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European Holocaust Research Infrastructure

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Online repository for fragmented Holocaust research

Archival source material documenting the Holocaust is highly fragmented and dispersed across Europe and beyond. An EU initiative established a new infrastructure for Holocaust research, combining information from hundreds of archives, libraries, museums and memorial institutions into a comprehensive online resource.

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Materials of interest to Holocaust researchers are widely dispersed across an unusually large number of institutions by historical research standards. Accessing the information is complicated, in some cases impossible, and very time consuming. To address such needs, the EU funded the EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure) project. EHRI supported the Holocaust research community by unifying online access to the various resources via an online portal, encouraging collaborative and transnational research and fostering on-site researcher placements. Project partners began by surveying the needs of Holocaust researchers from over 270 respondents and mapped the current Holocaust archives situation. The EHRI team created a portal that provides users with access to comprehensive information about archival institutions and collections gathered during the project. It also offers a variety of online tools to find, explore, organise and share such information. Launched in 2015, the portal has over 500 registered users and is freely available to anyone with an interest in the Holocaust. Over 1 800 archival institutions and their collections in 50 countries were identified and studied, and more than 150 000 descriptions from over 450 Holocaust archival institutions were integrated. Research guides were designed that thematically integrate Holocaust materials and also provide access to Holocaust research for the general public. In total, 47 country reports on Holocaust history and archives were published on the portal. A transnational fellowship programme implemented 42 fellowships and visits by scholars to Holocaust institutions. In addition, networking activities fostered a pan-European perspective among relevant stakeholders and highlighted the need to integrate and enhance existing Holocaust research. As a result, a new community was set up that is focused on integrating Holocaust material from many dispersed archives. EHRI succeeded in bringing under one roof scattered data available for Holocaust research throughout Europe and elsewhere. This will help ensure that resources documenting the Holocaust remain a vital part of European cultural heritage.

Keywords

Holocaust, Holocaust research, archived source material, research infrastructure, Holocaust archives

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