Jenni Frazer for the Jewish News

‘Departed without leaving a forwarding address’ – the German Reichspost used this stamp to return post to its sender when the item’s recipient had been deported, Wiener Holocaust Library Collections

More than 60 historic letters are on display at an extraordinary exhibition at the Wiener Library in London.

When Vic Eckstein, formerly of Bradford and now living in Haslemere, Surrey, found a cache of 76 letters written by his late father, Arnost, he brought them to the Wiener Holocaust Library.

And what the letters revealed enabled Vic, as he says, “to meet my father all over again”.

The Eckstein material — donated as recently as 2020 — form part of a remarkable exhibition about to open at the Wiener Library, ‘Holocaust Letters’. The more than 60 letters on display are, in many cases, the last words of Jewish victims of Nazi genocide — never seen before in public, but all culled from the Wiener’s vast archives.

The letters are just a small sample of the thousands of pieces of original material collected by the Wiener Library since it was founded in 1933.

Curated by Christine Schmidt and Sandra Lipner, the exhibition is a project of the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership, which comprises the Wiener Holocaust Library and the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London.

As Sandra Lipner observed: “So often these stories start with ‘I found a suitcase, or a box, or a bag’.” Even today, in 2023, the Wiener receives upwards of 50 such donations a year, leading the researchers to conclude that “the history of the Shoah is still being written”.

Read the full article here.