By anchoring the university’s Post-Holocaust American Judaism Archive with a collection documenting the tragedy of European Jews, the University of Colorado Boulder is now one of the only places in the world able to document the epoch-defining event of the Holocaust while showing how global Jewish life continued and flourished on new shores in the United States after WWII.
The archive is the life work of Harry W. Mazal, a businessman from Mexico City who made San Antonio his home. With numerous volunteers, he dedicated his life, time, and financial resources to creating a vast repository committed to commemorating the victims of the Holocaust around the world by promoting scholarly research and human understanding grounded in Holocaust studies while also fighting Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, and bigotry. As a result of his tireless efforts, he became an internationally recognized Holocaust collector and researcher.
The Mazal Holocaust collection consists of rare books and pamphlets related to the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, prejudice, and war crime trials. Also in the collection are some 500,000 documents, contemporary newspapers, microfilms and photographs. The books, pamphlets, documents and newspapers are in a wide variety of languages: English, German, French, Polish, Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Estonian, Latvian, Czech, Hungarian, Portuguese, and Flemish.
The collection contains complete sets of the: International Military Tribunal (IMT); Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT); Trial of Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (NCA); and a complete set of the published British war crime trials. Other war crimes trials in Poland, USSR, Holland and other countries are also included in the collection as well as evidence presented at most of the trials. Another key component is a complete collection of contact negatives and aerial photographs taken by the Americans, the British, and the Germans of the concentration camps in Auschwitz (Auschwitz I, Birkenau, and Monowitz). The images were acquired from the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, MD. Another gem is a complete set of the several hundred-thousand documents presented in Nuremberg Trial Case No. 11: The "Ministries Case", United States against Ernst von Weizsaecker et al. together with a bound set of 130 volumes that originally belonged to the Deputy Chief Counsel Robert M. W. Kempner.
The Mazal Holocaust Collection is also one of the largest repositories of Holocaust denial literature in the world, both because of Mazal’s passion for documenting the movement and because of US Constitutional Law that allows such material to circulate. He also collected a vast array of memorial books (yizker bikher) that show painfully and precisely how postwar Jewish communities came together across the globe to commemorate their communities in a core ritual of Jewish memory—producing a book. The only other collection this robust in the country is at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Finally, and most viscerally, our collection documents the history of American antisemitism, especially domestic manifestations of Nazism, in the form of its newspapers, literature, and other ephemera.
Our On-Going Work
The collection is currently being processed so that students and scholars around the world interested in studying the creation of new forms of Judaism in postwar American can have access to the rich materials housed in this collection. The Program in Jewish Studies and CU Archives are committed to providing students access to these materials. We have recently begun our new “Mazal Summer Lab,” which brings students together from across the world to work intensively on the collection and to begin the important process of making sense out of a historic tragedy that resists rational explanation. These students, as well as our archivists, are working tirelessly to preserve these important materials. Additionally, our website team is producing an online Mazal digital portal, which will become a rich global resource disseminating the raw materials in the archive in the form of digitized books and documents.