Lotte Porges – The Story Behind the Photograph

Between the years 1942–1945, three different staged films were created in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) Ghetto. Only a few short shots or fragments of the original versions have been preserved.[1] The most famous of these became the propaganda film Theresienstadt. Ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet,[2] which became known as Der Führer schenkt den Juden eine Read More

Cooperation of Rescue Organisations in Vienna: An Eyewitness Report

Introduction The following document is part of The Wiener Library’s collection entitled ‘Eyewitness reports regarding the November Pogrom’, consisting of 365 eyewitness testimonies collected in the days, weeks, and months following the November Pogrom of 1938, alternatively known as ‘Kristallnacht’ or the ‘Night of Broken Glass’. At the time, Alfred Wiener, the German-Jewish founder of Read More

quod: A Tool for Querying and Organising Digitised Historical Documents

In this blog post we introduce a prototype tool for OCRing and querying digitised historical documents, quod, which can be used for organising large collections of such documents.The work described represents a proof of concept, where the feasibility of the idea is demonstrated. Background The archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Read More

Visualising Methodology in The Wiener Library’s Early Testimonies’ Project

Introduction “We all have a duty to fulfil towards our past,” implored Dr Eva Reichmann, former Director of Research at The Wiener Library, in a short front-page appeal in the journal of Association of Jewish Refugees in Great Britain in 1954. Reichmann’s impassioned article launched the Library’s ambitious effort in the mid-1950s to record testimonies Read More

The 1948 Genocide-Convention: Raphael Lemkin’s struggle for the ‘law of the world’

On 9 December 1948 the ‘Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide’ was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). Getting the topic onto international agenda and the ratification of the document, however, were both difficult tasks. The Convention’s history goes back to a Polish-Jewish lawyer, Raphael Lemkin, Read More

Death Blows Overhead: The Last Transports from Hungary, November 1944

Introduction In the morning of November 6, 1944, a column of civilians set off on the highway stretching westwards from Budapest to Vienna. All of them were Jews, mostly middle-aged and elderly women and men, forcibly mobilised by the Hungarian far-right Arrow Cross government to build fortifications on the eastern frontier of the collapsing Nazi Read More