and historic relationship between the WJR and the Library.

This online resource is available onsite only as long as one is connected to the Library’s free Wi-Fi. Please note that access to the Library's Reading Room is currently only available via pre-booked appointments. Visit our website for further details. 

Being Human Festival 2020
The Legion of the Lost: New Discoveries on the Holocaust

Map of graves in Michelbach an der Bilz hand drawn during postwar Allied investigations of the death marches. ITS Digital Archive, Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.

The Library is delighted to be taking part in the Being Human Festival this year.

In this online event, a first in a series, participants will discover the history of a little-known archive, the International Tracing Service, created to find missing people after the Holocaust.

This online taster event will feature a preview of work by the leading Holocaust historian, Professor Dan Stone, as he uncovers new aspects of Holocaust history and its legacies and will also highlight family history research resources. The event will also include a preview of a traveling exhibition on tracing missing people after the Holocaust, which will be shown at the Linen Hall Library in 2021.

Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of confronting difficult histories on the personal level, with special consideration of the themes of war, migration, rupture, survival and victimhood.

This event will be followed by a workshop and lecture at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast in 2021, as pandemic conditions permit.

Organised by The Wiener Holocaust Library and the Holocaust Research Institute, Royal Holloway University of London. In partnership with The Linen Hall Library, Belfast.

Book tickets
Upcoming Events
Tuesday 13 October, 7-8pm
A Virtual Talk: The Face of Jewish Vengeance? Problems of Portraying Jewish Resistance in Holocaust Cinema

In this conversation, Professor Barry Langford will be virtually discussing some of the problems in portraying Jewish resistance in Holocaust cinema with the Library's Senior Curator, Dr Barbara Warnock.

This talk is part of our Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust exhibition event series.

Thursday 15 October, 7-8pm
A Virtual Talk: Ernst Fraenkel Prize Lecture

The Library is delighted to host the 2019 Ernst Fraenkel Prize winner Dr Heidi Tworek, in conversation with Dr Jo Fox.

Dr Tworek will be discussing her winning work News From Germany, exploring how Germans fought to regulate information at home and used the innovation of wireless technology to magnify their power abroad.

Wednesday 21 October, 7-8pm
An Online Conversation on Racial Antisemitism

In this discussion, part of The Wiener Holocaust Library’s series on Racism, Antisemitism, Colonialism and Genocide, Professor David Feldman and Professor Stefanie Schüler-Springorum will explore the origins and history of racial conceptions of antisemitism, and reflect on the significance today of this form of antisemitism.

Thursday 22 October, 7-8pm
Virtual Book Talk: The People on the Beach

The Wiener Holocaust Library is delighted to welcome Rosie Whitehouse, who will be in conversation with Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, about her new book, The People on the Beach.

Wednesday 28 October, 7-8pm
A Virtual Talk: Understanding Rescue: Insights from the Diary of Arnold Douwes

In this talk, Professor Moore will explore the insights that the remarkable diary of Arnold Douwes provides about efforts to rescue and hide Jews in the Netherlands.

This talk is part of our Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust exhibition event series.

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
Help the Library Develop our Refugee Family Papers Map

Whether you’ve browsed the Library's Refugee Family 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
Virtual events on the Library's YouTube Channel
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 virtual events, book talks, curator talks and more.

Wednesday 16 September 2020
A Virtual Talk: Felix Ganz (Mainz) – A Man and his Collection - Vanished almost without Traces

Adam Ganz and Nathalie Neumann explored the life and family history of Felix Ganz (1869-1944).

The discussion will also explore their partnership and journey to locate the art collection of the Ganz family.

Thursday 10 September
Online Book Launch: Survivors: Children's Lives after the Holocaust

The Library was delighted to launch Dr Rebecca Clifford's new book, Survivors: Children's Lives after the Holocaust. Drawing on archives and interviews, Clifford charts the experiences of these child survivors and those who cared for them—as well as those who studied them.

Podcasts on the current relevance of eugenics

In this series of 12 podcasts Professor Marius Turda (Oxford Brookes University) explores the links between historical and current experiences of eugenics across the world. The purpose is to discuss, in an accessible way, how 20th-century eugenic ideas and practices continue to shape our debates on reproduction, family, reproduction, racism, sports, gender and sexuality, and popular culture. 

The complete list of podcast is as follows:

1. UCL and Francis Galton

2. Sterilisation in Japan

3. Racism against the Roma

4. Religion and reproduction

5. Birth control 

6. Black Lives Matter 

7. Indigenous populations 

8. Pre-marital certificates

9. Photography 

10. Films

11. Sports 

12. LGBTQ 

Listen here
Generation 2 Generation upcoming events

To register your interest for the below event please email Lesley Urbach

Tuesday 13 October 2020, 7.30pm

Helen Stone will tell the story of how her mother, Emmy Golding, nee Kaufmann, who was born in a small village near Cologne in Germany, escaped to Britain on a domestic visa four months before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Call for Participation
Connecting Small Histories: a Festival of Local Heritage

3rd and 4th March 2021, Manchester* and online

The Connecting Small Histories: Ensuring Sustainability in Jewish History Projects team is hosting a History Festival in March 2021, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Festival welcomes proposals on any related topic

Suggested topics may include:

  • British Jewish history / heritage (particularly, small Jewish communities)
  • Local history / heritage of the areas of: Bradford, Cumbria, Eastbourne, Lytham St. Annes, Somerset and Sunderland.
  • Volunteer / community projects focusing on local history / heritage

Submission Guidelines

Please send a brief outline/abstract (up to 200 words) of your proposed participation - indicating clearly whether short presentation, longer paper or stall - and a short paragraph introducing yourself to: heritage@jscn.org.uk with subject line 'Conference'.

Find out more
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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