Diaries of Wilhelm Hollitscher

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 70377
1 Jan 1939 - 31 Jan 1943
Level of Description
  • German
EHRI Partner

Biographical History

The following information has been extracted from the diaries.

Wilhelm Hollitscher arrived in England on March 31 1939 at the age of 66 from Vienna. Apparently a life-long diarist, he recommenced writing his diaries on 13 June 1939. The last entry is dated 16 October 1943.

After his arrival in England Hollitscher stayed at Salford, soon after moving to Petts Wood, Kent, where he lived throughout the duration of the diaries, except for a period of 10 weeks internment [25 June- 1 September 1940].

Archival History

The provenance of the diaries is not known.

Scope and Content

This set of manuscript war-time diaries from an Austrian Jewish refugee provide a unique insight into a refugee's life and his interpretation of national events. A number of enclosures were found loose within the diaries. These have been catalogued separately [1277/16] with a note of their place of origin. Hollitscher begins his English diaries by remembering his last days in Vienna, but soon turns to a discussion of the political news of the day. In this case a secret meeting between Hitler and Mussolini. Hollitscher is furious about Hitler's treachery, abandoning South Tyrol as a gift to Mussolini.

From this time on Hollitscher chronicles the political, and later, military developments and the diaries become a history of the period seen through the eyes of a Jewish emigrant living in England. The tense months leading up to the war, the declaration of war and the war itself are described. Likewise is the landing of Rudolf Hess; the bombing of English towns and later of German ones; Stalingrad; and even events in the Pacific and China.

Comments on the political situation are regularly interspersed with notes on family and friends, most of whom, seem to have escaped Austria. Letters written and received and the more mundane events of daily life at Petts Wood are recorded faithfully.

Hollitscher is very conscious of the fate of the Jews in Germany, Austria and Poland and he notes any news he receives. On the fourth anniversary of his arrival in England he is grateful for four years of a 'blessed old age' and for the fact that his children and grandchildren are safe and healthy. Many of his friends, unfortunately were not so lucky.

In 1943 he mentions heart troubles, difficulties in sleeping and cramps. The diaries close rather abruptly on 6 October 1943. Badoglio declared the collapse of fascism at a press conference. Hitler treated Mussolini 'like a shoe rag' and Hollitscher hopes to live to the day, when Hitler is treated like that himself or worse.

Conditions Governing Access


Related Units of Description

  • See also P:\Digital Holding Store and WL numbers\Document Collections\1277 for partially translated section ( 13.6.1939- 2.9.1939); also includes biographies of people mentioned.



This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.