The Wiener Holocaust Library has the UK’s largest archive of family papers related to Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe, including extensive collections of photographs: portraits, snapshots and albums. Family photographs have often been overlooked as historical or artistic objects in their own right. This exhibition asks visitors to reconsider their significance.
Most of the photographs in our family papers collections consist of domestic, everyday images, and lack complete captioning, context, authorship, or even clear, named subjects. They span holiday snaps from the 1920s, photo-postcards sent during the First World War, and formal studio portraits from the 1890s.
The photographs here are a selection of late nineteenth-century to early twentieth-century photographs from twelve collections connected to Jewish families in Germany and Austria. Photography in these decades underwent radical changes, and this is reflected throughout the exhibition. The images on display demonstrate an image-savvy public, using photography to express their identities and belonging within national cultures and local communities.
- Exhibition opening, Wednesday 21 September, 6-8pm
- Virtual Talk: Photographs and Family History Research, Thursday 6 October, 6:30-7:30pm
- Virtual PhD and a Cup of Tea: ‘Talking with Images’: Private Photographs from the Imperial War Museums, Thursday 13 October, 4-5pm
- Hybrid Talk: What is Jewish Photography?, Monday 31 October, 6-7pm
We have been delighted to receive the following press coverage for this exhibition:
- Wiener exhibit offers snapshot of life before Shoah, 3 October 2022
- The New Exhibition in the Wiener Holocaust Library, October 2022
- ‘Jews Are Not Welcome’: Powerful Photos of Jewish Life in Germany and Austria on the Eve of the Holocaust, 18 October 2022
- In London exhibition, snapshots of Jewish life soon to be shattered by the Holocaust, 21 October 2022