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Simon Wiesenthal Archive (SWA)


Encompassing some 200 linear metres of materials focussing primarily on the period between 1945 and 2005, the Simon Wiesenthal Archive (SWA) is the most expansive collection of the Archive of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI). It comprises primarily textual records, but also books and brochures, indices, a photo and object collection, as well as audio-visual media and posters.


Simon Wiesenthal began his search for Nazi perpetrators in Linz in the early summer of 1945 immediately following his liberation from the Mauthausen concentration camp. The first years of his search were closely tied to providing help and support to the survivors of the Holocaust. Wiesenthal used the temporary presence of the survivors, thousands of whom were waiting in collection camps for a chance to emigrate, to systematically question them as witnesses of the crimes and injustices they had suffered: Hundreds of witnesses were thereby recruited to testify at American and later also Austrian trials.


Due to the mass emigration of survivors that began in 1948, this chapter was only of short duration, yet it laid the foundations for Wiesenthal’s lifelong activities that followed. In 1956, he donated the bulk of the materials that had been compiled in Linz to the archive of Yad Vashem, where it remains to this day. The majority of this material is now available online under Record Group M.9. Wiesenthal kept the rest of the material and took it with him to Vienna. With the establishment of the Documentation Centre of the Association of Jewish Victims of the Nazi Regime (BJVN), Wiesenthal opened a new office in Vienna in the autumn of 1961 and resumed the work he had begun in Linz. He collected a large number of documents relating to Nazi perpetrators and Nazi crimes that are today accessible in 8,000 folders, among other formats.


Wiesenthal’s life and work were shaped above all by the societal engagement with the Nazi past as well as his corresponding commitment that this past should not be forgotten. Before he passed away, Wiesenthal expressed his wish to integrate the collected materials into the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI), which was still just at the planning stage at the time. The VWI is now systematically cataloguing these materials, collating them in a database, digitising them, and making them available both for research as well as to the broader public.


Current Archival Projects in the Simon Wiesenthal Archive (SWA):

Early Wiesenthal – The Linz Papers, 1945-1961
Digitisation of the Image Carriers of Simon Wiesenthal’s Nazi Case Files


Using the Archive / Contact Information


Effective from January 2020

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


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wienkultur 179


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