Looking into the Abyss: Photos of Kristallnacht

The Wiener Library
29 Russell Square
Event time
6:30pm - 8pm
8 Nov 2018

While there are hundreds of written reports on the pogrom of November 1938 in Nazi Germany, there are only a few (mainly press) photographs in the archives of The Wiener Library. A closer look reveals that in nearly all the places where synagogues and shops were plundered photos were taken. Some were made by press photographers, passersby or by the perpetrators – a few others even by Jews. In his talk, Christoph Kreutzmueller will discuss these photographs as historical sources and analyse different scenes, motifs, postures and perspectives.

About the Speaker

Christoph Kreutzmüller is a historian. Between 2005 and 2013 he coordinated two large research projects on Jewish commercial life in Berlin (1930-1945) and on Jewish Life in Berlin (1918-1938) at the Humboldt University. Since then he has been working at two major sites of memory in Berlin, the Haus der Wannsee Konferenz, and the Jewish Museum Berlin. Currently, he is preparing the new permanent exhibition at the Jewish Museum Berlin, focussing in particular on a segment entitled “Catastrophe”, which relates the reactions of the Jews in Germany to Nazi persecution. He has published extensively on the importance of analysing photographs as historic sources and not as mere illustrations. 


  • An accessible toilet is available in the basement and can be reached via the lift.
  • For visitors with hearing impairment, an induction loop in the exhibition area and the Wolfson Reading Room is compatible with T-coil equipped hearing aids.
  • We welcome Guide and Assistance dogs in the exhibition area and the Wolfson Reading Room.
  • If you have any comments, questions, or concerns regarding accessibility at the Library, please email us at info@wienerlibrary.co.uk or call us at +44 (0) 20 7636 7247.