Library's History

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Wiener Library
Dr. Alfred Wiener

Alfred Wiener, 1885 - 1964

A Jewish-German researcher and journalist, who held various positions at the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith (Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens – CV). He was also founder of the Wiener Library – the first institution to document information about Nazism and the Holocaust.

 

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The Wiener Collection was established in 1933 by Dr. Alfred Wiener, a German Jewish scholar and former member and activist of the Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens (CV). Dr. Wiener left Germany when the Nazis rose to power, and moved to Amsterdam. There, he established the Jewish Central Information Office (JCIO) with the help of Prof. David Cohen, a professor of Ancient History at the University of Amsterdam and a prominent member of the local Jewish community.

 

The establishment of the JCIO was based on an idea of German Jewish activists, in the late 1920s, to collect information about the Nazi Party, as part of the struggle to prevent its strengthening. According to Wiener's vision, the Amsterdam center would draw world attention towards the dangers of Nazi anti-Semitism, and the exacerbation of anti-Jewish policies in 1930s’ Europe. In 1939, Dr. Wiener transferred the collection to London, where it served various bodies of the British government in collecting information about the Nazis. The center came to be known as "Dr. Wiener's Library," and later the Wiener Library.

 

Throughout the war years, he and his assistants continued to collect information and documents on Germany’s occupation policy, responses to it, and particularly the fate of European Jewry. When the war ended, Holocaust survivors' testimonies, as well as information regarding the fate of Jewish refugees, were collected. Up until his death in 1964, Dr. Wiener and his team continued to focus on expanding the collection. 

 

In the late 1970s the Wiener Library (London) management decided to transfer the entire collection to Tel Aviv University. Thereafter, leading historians at the university decided to establish the Wiener Library as a research library affiliated to the Sourasky Central Library.

 

Over the past three decades, the Library's collection has expanded considerably, and it now contains a large variety of archival documents, brochures, journals and reference books. The archive includes thousands of Holocaust and Nazi Era documents, as well as eyewitness accounts and documents from the Nuremberg trials. Further details on the material can be found in the Library's Collections section.

Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel
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