Curated Exhibitions

Genocidal Captivity: Retelling the Stories of Armenian and Yezidi Women

This exhibition, co-curated with Dr Rebecca Jinks (Royal Holloway, University of London) and launching on 21 February 2024 at The Wiener Holocaust Library as part of the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership, will explore stories of Armenian and Yezidi women held in genocidal captivity, using humanitarian records of Armenian survivors from the 1920s and recent interviews with and compelling portraits of Yezidi survivors in Iraq.

In 1915, during the Armenian genocide, tens of thousands of women and girls were ‘absorbed’ into Turkish, Kurdish, or Arab households. They became Muslim wives, servants, slaves, and daughters and their Christian Armenian identity was officially erased. In the aftermath, some escaped or were rescued by aid organisations, and they rejoined the Armenian refugee community.

Almost a century later, in 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) conquered the Sinjar region in Iraq and took captive thousands of Yezidi women and girls. Labelled ‘infidels’ because of their non-Abrahamic religion, they were forced to convert. Most were sold into sexual slavery amongst ISIS members. In the years following, they managed to escape from their captors or were smuggled out by family members, and they rejoined the displaced Yezidi community.

The exhibition asks: Who gets to tell the stories of genocide survivors, and how much control do they have over how their experiences are retold?

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation.

Holocaust Letters

This exhibition, launching in February 2023 at The Wiener Holocaust Library as part of the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership, will examine Holocaust-era correspondence for evidence of how people understood what was happening to them as events of the Holocaust unfolded. Through letters held by the Library and in private collections, the exhibition will uncover how people exchanged information across borders, in defiance of censors and in the midst of chaos, deportations and destruction. How did survivors and relatives preserve or come to possess letters from the wartime period, and how did these seemingly ordinary objects transform into precious symbols of what was lost? Learn more.

Death Marches:
Evidence and Memory

On show at The Wiener Holocaust Library in 2021 and co-curated with Dan Stone as part of the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership, this exhibition uncovers how forensic and other evidence about the death marches has been gathered since the end of the Holocaust. It chronicles how researchers and others attempted to recover the death march routes – and those who did not survive them. Efforts to analyse and commemorate the death marches continue to this day.  Learn more.

Fate Unknown:
The Search for the Missing after the Holocaust

On show at The Wiener Holocaust Library in 2018 and now a traveling exhibition, this exhibition tells the remarkable, little-known story of the agonising search for the missing after the Holocaust. Co-curated with Dan Stone and drawing upon The Wiener Library’s family document collections and its digital copy of the International Tracing Service archive, one of the largest document collections related to the Holocaust in the world, the exhibition considers the legacy of the search for descendants of those affected by World War II, and the impact of fates unknown. Learn more.

Shattered: Pogrom 1938

Co-curated with Barbara Warnock and on show at the Wiener Holocaust Library in 2019, the exhibition examines responses to this unprecedented, nation-wide campaign of violence. Never-before-seen documents from the Library’s collection demonstrate German and Austrian Jews’ desperate attempts to flee, in many cases as refugees to Britain. Learn more.

Science + Suffering:
Victims and Perpetrators of Nazi Human Experimentation

On display at the Wiener Holocaust Library in 2017 and co-curated with Paul Weindling, this exhibition examines coerced experimentation in Nazi-dominated Europe. Through the portraits of victims and perpetrators, the exhibition explores the legacy of medical research under Nazism, and its impact on bioethics today. Learn more.

A Bitter Road:
Britain and the Refugee Crisis of the 1930s and 1940s

This timely exhibition, co-curated with Barbara Warnock and on display at the Wiener Library in 2017, examines responses to Jewish and other refugees in Britain during the 1930s and 1940s. Built on the rich collection of refugee sources held by The Wiener Library, the exhibition explores a number of themes, including governmental policy on asylum and the kinds of assistance offered by humanitarian aid organisations at the international, national and local level. Learn more.