The Simon Wiesenthal Archive is the result of Wiesenthal’s almost sixty years of activity. The records he has left behind fall into different record collections.
The documentation relating to Nazi crimes and the efforts to secure the indictment of Nazi perpetrators consists largely of Wiesenthal’s correspondence with justice authorities, documentation centers, organizations of survivors and of resistance fighters, and with informants; a considerable part of this correspondence concerns the search for witnesses. Also contained are court records, Nazi records, witness testimonies, and press reports.
This section of the archive consists of approximately 8000 files taking up 35 meters shelving.
Also available are microfilm copies of the files from the first Documentation Center in Linz, which are stored in Yad Vashem.
In 2002, work was begun to save and catalogue these extensive materials and to facilitate access through a system of electronic “finding aids”. The individual files are being listed, described, and annotated in a data base, which also includes separate indexes of names and subjects. Researchers are provided with advanced search options and selection criteria, with links between different levels of information; users can thus obtain precise and specific search results, before the originals of the desired records are handed out.
A substantial part of the archive includes Simon Wiesenthal’s personal documents, manuscripts for his publications and lectures, records pertaining to awards and honors, as well as recordings of his television and radio appearances. Additionally this collection contains miscellaneous documentation on a variety of subject areas, such as Wiesenthal’s commitment to prevent that the Holocaust be forgotten, or his dedication to human rights and to disadvantaged minorities. Also included are a large selection of press reports and correspondence files comprising 39 meters shelving.
In an effort to monitor extreme right-wing currents, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobic manifestations, official reports and newspaper clippings on the subject were collected and filed from the early 1960s until 2004.
The library of the Simon Wiesenthal Archive holds an estimated 3500 publications, most of them in German and English and a few in a variety of other languages. These holdings are not the outcome of a systematic collection procedure, but rather the random result of donations or gifts from authors, publishers, and visitors, with many of the volumes containing personal dedications to Simon Wiesenthal. As a result of Wiesenthal’s activities, there is naturally a special emphasis on such subject areas as National Socialism, the Holocaust, resistance, Judaism, remembrance and commemoration, restitution and reparation, the prosecution of Nazi crimes, and right-wing extremism. Also on hand, in addition to books, are monographs, periodicals, dissertations, exhibition catalogues, published case records from trials, and document collections. In addition, the library holds Wiesenthal’s own publications together with most of their translations, as well as biographies and other literature about Wiesenthal.
Since a part of the library collection has been transferred to the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles for exhibition purposes, the remaining items must be re-processed and catalogued. The library is therefore presently accessible for reference only in exceptional cases.
The photograph collection in the Simon Wiesenthal Archive includes an estimated 3500 loose pictures and slides as well as several photo albums. With the exception of isolated private photographs of Simon Wiesenthal taken before the war, the pictures in the collection all stem from the time after 1945. They document Wiesenthal’s appearances at numerous national and international events such as conferences, commemorative services, meetings, as well as ceremonies connected with awards and distinctions which were bestowed on Wiesenthal in the course of his life. A considerable part of the collection shows Wiesenthal with the many visitors he received over the years in the Documentation Center. The archive also contains photographic portraits and a series of photographs of Wiesenthal spanning six decades. (Photo Gallery)
The pictures in the collection have been put in chronological order and electronically processed. For the time being, digital imaging cannot be carried out, as the cost for the hardware necessary for adequate storage of the scans is presently unaffordable. Users of the photograph archive may search for the desired photographs in our database, have them handed out directly and also have them reproduced in keeping with copyright regulations. Upon request, scans of individual photographs can also be made available per email.