One of the Most Important Archives of the Holocaust Was Established on the First Day of World War II

Today, the Wiener Library in London is known to historians, researchers, and genealogists as a valuable source of rare books and archival materials, particularly pertaining to the experiences of German and British Jews during the Holocaust. Robert Philpot tells the story of its origins:

Eighty-five years ago this year, Alfred Wiener, a German Jew decorated with the Iron Cross in World War I, fled his homeland and established the Jewish Central Information Office in Amsterdam. Its purpose was to alert the world to the dangers posed by Germany’s new rulers. . . . [H]e had been aware, and trying to warn his fellow countrymen, of the growing menace posed by the German far right for almost the entire period of the Weimar Republic. . . . To inform and document his work, Wiener collected pamphlets, books, leaflets, newspapers, and posters charting the Nazis’ rise and their hatred of Jews. . . .

In the late summer of 1939 Wiener departed Amsterdam for Britain, where on the ill-fated date of September 1, 1939, he reopened the Jewish Central Information Office in London’s Marylebone [neighborhood] as Germany invaded Poland. Scrambling to [gain information] about the leaders, military commanders, and institutions of the country with which Britain was now at war, the BBC and such government departments as the Ministry of Information paid Wiener to access the resources of what they began informally to call “the library.” . . .

[Beyond this, there] is the critical role played by the library in adding to, and helping to shape, early postwar thinking about, and studies of, Nazi ideology, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. Gerald Reitlinger’s classic 1953 study of the Holocaust, The Final Solution, [the first English-language history of the subject], was, for instance, mainly researched at the library. It also supported Lionel Kochan’s 1957 book, Pogrom: November 10 1938, the first detailed analysis of Kristallnacht. . . .

Crucially, the library also began to assemble and publish eyewitness accounts of the Nazis’ war on the Jews almost as soon as Hitler was dead. . . . It [also] provided documentation to the prosecutors at Nuremberg that was available nowhere else. . . . Nearly fifteen years later, it performed the same function at the trial of Adolf Eichmann.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: British Jewry, Eichmann Trial, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Jewish archives, Nuremberg Trials

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror