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Visit The Wiener Holocaust Library

The Wiener Holocaust Library is one of the world's leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era.  Formed in 1933, the Library's unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony.

On this page:

History and Mission

Our vision is of a continuously developing library, archive and information service for the UK and for the international community, dedicated to supporting research, learning, teaching and advocacy about the Holocaust and genocide, their causes and consequences.

The Library provides a resource to oppose antisemitism and other forms of prejudice and intolerance. Its reputation rests on its independence and the scholarly objectivity of its activities and publications.

Our mission is:

  • To serve scholars, professional researchers, the media and the public as a library of record.
  • To be a living memorial to the evils of the past by ensuring that our wealth of materials is put at the service of the future.
  • To engage people of all ages and backgrounds in understanding the Holocaust and its historical context through an active educational programme.

Our History

The Wiener Holocaust Library traces its roots back to Germany in the 1920s. Dr Alfred Wiener, a German Jew, having fought in WWI, returned to Germany in 1919 and was horrified at the surge of right-wing antisemitism, which blamed Jews for the defeat. 

Dr Wiener worked with the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith to combat antisemitism, writing, lobbying and speaking publicly. From 1925 (the year Hitler published Mein Kampf) he perceived a greater threat from the Nazi Party than any other antisemitic group or party. Under his influence an archive was started just to collect information about the Nazis, which formed the basis of campaigns to undermine their activities.

Dr Wiener and his family fled Germany in 1933 and settled in Amsterdam.  Dr Wiener's first archive is believed to have been destroyed. Later that year he set up the Jewish Central Information Office at the request of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Anglo-Jewish Association.  The JCIO essentially continued the work of the earlier archive.

Following the November Pogrom of 1938, Wiener prepared to bring his collection to the UK. It arrived the following summer and is believed to have opened on the day the Nazis invaded Poland.

Throughout the War the JCIO served the British Government as it fought the Nazi regime. Increasingly the collection was referred to as ‘Dr Wiener's Library' and eventually this led to its renaming.

Post-war, the Library assisted the prosecutors at the Nuremberg Trial, amassed early survivor testimony and helped to shape the emerging academic study of the Holocaust.

Today, the collection is among the largest and most respected in the world and continues to grow. In 2011 it moved to new premises in Russell Square and began a programme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve access and open its collections to the widest possible audience.

Wiener Holocaust Library activities

The Wiener Holocaust Library offers free public access to three temporary exhibitions a year in our main exhibition space, in addition to a number of mini Reading Room exhibitions, travelling exhibitions, and online exhibitions. View our exhibitions page to find out more about current and upcoming exhibitions. 

We also offer a varied program of events including tours, workshops, lectures and book talks. Visit our 
What's On page to learn more and to register for events. 

Our frequently-updated blog contains posts on a variety of subjects related to our collections and outreach efforts. In addition to promoting and highlighting aspects of the Testifying to the Truth project, we post book reviews, opinion pieces, and descriptions of new Library acquisitions, events, and digital projects. Blog posts are written by Library staff, interns, and volunteers.

Social Media

Follow us on social media to learn more about Testifying to the Truth, as well as to keep up-to-date on Library events, exhibitions, and subject-related national/international news. We also use social media to highlight other relevant digital resources, collection highlights, and other Library news.

Our most recently developed social media platform is the video-sharing site, YouTube. On our YouTube channel, you can watch a number of short videos made for and about the Library. In addition to the videos below, you can learn about the history of the Library, explore our important collections, and watch Holocaust survivor, Otto Deutsch, give his testimony during a Library event.

Contact Us


29 Russell Square
London WC1B 5DP
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7636 7247


Collections & Reading Room related

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