“We never live only by our own efforts; we never live only for ourselves.” – Victor Serge.
The Student Initiative Paul A. Levine Library marked with the conference Forward and don’t forget: writing & teaching about the holocaust today, the first year of its existence. It was initiated with a collective letter, sent to institutions in Berlin in 2019 asking for help in finding a solution for preserving Paul Levine’s library and work.
Since then, we have received a great show of support from distinguished historians. Just as when the library of the Jewish community in Berlin was founded in 1899, and Ludwig Geiger, historian of literature, appealed to members of the community to support it with the appeal “Gedenket des Geistes” — “Remember and pass on the spirit” is the appeal made by our current Initiative of students, scientists and friends today. We are encouraged and supported by the words and deeds of American historians Alvin H. Rosenfeld and Omer Bartov, both of whom graciously agreed to lend their names as well as give a talk at the initiative’s first conference, titled The Memorial Conference/Webinar: Forward and Don’t Forget: Writing & Teaching About The Holocaust Today, scheduled for December 7, 2020.
Professor Paul A. Levine was an American-Swedish Holocaust and Genocide Historian, an associate professor and Docent of Holocaust and Modern European political history, co-founder of Uppsala University’s Hugo Valentin Centre for Holocaust & Genocide Studies; he is the author of many publications on Holocaust history and memory; the most known among them are the books Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest: Myth, History and Holocaust, and, as co-author, Tell ye Your Children.
Throughout his career, Paul A. Levine gathered a significant collection of books, a library holding well about 5.000 academic titles (according to Paul’s statement), mainly devoted to Jewish history, the Second World War and the Holocaust, as well as his own research materials. It is a unique collection; moving forward, our goal is to create a home for Levine’s books, continue his educational work in a new form, and maintain Levine’s project as a living tradition, passing on his knowledge to successive generations. The successful realization of our project will make ongoing contribution to the preservation and dissemination of information, knowledge and awareness around the world of the “paradigmatic genocide”. Furthermore, with its presence, the initiative raises important questions:
- How important are physical collections nowadays for the future of the field?
- What place should be allocated these days for physical book collections that can be used for future research and teaching of the Holocaust in particular and Genocide in general?
- Does our initiative’s concern remain unique? If not –
- How do our initiative’s issues resemble their counterparts’ concerns in Germany, the US, France, Israel, Ukraine, Poland, the United Kingdom, Sweden and elsewhere? How do they differ?
Our Target Group: anyone who supports our idea and is interested in the topics related to our Library Initiative.
Have you known Professor Paul A. Levine? Have you studied or worked with him? Do you appreciate his work and want to be part of a fruitful discussion? Would you like to bring your ideas into the conversation?
If so, please keep in touch and stay tuned!
The topics we are interested in are the preservation of Jewish history, culture and religion.
Our holdings of historical documents about the persecution and murder of European Jews during the Nazi era make the library an important collective place as well as a place for research and for remembrance of the Shoah.
The current issues on our agenda are storytelling, management & organizational process, technical support, fundraising, budgets, and advocacy.
The Student Initiative – Paul A. Levine Library is looking for means and solutions for achieving our aims and for making our ideas real. We are at the very beginning and are looking for partners and interesting collaborations.