Ben Barkow was the Library’s Director for twenty years and during this time oversaw the move to 29 Russell Square, secured the vast archives of the International Tracing Service, took the Library into the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure project and helped to build the close partnership we now have with the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London. Under his leadership the Library has become an outward-facing, open institution, ensuring that the history and legacy on which it was founded is put to the service of the future.
Current Director of The Wiener Holocaust Library, Dr Toby Simpson, said:
I’m delighted to hear that Ben has been awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of his achievements as Director of The Wiener Holocaust Library. This prestigious honour is richly deserved. The staff of the Library are all very proud of him. Ben’s committed service over many years ensured that the Library’s unique collections remained intact through times when the organisation’s survival was by no means guaranteed. In better times, his visionary leadership enabled the Library to develop and flourish to reach its present state of vitality. Ben is a truly worthy recipient of this award. His wholehearted dedication to the study of the Holocaust and other genocides sets an example that many others, myself included, will seek to follow.
Dr Alfred Wiener, the Library’s founder, was also awarded the Order of Merit in 1955.