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.

Read more at Times of Israel

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


While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy