The Wiener Holocaust Library’s New Exhibition - Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust

Wiener Library exhibition
Tuesday, 28 July, 2020

On August 6, EHRI partner, The Wiener Holocaust Library will reopen its doors for a new exhibition, Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust. Entry is free, but due to COVID-19, opening hours are reduced to Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11am-3pm and only those who have pre-booked a viewing slot will gain access to the building.

Watch a preview of the exhibition in this short video.

Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust

During the Holocaust, Jewish partisan groups and underground resistance networks launched attacks, sabotage operations and rescue missions. Resistance groups in ghettos organised social, religious, cultural and educational activities and armed uprisings in defiance of their oppressors. In death camps, in the most extreme circumstances, resisters gathered evidence of Nazi atrocities and even mounted armed rebellions.

The Wiener Holocaust Library’s new exhibition draws upon the Library’s unique archival collections to tell the story of the Jewish men and women who, as the Holocaust unfolded around them, and at great personal risk, resisted the Nazis and their collaborators. In this exhibition, the Library reveals stories of endurance and bravery, including that of Tosia Altman in Nazi-occupied Poland, who moved into and out of the ghettos distributing information and organising armed revolt; the Jewish slave workers at Auschwitz-Birkenau who worked secretly to smuggle evidence out of the death camp, and the Bielski brothers in the forests of Belorussia whose partisan groups rescued 1,200 men, women and children.

The exhibition also explores individual, acts of resistance: the maintenance of secret diaries by Ruth Wiener in Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen and Anne Frank in hiding in Amsterdam; the clandestine religious worship practiced in ghettos; and the testimonies buried in Auschwitz by the victims of Nazi persecution. The Wiener Holocaust Library’s document collections include eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust, gathered by our staff in the 1950s, that give a picture of the activities of a diverse array of Jewish resistance groups and individuals across Europe. Some of these will be displayed in the exhibition, alongside other important documents, including secret diaries kept by Jews held in camps and the original libretto of an anti-Nazi opera written in Theresienstadt ghetto.

Please visit the Wiener Library website for further details on pre-booking.

Image: Jewish Lithuanian partisans, including Abba Kovner (standing centre), Vitka Kempner (to the left of Kovner) and Rozka Korczak (far right), July 1944. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.