Lottery boost for Holocaust education

The Heritage Lottery Fund has given a major boost to Holocaust education with a £475,000 grant to London's Wiener Library, the world's oldest archive on the Nazi era.

The 71-year-old library, which, withmore than two million items including 16,000 photographs, is an impressive resource centre for scholars and students of the Holocaust, will temporarily close next week pending its reopening in September in new premises in Russell Square.

Ben Barkow, the Wiener's director, said the grant would enable the library "to realise our vision of a collection made accessible to all.

"Our collections will stand revealed as Britain's most powerful tool for teaching people about the Holocaust and the challenges - political, personal, cultural and ethical - that the catastrophe of mass murder and genocide poses for us all."

Mr Barkow said that the money would allow the library to create an exhibition in the reception area "so that people can get a much better sense of what the collection is about and also to have temporary exhibitions".

The library will also be able to recruit three new staff to "broaden the range of audiences who engage with us and to reach out to different communities", he said.

"It will make us much more visible."

So far the Wiener has raised £3 million towards a £5 million target to equip fully its new home.

The library was founded in Amsterdam in 1933 by Alfred Wiener, a German refugee, and reopened in London six years later on the day that Hitler invaded Poland.

Sue Bowers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London, said: "The Wiener Library is one of the key memory-keepers for periods in history such as the Holocaust.

"We look forward to the collections being more widely available later this year to help this most important of legacies to be learnt from by future generations."

Last updated: 12:56pm, March 24 2011