The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide


List of News

'Rescues of the Holocaust: Remembering Raoul Wallenberg'

The Wiener Library is pleased to announce a new temporary exhibition opening on Thursday 4 October to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg. Between 1944 and 1945, Raoul Wallenberg helped tens of thousands of Jews escape Nazi-occupied Hungary before he was detained by Soviet forces and subsequently disappeared. The Wiener Library's exhibition commemorates Wallenberg's life and tells four extraordinary stories of rescue during the Holocaust.

In addition to the story of Raoul Wallenberg, who used diplomatic powers to place families in safe-houses in Budapest, The Wiener Library's exhibition will showcase the remarkable stories of rescue efforts undertaken by ordinary individuals to save lives imperilled by the Nazi regime. Personal papers tell the story of Berlin department store owner Wilfrid Israel who arranged for his Jewish staff to flee Germany and continued to pay their salaries even after the Nazis had closed his business. Elinor Adler's story pays tribute to organisations like the Society of Friends who helped refugees to find shelter and campaigned for rescue efforts like the Kindertransport which brought persecuted children to England. And finally, there is the extraordinary story of two sisters from Wandsworth, Ida and Louise Cook, whose love of opera took them to European theatres where they learned about the plight of Europe's Jews. They offered to smuggle valuables into England for Jewish families and Ida Cook financed their rescue missions by writing romance novels for Mills & Boon under the nom de plume Mary Burchell.

The Wiener Library's unique archival collection brings to life these stories of rescue and escape. Among the items on display are a ‘certificate of authenticity' bearing Raoul Wallenberg's signature, pamphlets distributed by humanitarian organisations like the National Committee for Rescue from Nazi Terror calling for help for refugees, and a visitor pass for the Gestapo headquarters in Vienna which served as the only proof that Elinor Adler's father had been arrested.

With the launch of the ‘Rescues of the Holocaust' exhibition, the Library is hosting a blog, ‘Stories of Rescue' which will run alongside the exhibition and features more inspiring stories of rescue submitted by the public. Anyone can submit a story by emailing the Library at and the blog is available at

Admission to the exhibition is free and it will run from Thursday 4 October 2012 to Wednesday 6 February 2013.

Added: Wednesday 21st November, 2012