The Wiener Library



The Wiener Library (in full, Institute of Contemporary History, Wiener Library) was founded in Amsterdam in 1934, moving to London in 1939.   It is principally concerned with the collection and dissemination of information about Nazi Germany and its attack on European Jewry; and with its causes and legacy.


The Library houses over 60,000 books, 10,000 photographs and many thousands of items in the document collection.   Its press archive contains over 2 million items, and is stated to be the most extensive archive on National Socialism in the world.


The Library is devoted to increasing awareness of the need for racial and religious understanding, and to the importance of maintaining vigorous democratic traditions.


The Library concentrates on the 20th century, but it does also contain material relating to earlier times.   Subjects within its aegis include Far Right ideologies and movements such as Nazism and Fascism, matters relating to genocide and antisemitism and exile studies.   The Library specialises in modern Jewish history, the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, and the continuing survival of Nazi and Fascist movements in the post-war world.


Material in the Wiener Library

The Library contains books, periodicals, unpublished memoirs, original documents and eye witness testimonies, including a large collection from the 1950s, press cuttings and photographs; and also video and multi-media resources.


Up to a third of the collection contains pre-war material, and new material continues to be acquired.   Because of its nature, a significant part of the collection is in German.   Material published in countries other than Germany is often in the language of such countries, but much is in German.   The Library’s book catalogue is available online at the website (address below).   It is possible to narrow a search on the computer by language.



Attention is drawn to the availability of a leaflet from the Library “Primary Sources at the Wiener Library: A Guide for Users”.



Use of the Wiener Library

The Library is open to researchers and the public, free, as a reference library.   You can borrow books if you become a member, which costs between £12.50 and £30 a year depending on your status.


When you first visit you will need to show some form of picture ID (such as a new-style driving licence) and proof of address (such as a gas bill) or, if you are an undergraduate student, a letter of introduction from your tutor.  Telephone beforehand if you are in doubt about what is required.



Practical Information

Address:    4 Devonshire Street, London W1W 5BH (see map below)
Telephone:   020 7636 7247
Fax:   020 7436 6428
email:  [email protected]
Physical access:  From the street, up three steps
Nearest stations:  Great Portland Street, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines;
Regents Park, Bakerloo Line.
Bus:  C2, 18, 27, 30, 88, 135
Photocopying: Facilities are available; A4 10p, A3 20p.
Microfilm printouts: 15p for A4, 30p for A3.
Opening hours:  Mondays-Fridays, 10.00am-5.30pm; Last orders for books 5.00pm
Lockers: Free


Eric E Pollock   November 2004