Edinburgh Central Library is a repository for a great many historic “Special Collections” as well as up-to-date reading material. These collections focus on Edinburgh, the nation of Scotland and Scots abroad. The library is a safe haven to donate important documents and images and a place where these will be made available to the public at large.
One such collection is the Ernest Levy Archive which was gifted to us in 2010 by his daughter Judy Russell. Ernest was a holocaust survivor who after the war settled in Scotland. Originally from Bratislava, he spent 48 years in Glasgow, where he became a leading figure in the Scottish Jewish community. He spoke out about his experiences throughout his life, knowing that his testimony would help future generations remember this terrible time in history.
The Ernest Levy Archive consists of a large collection of books, manuscripts and music and the library is currently cataloguing the material and undertaking a programme of developing resources for the public so they can access information about Ernest’s experiencesand his message of tolerance and respect.
The first part of this programme is an exhibition that will be held in the Central Library from January 23rd – March 15th 2012. This will use photographs and text from Ernest’s collection to present the story of his life. A related exhibition of material relating to the Jewish experience during World War II will be on display in the Reference Library.
The start of our exhibition coincides with Holocaust Memorial Day 2012 (27th January) whose theme this year is Speak Up, Speak Out. This very much fits in with Ernest’s efforts to educate and inform people about the events he had survived. Ernest believed that the memorial day should act as a focus for those races and groups still under persecution as well as the historical victims of racism and prejudice.