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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives: Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Library and Archives

Introductory Information

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Library and Archives External

Address: Shapell Center Reading Room located in Bowie, MD (The reading room at the Museum in downtown Washington is now open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The reading room is closed Wednesdays and Fridays as well as on Federal holidays and Yom Kippur).

Telephone number: 202-479-9717 (Note: email is greatly preferred)

Contact information:[email protected] External

Online catalog External

Digital Collections External

Access Policies

Hours of service External (see hours and appointments)

Open to the public:The Shapell Center Reading Room is open to the public by appointment. Hours and appointment availability are subject to change.

Interlibrary loan: No

Reference policy: Reference requests are accepted by:Ask-a-Librarian form and email

Background note: The Holocaust Memorial Council was established in 1980. The Library was founded in 1989, and opened to the public in 1993.


Books and monographs
The Library has 130,000 volumes with inclusive dates from ca. 1880 to the present. Subject highlights of this collection include the Holocaust, Judaism, religious persecution, the Catholic Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, and a representative collection of antisemitic literature. Of special note are memorial books written after the war by survivors describing the history of this time and offering memorials to people and places destroyed during the Nazi persecution.

Periodicals and newspapers
The Library has approximately 50 journal subscriptions which date from 1950 to the present. Most of these focus on the Holocaust.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
The Archives has approximately six million pages of original documents and photographs as well as more than 100 million pages of material copied from more than 400 archives around the world. The collection also includes access to more than 80,000 oral histories. The subject emphases of these collections focus on the Holocaust, victim groups including Jehovah's Witnesses, and the art, music and poetry relating to the Holocaust and religious persecution. One will also find the personal papers of survivors and liberators.

The Library has approximately 1,800 film and fiche titles with a subject emphasis on Judaism and the Holocaust. Jewish periodicals and newspapers, including newspapers from Jewish communities before the Holocaust, and underground newspapers printed during the occupation years are included in this collection.

Digital collections
The Museum has digitized approximately 20% of its original archival paper holdings, the majority of which are available online through the Collection Search interface External . That interface also provides access to more than 20,000 digitized oral histories and 1,000 hours of streaming original film and video materials. Additional material digital materials available on-site at the Shapell Center reading room.

Other holdings not listed above
Among the many Museum programs supported by the Library and Archives is the Program on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust External located in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies

Subject Headings

Anti-Semitism; Catholic Church; Germany--Religion--1933-1945; Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); Jehovah's Witnesses--Nazi persecution; Jewish art; Jewish literature; Jewish music; Jewish poetry; Jewish refugees; Jews--Persecutions; Jews--Social life and customs; Judaism; Religious persecution


The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved February 20, 2022 from External