Two concurrent exhibitions will launch on the 4 July 2023.
Highlights From the Archives reveals some of the most significant objects from the archive that is one of the world’s most significant caches of evidence about the Holocaust.
Dr Alfred Wiener, a German Jew, was one of the first people in Europe to sound the alarm about Nazi antisemitism. The organisation that he started bravely and subversively collected intelligence about the Nazis’ plans, and evidence of their crimes, before the Holocaust had even begun.
The exhibition features early texts warning of the danger inherent in Nazi antisemitism, secret diaries kept in squalid ghettos, photographs of Jewish refugees trapped in remote borderlands and valuable eyewitness testimonies that attempted to make sense of the devastation.
The Wiener Family Story reveals that while Dr Wiener anticipated the horrors that Nazi rule might produce, his family could not escape the unfolding disaster. Wiener’s wife and three daughters were arrested in Amsterdam, interned at Westerbork internment camp, and deported to Bergen Belsen concentration camp. They had missed out on safe passage to Britain by only a few days.
Wiener and his colleagues used their extensive intelligence to support the Allied war effort and later provide evidence for the prosecution at Nuremberg. The Library’s work to build, preserve and share this collection continues in London to this day. Each object on display reveals not only the history of the Holocaust, but also the history of the fight to preserve the evidence that can counter dangerous denial and distortion.
The exhibition tells the extraordinary story of the Wiener and Finkelstein families, explored in a new book by Lord Daniel Finkelstein, Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad. Parallel stories of incarceration, escape and survival are revealed through some of the remarkably preserved documents that informed research for the book: letters, telegrams, passports and family photographs.
Our archives contain a trove of vital evidence about the crimes of the Nazis and their collaborators. We are the world’s longest continuous Holocaust research institution, and one of Britain’s most important archival collections. This exhibition highlights the diversity of our unique collections, and also tells the story of our founder, Dr Alfred Wiener, and his wife Dr Margarete Wiener, who lost her life during the Holocaust.Dr Barbara Warnock, curator of the exhibitions
In Britain, we have only just begun to recognise the exceptional importance of the collections gathered in The Wiener Holocaust Library. The Wiener family story is one of astonishing survival against the odds and so is the story of the Library that Alfred and Margarete founded in Amsterdam 90 years ago.
Our vast and growing holdings attest to the relevance of the historical record for future generations. Looking after the evidence of the Holocaust and other genocides is our responsibility to those who were murdered and those who survived. We can only do this with the generous support of the public whose engagement with our work will be key to ensuring the Library is still accessible for the next 90 years and beyond.Dr Toby Simpson, Director of the Library
Telegram sent by Camille Aronowska to Alfred Wiener, 30 January 1945. Margarete Wiener died while on a prisoner exchange transport from Germany to Switzerland, just a few days from freedom. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections
The Wiener girls in Amsterdam, c. 1938. Mirjam, Ruth and Eva Wiener lived in Amsterdam after fleeing Berlin. They lived in the Jewish district of the city and were friends with Anne and Margot Frank. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.