Anti-Semitism, Concentration Camps, and Underground Resistance in World War II

On the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (9-10 November 1938)--that terrible night of wanton destruction in Nazi Germany and Austria that foreshadowed World War II --McMaster University Library presents an exhibition on German anti-Semitism of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s, concentration camps, and the underground resistance movement.

The exhibition draws on recently acquired books and archives, collected assiduously over a period of 30 years by Michel Brisebois, an antiquarian bookseller in Montreal. The extraordinary, poignant collections of Mr. Brisebois are multi-national in origin, comprised of books, periodicals, pamphlets, documents, letters, and ephemera dealing with German concentration camps and prisons, the underground resistance and the Jewish underground resistance, the German occupation of Belgium and France, and Allied and German propaganda distributed by air drops and shelling.

The exhibition also contains documents and books on loan.  Madeleine and Monte Levy have made available samples of anti-Semitic currency (Notgeld) issued in Germany and Austria in the 1920s, and several books from the 1930s, including appallingly illustrated children’s books.  The Levy family has devoted special attention to the importance of Holocaust education. We are greatly indebted to the Levy family for inspiration, courage, and financial support.

McMaster University Library is committed to preserving the historical record, making it available to researchers in our reading room and digitally, and to working collaboratively with other archives and libraries. We plan to build and to add to these collections, particularly in relation to the Holocaust. We look forward to working with scholars, young and old, the educated public, and donors so that the stories of the victims of World War II are never forgotten.

The original documents from which this web exhibit was created will be on display at the William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, Mills Memorial Library, until the end of March, 2009.  The original documents also include items on loan from the Electronic Museum and from Professor Ian D. Spencer of McMaster University (German edition of The Jewish peril: protocols of the elders of Zion, first edition, 1920).