Thursday, July 10, 2014

London Museum Explores Jewish Contribution In First World War

The world's oldest Holocaust library launches a temporary exhibition looking at German-Jews in WWI

The Wiener Library, the world's oldest library devoted to the study of the Holocaust, launches a temporary exhibition on 24th June 2014 that runs until 8th October and will examine the contribution of Jewish soldiers to the German Army in the First World War. The exhibition is part of London's commemorations for the centenary of the 1914-1918 war.

The Wiener Library is Britain's largest specialist collection of material on the Holocaust and genocide, with an archive going back 80 years. It was founded by Dr Alfred Wiener, a German-Jewish who himself fought for the German Army in the First World War. The library is located in the West End of London close to numerous museums and galleries. For more information on the library see here.

Around 100,000 German Jews donned military uniform and approximately 12,000 died fighting for the German Army between 1914 and 1918. For many Jews the experience of the First World War was defined by a profound sense of commitment to Germany. The Jewish soldiers whose stories are told in the exhibition through the display of striking photographs, postcards, prints and books had remarkable experiences, performing surgery in Gallipoli, working with casualty dogs in the Ardennes, and setting up book stores on the Eastern Front.

Dr Toby Simpson, curator of the exhibition, said: "The commitment of German Jews to patriotic ideals during and after the First World War is particularly striking as we look back on this moment in history at a distance of 100 years. The later attempts of the Nazis to distort, and even obliterate the contribution of Jewish soldiers to the First World War make the survival and richness of these collections all the more poignant."

More information about the exhibition is available here.  

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