Wiener Library

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WIENER LIBRARY , Jewish information institute in London, founded in 1934 in Amsterdam as the Jewish Central Information Office, by David Cohen, its president, and Alfred *Wiener, its director. The aim of the institute was to communicate material on the realities of *national socialism to Jewish organizations and leaders for effective action with the authorities of their respective countries. It collected, inter alia, Nazi news publications (up to the end of World War ii). The institute supplied information for the defense of David *Frankfurter and for the trial of the publishers of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Switzerland. At the end of 1938 a special collection of material on the November Kristallnacht was initiated. In the spring of 1939 the seat of the institute was transferred to London. The Amsterdam branch and most of its personnel became victims of the Nazis. During World War ii the library collaborated with the British authorities and the bbc. Special stress was laid on the collection of material on war criminals, which was supplied to the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. In recognition of these services the library received the bulk of the copies of prosecution documents. In 1946 a bi-monthly, The Wiener Library Bulletin, was initiated. With volume xix, no. 3 (1965), its publication ceased, but it was replaced by a new publication under the same title with a change in interests and contents. The 19 volumes are a treasure of information on Nazism, Fascism (including neo-Nazism and neo-Fascism), Jewish affairs, and the Holocaust in particular. After the death of Alfred Wiener in 1964, Walter Z. *Laqueur became director of the library. He inaugurated the Journal of Contemporary History (1966), catalogs of the book collection, and monographs on the library's research subjects. Four catalogs of the library had been previously published.

[Yehuda Reshef]

At the end of 1974 it was announced that the Wiener Library would be transferred to Tel Aviv University; the move was completed in 1980 with a microfilm library, covering periodicals, press archives, and rare books, to be maintained in London. From 1974 to 1980 Tel Aviv University contributed to the maintenance of the library in London. Despite the move of some of its holdings to Israel, it continues as the Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library, at Devonshire Street in central London. It contains one of the largest libraries of books and archives relating to the Holocaust period in Europe, over 50,000 items. Its director in 2005, Ben Barkow, was the author of Alfred Wiener and the Making of the Holocaust Library (1997). The Library publishes a newsletter and other works and holds lectures and conferences.


J. Robinson and P. Friedman, Guide to Jewish History under Nazi Impact (1960), 108–9; Wiener Library; The Wiener Library, Its History and Activities, 1934–1945 (1946); R. Weltsch, in: ylbi, 9 (1964), xxix–xxx.