International Women's day 2022
As we honor the women who made a significant impact on history, it is important to remember that some women dedicated their lives and careers to preserving the past and changing the course of history.
Eva Gabriele Reichmann was a Jewish German economist and sociologist, who immigrated from Silesia to Germany to study economics in Munich, earning a doctorate in 1921. After fleeing Nazi Germany and settling in London, Eva focused mainly on Judaism and the social history of German Jewry. In 1939 Eva went on to become the Director of Research at The Wiener Library in London. Over the course of seven years, she led a large-scale project to record Holocaust survivor testimonials. She and her team gathered reports from refugees and survivors in England and overseas, where more than 1,300 reports in seven different languages were collected as part of the project. As Eva describes in the article attached, which she wrote in 1954, her intentions for this project were to honor and share the stories of the individuals who suffered, lost, and were almost defeated by the Nazi regime. She wanted these personal experiences and memories to provide a clear picture of the past and lay the groundwork for the future. Eva mentioned the significance of personal recollections and experiences that are shared by diaries, letters, photos, etc. These pieces of knowledge, in her mind, can be explored by historians, researchers, and others to learn more about and from the past, and to build a well thought future.
Despite her personal experiences with the Nazi regime, she believed that the assumption that all Germans bear collective guilt was inaccurate, and she advocated for dialogue and reconciliation between Jews and Germans. Eva wrote numerous papers on the issue after WWII, and frequently traveled to Germany to give lectures on these topics. She was a member and co-worker in various organizations dedicated to the future of Jewish-German relations. For these reasons and many more, Eva was honored with various medals for her contributions to democracy, freedom, and tolerance.
In September 1998, Eva Reichmann died in London, at the age of 101.
In 2022, the Holocaust remains a part of our history. As history shows, past experiences can shift history in many directions and affect generations to come. Even if some past experiences can be overlooked, the collection of testimonies and personal documents that Eva Reichmann dedicated her career for, still offers a great deal of information that can be used as a learning tool and to provide the framework for future generations to build on.
“We all have a duty to fulfil towards our past.” Eva Reichmann
Attached is an article written by Eva Reichmann about the Holocaust survivor testimonials project. The article was published on the front cover of the journal of Association of Jewish Refugees in Great Britain in 1954.
Read the text »
To view the Wiener Library London website dedicated to the Holocaust survivor testimonials project Eva Reichmann led, click here »
 History of the collection - The Wiener Holocaust Library: Testifying to the truth: Eyewitnesses to the holocaust. (2018). Testifying to the Truth: Eyewitnesses to the Holocaust.
 Eva Gabriele Reichmann. (1999). Jewish Women’s Archive. https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/reichmann-eva-grabriele