‘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

This exhibition, launching on 22 February 2023, will examine Holocaust-era correspondence for evidence of how Jewish persecutees understood what was happening to them as events of the Holocaust unfolded.

Through letters held in the Library’s archive and in private collections, the exhibition will uncover how people exchanged information across borders, in defiance of censors and in the midst of chaos, deportations and destruction.

How did survivors and relatives preserve or come to safeguard letters from the wartime period, and how did these seemingly ordinary objects transform into precious and extraordinary symbols of what was lost?

As one of the world’s leading archives of the history of the Holocaust, the Wiener Holocaust Library houses many collections of Nazi-era family letters.

This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to experience these and to find out what persecutees knew about the events unfolding around them. It illustrates powerfully how knowledge about the Holocaust was produced and exchanged by correspondents across many countries during the Second World War and in the immediate post-war era.

Holocaust Letters is curated by Christine Schmidt and Sandra Lipner, with advisory by Dan Stone, for the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership (HGRP), an initiative of The Wiener Holocaust Library and the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London.

This exhibition has been generously supported by the Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation, the Stuart Rossiter Trust, the Holocaust Research Institute, Techne, and Friends and supporters of the Library.

Exhibition Events:

Exhibition and Catalogue Bibliography

The bibliography to the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue can be found here.