WHL Digital Resources

Cailee Davis recently completed her MA in Holocaust Studies with Distinction at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her dissertation, “Inglorious Basterds: Rewriting American History,” explores the Americanization of the Holocaust in American cinema as a method for ignoring the genocides within America’s own history. Soon, Cailee will begin her doctoral studies, examining the shifting modalities of Holocaust representation across all mediums, including film, television, art, photography, and literature, as the generation of survivors and eyewitnesses pass on and the Holocaust becomes removed from living memory. She is especially interested in how the lack of firsthand accounts, outside of recorded testimonies, will impact Holocaust education and awareness for rising generations. 

In line with government and NHS advice, The Wiener Holocaust Library recently closed to the public. However, we are dedicated to ensuring that our vast collection of materials remains as accessible as possible. Below are a few of our digital resources that we invite you to explore. 

The Holocaust Explained

Earlier this month, the Library relaunched The Holocaust Explained. An excellent resource for educators, the website is intended to provide accurate and engaging information on nine key topic areas about the Holocaust, including life before the Holocaust and resistance/collaboration. In addition to providing answers to common questions, The Holocaust Explained resource also seeks to challenge common misconceptions related to the Holocaust. Among the many primary source materials available on the site are maps, documents, photographs, a glossary of key vocabulary, a detailed timeline, and video recordings of survivor testimony, as well as ready-for-use teaching materials such as worksheets and activity kits. 

Women Under Nazi Persecution and The Nazi Camps System

In partnership with the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the International Tracing Service (ITS) (now called the Arolsen Archives), the Library provides access to The Nazi Camp System and Women Under Nazi Persecution, two collections of unique primary source documents gathered from the ITS related to women and the Holocaust. The Camp System resource provides an overview of the camp system and key documents related to prisoner societies, and the function and administration of the camps. The Women under Nazi Persecution resource includes an overview of key concepts of women’s lives, such as pregnancy and forced prostitution within the camps, whilst also highlighting letters, post-war testimonies, and photographs of Holocaust victims’ personal effects. 

The Library continues to prioritise research on behalf of survivors and their families within the ITS digital archive and requests for research are still being filed. If you would like further information or to submit a request, please visit our website here.  

Pogrom: November 1938. Testimonies from Kristallnacht

Following the pogroms in Germany and Austria in November 1938, also known as Kristallnacht, Dr Alfred Wiener and his colleagues at the Jewish Central Information Office (JCIO) collected hundreds of eyewitness testimonies. These primary source documents have been digitised into an online database, wherein visitors can examine both the original documents and translations in English. In addition to these histories, the website also offers a “Historical Context” section, which outlines various frameworks such as the Nazis’ rise to power, within which to place documents from the collection. The database also includes an extensive glossary of key terms.

Refugee Family Papers: An Interactive Map

An excellent resource for visual learning, the Library has digitised a collection of refugee family papers into an interactive and user-friendly map of Europe that allows visitors to learn about individuals and their families within the context of wartime geography. Available on the map are short biographies about the families, as well as a variety of digital archival material, including photographs, audio clips, and written testimonies. 

The Wiener Holocaust Library Online Exhibitions

The Library has several exhibitions available for users to view digitally and online. Visit our website and explore the life and work of German-Jewish photographer Gerty Simon; learn more about the Kindertransport; or take a look through our popular London 1938: Defending ‘Degenerate’ German Art exhibition.

External Resources 

Along with our own online resources, The Wiener Holocaust Library would also like to highlight a selection of external institutions whose vast digital collections you might find helpful—the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), Yad Vashem and the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI).

The USHMM is home to an extensive array of online resources, including videos, an oral history archive, podcasts, articles, and a Holocaust Encyclopedia, which contains over 800 entries related to the Holocaust, genocide, and antisemitism. Furthermore, the museum’s website includes a wealth of educator materials, including teaching guides and ready-for-use lesson plans on a variety of Holocaust-related subjects. 

Yad Vashem provides public access to several online collections, including a documents archive, a film database, a photography archive, and a centralised database of Shoah victims. The museum also has a virtual library that contains over 165,000 works. Additionally, Yad Vashem has digitised dozens of exhibitions that cover a range of topics, such as rescue, Jewish daily life, and art produced during the Holocaust. 

The EHRI Online Course in Holocaust Studies provides source material and background information in order to give an overview of recent trends in historiography. This developed course teaches by using selected representative examples and five overarching topics. 

The Arolsen Archives (formerly the International Tracing Service) offers access to a large selection of its digital archive online. To assist with navigation, they have created a new online E-guide for concentration camp and Displaced Persons records. You can also prepare for your next onsite visit to the Library using the full catalogue of ITS digital records by reviewing our jointly produced video tutorials on navigating the collection. 

We hope you find these resources helpful, and we thank you for your patience and understanding during this period of closure.