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The Wiener Library is more than just books on bookshelves; it has a fascinating history, a rich and in some cases untapped collection and a continually developing outreach programme.
As Britain's largest Holocaust memorial institution, whether you’re carrying out in-depth research or just looking for an introduction to the subject, the Wiener Library offers a unique and engaging learning environment for all.
Katy, from the Wiener Library told us more...
Since moving to 29 Russell Square in August 2011 and officially reopening in December, the Wiener Library has successfully settled into Camden’s cultural centre. As Britain’s largest Holocaust memorial institution, the Wiener Library is now perfectly placed to serve researchers and members of the public alike with its unique collections and a vibrant outreach programme.
Officially founded in 1933 by a German Jew named Alfred Wiener, the Library’s Collection began as an assemblage of Nazi propaganda circulating anti-semitic ideas within Germany, which Wiener accumulated himself foreseeing the potential dangers of Nazism. The Library’s first ever exhibition, ‘A’ is for Adolf: Teaching German Children Nazi Values (1st Dec 2011 - 7th March 2012), is based on this original material, showcasing brazen techniques to indoctrinate children with Nazi ideas through colouring books laden with Swastikas or textbooks highlighting the hateful racial stereotype of the impure and greedy Jew.
The Wiener Library’s unique and unprecedented collection continued to grow prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. Having moved to London in 1939, the collection was used by the British Government and the BBC during the War, and provided significant evidence for the trial of Nazi War Criminals during the post-war Nuremberg Trials. Today the Library's collections continue to grow, and now contain documents, pamphlets, photographs, eyewitness testimonies, press cuttings, objects and reference books, which are all available for members of the public to study.
Following the expiry of the Library's lease in its former home of over 50 years, it has now relocated to beautiful new premises in Russell Square and launched a new programme of lively and eclectic public events including talks, lectures, film screenings, open days and special skills-based workshops such as an ‘Introduction the Library’ session in conjunction with National Libraries Day.
Forthcoming events include the Library’s commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day with talks reflecting this year’s ‘Speak Up Speak Out’ theme.
February is set to be an exciting month for the Library with a Panel Discussion titled ‘Old Enough to Know the Truth? When and How should Children start Learning about the Holocaust’, with speakers including the Deputy Children’s Commissioner, Sue Berelowitz, celebrated children’s writer, Michael Rosen, Professor at Royal Holloway, Dan Stone and Emma O’Brian of the Holocaust Education Development Programme at the Institute of Education.
Additionally, the Library will be teaming up with the Camden LGBT Forum to offer an event discussing Homophobia within schools in conjunction with LGBT History month.