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National Life Stories: Jewish collections

There are two National Life Stories oral history collections relating to Jewish experience.

  • The Living Memory of the Jewish Community (catalogue reference number: C410), one of the first National Life Stories fieldwork projects, collected the personal testimonies of the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust now living in Britain and also with children of survivors. This major collection was developed with the specialist advice of leading Jewish historians and complements a number of collections held by the Sound Archive on Jewish life. The primary focus has been on pre-Second World War Jewish refugees to Britain, those fleeing from Nazi persecution during the Second World War, Holocaust survivors and their children. An online educational resource, Voices of the Holocaust, is based on the collection.
  • Holocaust Survivors' Centre Testimony Recording Project (catalogue reference number: C830) is a National Life Stories collaborative project with the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, a Jewish social centre in north London for survivors who were in Europe during the Second World War or who came to the UK as refugees.

Partners and sponsors

  • AIB Charitable Trust
  • Clore Foundation (now The Clore Duffield Foundation)
  • David Lewis Charitable Trust
  • Edith and Ferdinand Porjes Charitable Trust
  • Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation
  • The Holocaust Survivors' Centre (Jewish Care)
  • Jack Rose Foundation
  • John S. Cohen Foundation
  • Lady Samuel
  • Lord Young of Graffham
  • Martin Paisner
  • Patricia Mendelson
  • Pears Foundation
  • R A Cohen Charitable Trust
  • The Sobell Foundation
  • Stifting 95


Accessing the collection

To access oral history material:

  • Search for oral history recordings held at the British Library using the online Sound and Moving Image Catalogue (see useful advice on searching the oral history collections).
  • Onsite access to oral history recordings: The Listening and Viewing Service in St Pancras provides free public access to the oral history collections on an appointment basis. Many digital recordings are also available via SoundServer, a computerised listening facility located in the Humanities Reading Rooms.  SoundServer is also available at the British Library’s site in Boston Spa in Yorkshire.
  • Internet access to selected oral history recordings: The British Library Sounds website gives remote access to a selection of interviews from the Library’s oral history collections. Some recordings are currently only licensed to Higher and Further Education users in the UK, others are available for full public access.

Further information

Contact us

Oral History
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

T +44 (0)20 7412 7405 (Rob Perks, Lead Curator, Oral History  / Director of National Life Stories)
T +44 (0)20 7412 7406 (Mary Stewart, Curator, Oral History / Deputy Director of National Life Stories)
T +44 (0)20 7412 7404 (Elspeth Millar, Archivist, Oral History)