MP opens Shoah exhibit

By Marcus Dysch, November 27, 2008

A travelling exhibition from the world's oldest Holocaust research centre has been launched at the Houses of Parliament.

"Never Again? Thinking about the Holocaust" was created with items from the Wiener Library.

Monday's event was hosted by Justice Minister Shahid Malik, who said he had been moved by a visit to the Wiener's West End premises.

"The library is an incredible resource that needs to be shared with as many people as possible," he told guests including Mirjam Finkelstein, daughter of library founder Alfred Wiener. "The fight against extremism of all sorts is a fight for everybody. Collectively we must unite and push extremism to the margins."

Another speaker was Schools Secretary Ed Balls, who pledged to "take the library into our bet sefer [schools] all round the UK so this generation never forgets the lessons and never allows extremism to take root in our country".

Denis MacShane, who chaired the 2006 All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry on Antisemitism, was also among the guests, along with Lord Janner and MP Louise Ellman.

After its opening display this week at the House of Commons gallery, the exhibition will go to schools, libraries and synagogues. It features panels covering issues such as refugees, Nazi propaganda and lessons to be learnt from the Shoah.

Library director Ben Barkow said: "Shahid recognised the library is unique in that it's a resource of extraordinary depth and range. This project is showing us one of the routes we need to travel down in the years to come."

Alfred Wiener founded the library in Amsterdam in 1933. It was integral to the German Jewish community's defence against the propaganda of the Nazi regime.

Shortly before the outbreak of war in 1939, he moved the collection to London. The library now holds millions of documents and is one of the world's largest Holocaust resources.

Last updated: 3:36pm, July 16 2009