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Victor Bienstock papers

Document | Accession Number: 2016.499.1

The Victor Bienstock papers document the pre-war and wartime work of journalist Victor Bienstock, as he served as an overseas correspondent for the Overseas News Agency, a subsidiary of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The collection contains materials relating to the on-the-ground coverage of wartime events from various locations (London, Cairo, Rome, and France) during World War II, with a particular focus on stories related to Palestine, refugees, and the fate of Jews in Nazi occupied lands. The Victor Bienstock papers contains travel materials; ephemera; correspondence; diaries; an unpublished memoir; drafts of speeches and news articles; wire reports and dispatches; newspaper clippings; and photographs with captions, relating to Bienstock’s wartime travel and reporting.

The first series in the Victor Bienston papers, travel documents, 1941-1946, includes four applications for “Permit of Local Board for Registrant to Depart from the United States” and Victor Bienstock’s formal agreement with the U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East which includes a photograph of Bienstock, October 20, 1943.

The second series, financial materials, 1943, includes a steamship passenger ticket and a telegram receipt, 1943.

The third series, diaries, notebooks, and day calendars, 1938-1946, include Victor Bienstock’s typed and handwritten diaries, day planners, notebooks, and essay-like “logs” which highlight his experiences as a journalist in England and Europe during World War II. The diaries also shed light on Bienstock’s daily and personal life in wartime England.
The December 5-30, 1938 typed diary includes notes on conversations with various people and officials regarding refugees and Jews in Europe.

The typed 1939 diary focuses on topics such as the immigration, refugees, Jews in Europe, Zionism, American and English diplomatic relations, Joseph P. Kennedy’s attitudes toward the Jewish people, difficulties with censorship, London air raids, gas masks, Nazi propaganda, and listening to BBC radio broadcasts. Specific events mentioned include the London Conference of 1939 regarding Palestine, bombings conducted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and the declaration of war. The diary also highlights conversations Bienstock held with various diplomats, journalists, and representatives of Jewish aid societies.

Similarly, the typed diary from January-May 1940 focuses on conversations Bienstock held with various diplomats, journalists, and representatives of Jewish aid societies, as well as topics such as Palestine, refugees, Jewish immigration, Zionism, critiques of journalists’ coverage of the war, the Nazi occupation of Poland, and Nazi military advances.

The Cairo, Egypt Diary, September 5 - November 30, 1939 is handwritten and includes notes on various people in town as well as troop movements and the military advancements in Europe.

The fragments of a log book include pieces relating to the flight from England to Lisbon, December 1940; the publication of Ambassador William Edward Dodd’s dairy, March 1941; an untitled pieces written in New York, April 15, 1941; and a trip from Europe to the United State describing activities on the ship, December 1941.

The fourth series, correspondence, 1938-1945, largely contains telegrams relating to Victor Biensock’s experiences and work oversees. The majority of the correspondence is between Bienstock and Jacob Landau (founder of the JTA) or Hyman Wishengrad (co-founder of the ONA).

The fifth series, manuscripts, 1938-1975 is divided into three subseries, speeches, 1938-1975;
memoir, circa 1941-1945; and dispatches and wire reports, 1937-1955.

The speeches, written by Bienstock prior to and during 1942 relate to his impressions of the wartime world, particularly his observations of London and Lisbon, while the 1945 and post-1945 speeches relate to post-war challenges. The speeches include: “Report on England,” February 1941, with draft titled “London Under Fire,” January 1941; untitled speech, February 20, 1941; untitled speech given at the United Jewish Appeal Dinners Harmonie Club, May 19, 1942; untitled speech given at the Dress Industry Dinner, September 2, 1942; untitled speech given at the American ORT Luncheon, May 7, 1945; untitled speech given at the Yale Club Luncheon, May 24, 1945, 5 copies; untitled speech given at the Menorah Dinner, November 27, 1945; untitled speech given at the Temple Rodeph Sholem, December 2, 1945; “Broadcast draft,” 1948; “Outline of VMB report to meeting of South African Zionist Federation Executive,” December 14, 1948; and “The Year in Great Britain,” written by Alvin Hollander, 1938.

inclusive:  1935-1984
bulk:  1938-1945
6 boxes
3 oversize boxes
1 book enclosure
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Susan Bienstock Burke
Record last modified: 2021-11-22 09:30:33
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