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Episode 27: Dr Wiener’s Library

Anthony Wells worked at The Wiener Holocaust Library in London for a decade. In this episode he leads the Slightly Foxed editors into the history of the library, which holds one of the most extensive archives on the Holocaust and the Nazi era. We travel to Germany, Amsterdam, New York and Tel Aviv, but it is people rather than places that the library remembers with its annals of personal stories. Dr Alfred Wiener, a German Jew who fought in the First World War, was one of the first to note the rise of the Nazi Party, and he began to assemble an archive of information in order to undermine their activities. From downfall by documentation in the Nuremberg Trial to a tracing service made up of millions of records, we learn how The Wiener Library ensures that those who disappeared are not forgotten.


With thanks to The Wiener Library for the image used for this episode’s cover artwork: Member of staff, Mrs Walter at The Wiener Library in 1952

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Show Notes

Please find links to books, articles, and further reading listed below. The digits in brackets following each listing refer to the minute and second they are mentioned. (Episode duration: 37 minutes; 6 seconds)

Books Mentioned

We may be able to get hold of second-hand copies of the out-of-print titles listed below. Please get in touch with Jess in the Slightly Foxed office for more information.

The Ratline, Philippe Sands (11:39)

An Englishman in Auschwitz, Leon Greenman is out of print (14:25)

Dinner of Herbs: Village Life in 1960s Turkey, Carla Grissmann (28:00)

Hope against Hope, Nadezhda Mandelstam (29:42)

Defying Hitler, Sebastian Haffner (31:04)

An Officer and a Spy, Robert Harris (33:53)

Related Slightly Foxed Articles

Comfortable Words, Anthony Wells on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, Issue 36

174517, David Spiller on Primo Levi, If This Is a Man and The Truce, Issue 43

Casting Out Fear, Gary Mead on Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, Issue 50

The Hunt for Hitler, Adam Sisman on Hugh Trevor-Roper, The Last Days of Hitler, Issue 61

Other Links

The Wiener Holocaust Library 

One Tree Books, Petersfield (23:52)

The Petersfield Bookshop (24:45)

Opening music: Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E Major by Bach

The Slightly Foxed Podcast is hosted by Philippa Lamb and produced by Podcastable

Comments & Reviews

Leave a comment

  1. Stuart Baines says:

    I found the podcast about the Wiener Library extremely interesting. It’s certainly a new departure from previous podcasts which I found appropriate for the beginning of a new year. It has encouraged me to visit the Library once normality returns.

  2. Judi Bevan says:

    Fascinating and insightful talk by Tony Wells on the rise of the Nazis.

  3. Bridget Patterson says:

    What a fabulous podcast, thank you. It’s also worth mentioning the Jewish Museum in Camden Town, which has artefacts and all sorts of interesting material. They’re currently doing online events: do have a look at their website. And I so agree about An Officer and a Spy: totally gripping. After Zola’s famous J’accuse letter was printed on the front page of the newspaper L’Aurore, he was prosecuted for libel and found guilty, so fled to England to avoid imprisonment!

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