The Mazal Holocaust Collection is the life work of Harry W. Mazal, a retired businessman from Mexico City who made San Antonio, Texas his home. He became an internationally recognized Holocaust collector and researcher. With support of numerous volunteers, he dedicated his life, time and resources to creating a vast repository committed to defending the voices and memories of the victims of the Holocaust around the world by promoting scholarly research of Holocaust studies, Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and bigotry. Completely funded with his own money, the library was open primarily to researchers and scholars from around the world.
As a young man in Mexico City, he worked very hard to make his family medical and laboratory equipment company a success. Although born to Sephardic Orthodox Jewish parents, he was not raised in an observant household. Mazal assumed his parents moved away from Judaism in order to protect their children from what was happening in Europe at the time. Like many during this period of history, his family did not speak about the Holocaust or the war. He would learn later in his adult life that much of his grandmother’s family, who was from Salonika, perished in such places as Auschwitz, Treblinka and Stutthof.
In 1967, together with his wife Jerry, he took a trip to Germany that changed his life. While there, he began to think and learn more about WWII and the history of the Holocaust. Always somewhat of a history buff and voracious reader, Harry began to immerse himself in Jewish history, focusing on the impact of WWII.
In 1990, the Mazal’s moved to San Antonio. About this same time he became aware of the growing presence of groups who were denying the Holocaust, especially on the Internet. It seemed almost unbelievable to him that anyone could deny the Holocaust since the Nazis kept such complete records. It was clear to Harry that the growing Holocaust Denial movement needed to be refuted and discredited with documented, historical fact. This became the birth of the Mazal Holocaust History Library.Continuously reading, studying and traveling the world to research and collect materials on the Holocaust, by 1993 his collection had outgrown the shelves in his house so he built the first of three expansions to house what ultimately became a 2,000 square foot library. The collection includes the entire 15 volumes of the Nuremburg War Crimes trials, the Eichmann trial, and an oversize book about the construction, plans, and operations of the gas chambers at Birkenau.
Materials from Harry Mazal’s 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. He cared deeply for the volunteers who gave so much of their time to make these materials available and for the scholars who came to research at the library.
With his passing in 2011, the Mazal family wanted to ensure his life work and legacy continued to be available to scholars, researchers, and educators around the world. His devotion to education, commitment to research and passion for knowledge make the University of Colorado Boulder a perfect home.