The Wiener Holocaust Library, after being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will open again this week with new health and safety measures, as well as a new exhibition, Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust.
Drawing upon the Library’s unique archival collections, this new exhibition shares the stories of the Jewish men and women who, in spite of the great personal risk, resisted the Nazis and their collaborators as the Holocaust took place around them.
Stories of Jewish resistance
Included in the stories of incredible endurance and bravery are those of Tosia Altman in German-occupied Poland, who distributed information and organized armed revolt while moving in and out of the ghettos; the Jewish slave workers who secretly smuggled evidence out of Auschwitz; and the Bielski brothers whose partisan groups rescued 1,200 men, women and children in the forests of Belorussia.
Individual acts of resistance are highlighted in this exhibition as well. Ruth Wiener, for example, maintained a secret diary in a concentration camp, as did Anne Frank while in hiding in Amsterdam. Others took part in clandestine religious worship in ghettos, and some victims of Nazi persecution buried their testimonies in Auschwitz.
Preview of the exhibition content
Learn more about the exhibition by watching this short video, with insights from Wiener Holocaust Library's Senior Curator and Head of Education, Dr Barbara Warnock.
Pre-booking will be open to the public from Wednesday 29 July, and the exhibition will run until 30 November 2020. More information is available on the Wiener Holocaust Library website.
- Jewish Lithuanian partisans’ group ‘The Avengers’ on their return to Vilna at the time of the liberation of the city by the Red Army, July 1944. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections
- Esther Pauline Lloyd, a Jewish woman from Jersey, was deported from the Channel Islands to camps in France and Germany in February 1943. The Wiener Holocaust Library holds a diary that Lloyd kept during her time of imprisonment. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections
- Group of Jewish partisan fighters in Soviet territories c.1942-1944. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.
- Map showing battles during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, April 1943. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections
- Herbert Baum, leader of the Baum Group, c.1935. Baum was probably murdered in prison by the Nazis in June 1942. Courtesy Privatbesitz / Reproduktion Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand.
- A report by Richard and Charlotte Holzer, surviving members of the Baum Group, 1957. The Baum Group was a Jewish communist resistance network who carried out arson attacks on Nazi sites. This report was collected by The Wiener Library as part of its project to gather eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.
- Resistance fighter Tosia Altman, who organized armed resistance in ghettos in German-occupied Poland. Altman died in 1943 from injuries sustained on the run. Courtesy Moreshet Archive.
- Bernard Musmand and Simone, both members of the French resistance in France, photographed in Montpelier during the war. Musmand, a Jew from Metz, joined the Maquis, armed partisans, in 1944.
- Philipp Manes, a German Jew and prolific writer, was deported to Theresienstadt in July 1942. Manes was key to the cultural life in the ghetto and he documented his experiences in great detail. The Library holds a collection of the journals that he kept during his incarceration. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.
- Philipp Manes’ diaries also contain contributions by other incarcerated prisoners such as poems, letters, and drawings. Including this portrait of Manes in 1944 drawn by fellow prisoner Arthur Goldschmidt. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.