Harry W. Mazal Holocaust Collection
The Harry W. Mazal Holocaust Collection is the life work of Harry W. Mazal (1937 - 2011), a businessman from Mexico City, who made his home in San Antonio, Texas. With the help of numerous volunteers, Mazal dedicated his life, time, and financial resources to creating a vast repository committed to commemorating the victims of the Holocaust around the world. His goal was to promote scholarly research and human understanding grounded in Holocaust studies while also fighting Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, and bigotry. As a result, Mazal became an internationally recognized Holocaust collector and researcher.
A significant U.S. collection outside of the Holocaust museums in New York and Washington D.C., the Harry W. Mazal Holocaust Collection is comprised of more than 20,000 books and 500,000 documents, pamphlets, photographs, and other materials, including original transcripts of the Nuremburg trials. It was acquired by the University of Colorado Boulder in January 2014.
Documenting the tragedy of European Jews before they, their relatives and descendants arrived in America, this collection anchors the Post-Holocaust American Judaism Collections and makes the University of Colorado Boulder one of the only places in the world to track the Jewish-American experience from the time of the Holocaust through the resurgence of American Judaism in the post World War II period to the vitality of Jewish-American life today.
Harry W. Mazal was born in 1937 and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. Although his parents were Sephardic Orthodox Jews, Mazal was raised Protestant, only discovering that he was Jewish in his teenage years. Mazal believed that his parents chose to not raise their children Jewish in order to protect the family from antisemitism. Similar to other families during that period, his family did not speak about the Holocaust or the war. Mazal would learn later in his adult life that much of his grandmother’s family, who was from Salonika, Greece perished in the Nazi camps Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Stutthof.
In 1967, together with his wife Jerry, Mazal traveled to Germany, a trip that had a profound impact on his life. While in Germany, he began to learn more about World War II and the history of the Holocaust. A voracious reader, Mazal began to immerse himself in Jewish history, focusing on the impact of WWII.
In 1990, the Mazals moved to San Antonio, Texas. Around this time, Mazal became aware of the growing presence of groups denying the Holocaust, especially on the Internet. Given the Nazis’ habit of keeping meticulous records of their atrocities, Mazal found it difficult to believe that anyone could deny the Holocaust, so he dedicated himself to refuting and discrediting Holocaust denial by collecting historical documents. Mazal traveled the world to research and collect materials on the Holocaust, and by 1993, his collection had outgrown the shelves of his house. He built the first of three expansions to his home, which ultimately became the Mazal Holocaust History Library. Among his more notable acquisitions was the entire fifteen volume set of the Nuremburg War Crimes trials, documentation of the Eichmann trial, and an oversized book about the construction, plans, and operations of the gas chambers at Birkenau. Funded entirely with Mazal's own money, the library was open primarily to researchers and scholars from around the world.
Materials from the Harry W Mazal Holocaust Collection played an important role in the libel case filed in British courts by David Irving against noted Emory University Holocaust scholar and historian, Deborah Lipstadt.
Harry Mazal passed away in 2011.
Gift of Jerry Mazal in 2014.