Events & Exhibitions

Current 28 June 2023

Red Cross messages had been introduced during the First World War, when an urgent need developed for a means that would re-establish the communications that had been severed by the conflict, for example between prisoners of war and their families at home. During the Second World War, as conventional means of communication were increasingly denied to Jews trapped in the Third Reich, Red Cross messages came to play a vital part in what remained of the contacts between those Jews and their family members who had escaped abroad; little systematic attention has, however, as yet been devoted to them.

Current 12 June 2023

The 1930s/40s saw thousands of German-Jewish refugees seek asylum in locations across the world, with the by-product being the enforced fracturing of family networks and the shared world in which they inhabited. During this period, contact between separated family members continued, albeit minimised, with the aim of gaining information on the health and location of loved ones being of primary importance. Abruptly, space was injected into close familial relationships, with letters acting as the bridge between separated parties and thus creating their own metaphysical ‘epistolary space’ often in replacement of physical spaces. Conversations on emigration efforts, familial life and geopolitical concerns moved from within the home on to pieces of paper, as family units dispersed. Discussions altered and adapted into a new epistolary space, albeit one often burdened with the ineffability of their situation.  

Current 6 June 2023

Join the curators of the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership’s latest exhibition, Holocaust Letters, to learn more about how they developed the exhibition. Their talk will discuss key letters on display, the ethics and practice of curating personal document collections, the role of the archive in mediating the past, and reflections on co-curating with historians and families.

Current 5 June 2023

In this hands-on lunchtime talk, Jenifer Ball will demonstrate how she translated a German letter on display in the exhibition. She will discuss how she approaches linguistic and cultural questions in personal papers and researches references to contemporary social life to create richly contextualised texts.

Past 24 May 2023

This one-day PGR/ECR Workshop at the Wiener Holocaust Library will take place on the 24 May 2023.

Past 15 May 2023

This lecture examines Jane Haining through a microhistory approach. Haining was a Scottish missionary who worked among Christian and Jewish girls in Budapest, with the intention of bringing Jews into the Christian church. The chief conversionary tactic was to lead a ‘Christian example’. Jane Haining elected to remain in Budapest throughout the war, which subsequently led to her arrest in March 1944. Subsequently, she was transported to Auschwitz where she was murdered. Communication from Haining is scant, but what little information exists is frequently used to present her as a selfless ‘Christian martyr’. Haining’s letters, including her final correspondence from Auschwitz, tell us little about her experiences. Sessa argues that the Church of Scotland uses these letters to offer an apologetic narrative of its own missionary past, and identifies this as a dangerous trend within the context of memory studies.

Past 26 April 2023

When Deborah Jaffé was clearing her parents’ flat she found a pile of damp and mouldy letters and papers. The 200 letters were written in German by her father in Berlin and dated between 1937-39. Many were carbon copies of letters he had typed on the typewriter he had given her. There were replies too, as well as telegrams, birth certificates, a passport, school reports, job references, train tickets and numerous application forms for emigration.   Despite her almost non-existent German, she realised they were important and a young man’s attempts to get out. This has now gone from being a pile of 200 letters to an archive with its own biography.

Past 24 April 2023

Letters provide insight into their writers, but how much can we learn about them from one letter?

This talk examines a Jewish nurse’s letter to her brother from the opening months of the First World War. The letter is replete with allusions to the unfolding military situation on the Eastern Front, but it also offers a glimpse into her own journey of self-discovery – a newly trained nurse, a woman who has realised that she ‘likes working’.

Past 18 April 2023

Born a German Jew in 1915, Rudy Baum was eighty-six years old when he sealed the garage door of his Dallas home, turned on the car ignition, and tried to end his life. After confronting her father’s attempted suicide, Karen Baum Gordon, Rudy’s daughter, began a sincere effort to understand the sequence of events that led her father to that dreadful day in 2002. What she found were hidden scars of generational struggles reaching back to the camps and ghettos of the Third Reich. 

Past 15 March 2023

The Wiener Holocaust Library and the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London, through its Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership, in partnership with Jewish Renaissance and the Hellenic Institute at Royal Holloway, are pleased to co-host this in-conversation event featuring the authors Michael Frank, Bart van Es (The Cut Out Girl: a Story of War and Family, Lost and Found), and modern Greek history specialist Paris Chronakis in discussion on Frank’s latest book, One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World.