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Archival Project on the Simon Wiesenthal Archive (SWA):
Early Wiesenthal – The Linz Papers, 1945–1961


Unlike often assumed, Simon Wiesenthal did not donate all of the files from his first documentation centre – the Jewish Historical Documentation Centre in Linz – to the Yad Vashem Archive in 1956. Aside from his files on Adolf Eichmann, he retained numerous other documents, which he took to Vienna in 1961, where he reopened his office in the autumn. Other materials he reassembled over time.


The Linz materials mirror the entire range of Wiesenthal’s early activity. This included not only the documentation of Nazi crimes, research on the perpetrators, and the search for and intermediation on behalf of witnesses, but also those activities that remain less known to this day, such as supporting survivors after the Holocaust in various matters as well as various memorial initiatives. This heterogeneous material encompasses correspondence, manuscripts, witness testimonies, newspaper clippings, and documents from the Nazi period, as well as photographs, sketches, and maps, through to personal and biographical documents relating to Wiesenthal.


This project conceptualised by the VWI Archive aims to localise and identify the materials from Wiesenthal’s Linz period, which are currently scattered across several collections and series within the SWA, to catalogue and digitise these materials, and thereby to make them visible again and – at least digitally – to reunite them. The results of the project will then be made available online via the archive catalogue.


This project on “Early Wiesenthal” will thereby make a contribution to the provenance of the SWA and lay the foundations for historical research on Wiesenthal’s early search for Nazi perpetrators immediately after 1945 as well as on Displaced Persons and the early engagements with Nazi crimes and their aftermath inside and outside Austria.


Wiesenthal in Linz. A virtual exhibition


In appreciation to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) for supporting this archival project.


June 2023
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


bmbwf en 179


wienkultur 179


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