Skip to main content

Leon Weliczker Wells papers

Call Number: MS 1463

Scope and Contents

The Leon Weliczker Wells Papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, and research material relating to Wells's book, Who Speaks for the Vanquished?. The papers also include a small amount of correspondence concerning arrangements for Wells to appear before courts in West Germany to testify in war crimes trials in the 1960s and 1970s.

The bulk of the material, which Wells gave to the Yale University Library in 1987, is composed of copies of documents Wells assembled in researching Who Speaks for the Vanquished?.The Wells Papers include copies of relevant minutes from boards and committees of Hadassah and the World Jewish Congress as well as letters written by prominent American Jewish leaders in response to a questionnaire mailed to them by Wells. Additions of correspondence, writings, printed ephemera, and a CD relating to the Holocaust complete the collection.

Wells received permission from Hadassah to copy the materials now in folders 13-20 of the original accession. While Hadassah has allowed the Manuscript and Archives Department to make these files available to researchers, permission to copy or quote from the Hadassah materials rests wth Hadassah. Researchers may not photocopy materials in folders 13-20, and any researcher seeking to quote from these files or use this material in any way must secure permission from Hadassah.


  • 1918-2009


Conditions Governing Access

Hadassah files (folders 13-20) in the original accession may not be photocopied. Researchers wishing to quote from or use this material in any way must secure permission from Hadassah.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Leon Weliczker Wells has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Leon W. Wells, 1987, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009.


The papers are arranged consecutively by accession.


14 Linear Feet (20 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers include minutes of Hadassah and World Jewish Congress meetings and responses to a questionnaire sent to prominent American Jewish leaders. Correspondence, writings, printed ephemera, and a CD relating to the Holocaust complete the collection.

Biographical / Historical

Leon Weliczker Wells was born in Lvov, Poland, on March 10, 1925. Wells was a prisoner in the Janowska concentration camp outside Lvov during World War II. He escaped from the camp in an uprising in 1943 and was hidden in the basement of the Kalwinski family on the outskirts of Lvov.

Wells kept a written record of his experiences as a member of the "Death Brigade," and these memoirs were published in Poland after the war and reissued in the United States as The Janowska Road. In 1946 Wells left Poland for the American Zone in Germany, and while in Munich he helped organize the Jewish Historical Commission there. This group gathered documents on the Holocaust which became part of the original collection of the Yad Vashem archive in Israel. Wells gave testimony at both the Nuremberg trials and the Eichmann trial.

In 1949 Wells received his Ph.D in mechanical engineering from the Technical Institute of the University of Munich. He came to the United States in 1949 and did post-graduate work in physics at Lehigh University. He has worked in the field of applied optics and mechanisms and holds patents on motion picture projecting systems.

Wells published Who Speaks for the Vanquished? in 1987. In this work Wells investigated the "non-response" of American Jewish leaders of the plight of Jews in Nazi Europe. He contended that Zionist organizations in America failed to respond in a significant way to save the Jews of Europe because they were focusing their time, influence, and money on preparations for a Jewish state in Palestine.

Wells lives in Fort Lee, New Jersey. He and his wife have three children.


Accession 2010-M-008 was added as folder 5 to box 1, Accession 2007-M-092.

Guide to the Leon Weliczker Wells Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Diane E. Kaplan
August 1989
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours