As the persecution and mass murder of European Jews unfolded, and shortly after the liberation, activists set out to document the fate of their communities. Jewish historical committees in several countries collected documents, artifacts and testimonies and brought together a major body of evidence - yet one which was later forgotten or used reluctantly. The edition, for the first time, brings together samples of early testmonies of Jewish witnesses and survivors taken before the 1960s.
The Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program was established by the Azrieli Foundation in 2005 to collect, preserve and share the memoirs and diaries written by survivors of the twentieth-century Nazi genocide of the Jews of Europe who later made their way to Canada.
More than half a century later, the diversity of stories allows readers to put a face on what was lost, and to grasp the enormity of what happened to six million Jews – one story at a time.
"These recordings are powerful personal accounts of the Holocaust from Jewish survivors living in Britain. This collection contains interviews from two oral history projects, the Living Memory of the Jewish Community (C410) and the Holocaust Survivors' Centre Interviews (C830)."
The Klaus Langer papers include color copies of pages of Klaus (later Yakob or Jacob) Langer's diary as well as a typed transcript of a letter written by Klaus's father, Erich, to his son between November 1941 and April 1942. Klaus, while living in Essen, Germany, began his diary shortly after his bar mitzvah in March 1937. In his diary Klaus wrote about daily life, family, friends, and his involvement in the Zionist movement, but in 1938, the entries become more political. After Kristallnacht, the entries describe his family’s efforts to leave Germany and the challenges they faced trying to immigrate. The color copies in this collection include entries from 1938, in which Klaus begins writing about the political situation happening around him, including his reaction to Kristallnacht.
LBI’s entire collection of nearly 5,000 memoirs and manuscripts has been digitized. This includes the original manuscripts and typescripts for important works like Joseph Roth's Radetzkymarsch as well as unpublished diaries and memoirs that document German-Jewish life from the 18th century to the present.
"Re:Collection is an educational tool for exploring the history of the Holocaust through first-hand accounts of survivors. This innovative digital resource combines video interviews with memoir excerpts, photos and artifacts, and features interactive timelines and maps to place survivors’ stories in historical and geographic context. Use Re:Collection in your classroom to help students understand the experiences of individual survivors and learn about important themes in the history of the Holocaust."
When Violinist Roman Totenberg immigrated to the United States in 1938, antisemitism in Europe was not restricted solely to Nazi Germany, but had spread across the continent and was pervasive in his native Poland. Even before September 1939, Totenberg began efforts to secure family members’ safety in the face of seemingly inevitable cataclysm. His mother, Stanislawa, joined him in Paris in 1935 and remained in Europe until, with the help of Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa, she escaped to the United States as the Nazis took possession of France in June 1940. Despite Roman’s efforts, his sister, Janina Ferster (later, Kruk), and her family were not so fortunate. Trapped in Warsaw at the war’s outbreak, she endured the loss of her husband, but miraculously managed to survive with her young daughter until the Allied victory.
Janina’s daughter, Elizabeth Wilk, made a gift of her family’s papers to the Library of Congress to be included in the Totenberg Collection, and it is these that form the foundation of vital material presented here. These documents, letters, telegrams, drawings and photo albums bear testament to the Totenberg family in Poland before and during the Holocaust and to Roman Totenberg’s unwavering efforts to rescue those left behind.