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Many individuals were involved in collecting these early Holocaust testimonies. Some of these individuals are listed below.

On this page:

Project Manager

Eva Reichmann 

Dr Eva Reichmann, Director of Research at The Wiener Library from 1945 until 1959, was a prominent German historian and sociologist who fled Nazi Germany in 1939.

Born in 1897 in Upper Silesia, Reichmann grew up in a liberal Jewish home and was influenced by the family’s rabbi, Leo Baeck. She studied economics in Breslau, Berlin, Munich and Heidelberg where she earned a DPhil in 1921. She married the jurist Hans Reichmann in 1932. Reichmann became an expert for the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith.

Following Hans Reichmann’s release from Sachsenhausen after the events of Kristallnacht (the November Pogrom), the couple emigrated to Britain in 1939. Eva Reichmann’s research on Nazi antisemitism was published in 1950 as Hostages of Civilisation. From 1942-1943, Reichmann worked for the BBC’s German listening service, after which she became the Director of Research at The Wiener Library where she managed the ambitious project to collect more than 1,300 early eyewitness testimonies.

Eva Reichmann

Eva Reichmann


Nelly Wolffheim 

Nelly Wolffheim was born in Berlin in 1879. She studied to teach in Kindergarten, but in the early stages of her career she became repeatedly ill. During this time she began to write about her pedagogical work. In 1914 she opened a Kindergarten, and in later years it adopted a pedagogical approach directly influenced by Freud’s psychoanalytic method. In 1930 her approach and thinking was summarised in the book Psychoanalyse und Kindergarten. When Hitler came to power in Germany the Nazis denounced Freud’s works as examples of ‘degenerate Jewish theory’, and Nelly Wolffheim’s book was burned along with many other prohibited books.

In 1939 the school that Wolffheim had set up was forcibly closed and not long afterwards she escaped to London, having sought long and hard for the means to emigrate. Wolffheim’s was not able to establish an academic career in England, but after the war she did resume publication in German. Working as an interviewer on Eva Reichmann’s project is one of the ways that Wolffheim was able to supplement her income in later life.

View interviews conducted by Nelly Wolffheim

Nelly Wolffheim

Nelly Wolffheim


Elli Kamm

Elli Kamm was born in 1913 in Aachen, Germany. She trained as a nursery school teacher and founded her own nursery for Jewish children in 1934. It rapidly became very successful and she was eventually able to employ an assistant. In 1938, due to the widespread emigration of Jewish children she was forced to shut down the nursery.

Elli emigrated to England in 1939 with her sister, Helga, who had been employed as a secretary at the 
Hilfsverein der Juden in Deutschland (Relief Organisation of Jews in Germany). They were both employed as domestic servants. In 1940, Elli moved to the United States of America where she worked as a nanny until 1948. Both of Elli’s parents were unable to leave Germany and were deported to Riga in December 1941. They were subsequently deported to another camp, possibly Auschwitz, from where they did not return.

Elli Kamm later became an employee of The Wiener Library’s project to gather documentation and personal narratives from victims of Nazi persecution.

View interviews conducted by Elli Kamm

Elli Kamm

Red Cross Telegram written by Elli Kamm in London to her father Max Kamm in Cologne, 1939.


Alexander Szanto

Alexander Szanto was a Hungarian Jew whose father had emigrated from Hungary to Berlin in the late nineteenth century. He lived and worked in Berlin for thirty years, but in December 1939 his residence permit was revoked by the Nazi regime. Returning to Budapest without proof of citizenship, he immediately took up social work within the Jewish community. In May 1941 he married Magda Ipolyi. The couple conducted private lessons in English and German to make a living.

Alexander was interned for several weeks following Hungary’s entry into the Second World War as an ally of Germany, but escaped deportation to unarmed military labour. He was released in December 1941, remaining under police observation. He was finally granted Hungarian citizenship in 1943. In May 1944 he was conscripted for forced labour service within Hungary, but was able to escape on 27 October 1944. He was living in hiding in Budapest when the Red Army entered the city.

After the war he emigrated to London. He contributed to The Wiener Library’s efforts to gather eyewitness accounts not only by recording accounts of his wife’s and his own experiences, but also by conducting interviews with other survivors.

View interviews conducted by Alexander Szanto

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