CfP: EHRI Workshop at Yad Vashem: Heritage and Memory

Tuesday, 8 April, 2014

Workshop at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

8-10 September, 2014

EHRI would like to invite you to participate in the international workshop on Revising the Scope and Means of Physical and Digital Preservation of Holocaust Documentation to be held at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, September, 8-10, 2014.

Digital surrogate

The dramatic developments in digital technology and their application in various disciplines have an increasing impact on conservation and preservation of cultural heritage and primary sources: documents, photographs, artwork and artifacts. Indeed, the digital surrogate represents considerable advantages; it circumvents the necessity of accessing the original thus preventing its deterioration by physical contact or exposure to uncontrolled environment. The new technology media provide an effective and simple worldwide dissemination of information; it improves the potential for both academic research and household, and enhances the elaboration of visual data through the application of advanced spectral imaging technologies.

However, this growing use of digital media requires a particular and closer examination of its eventual effect on preserving the Holocaust memory and heritage.

Building blocks of memory

Even today, almost seven decades since the end of the war, our information on the victims of the Shoah and the fates of individuals and communities remains very incomplete. The Nazis made a determined effort not only to murder the Jews but to obliterate their memory as well. Holocaust documentation is the basis for Holocaust research, the core material for the production of museums and exhibits, and a resource base for commemoration activities and education for future generations. These building blocks of memory are scattered across the world, in countless fragments. They were written in hiding, under difficult conditions, with poor materials. Part of the material was in private hands for many decades, not always in adequate conditions. This sensitive documentation is often the last testimony to the life of an individual, or to the execution of murder; therefore preservation has significant moral, educational and legal implications. At the same time, there is a broadening understanding in the world that Holocaust documentation needs to be made accessible to the wide public via advanced technology, precisely because of the great interest expressed by the public.

Conservators worldwide

Preservation of Holocaust documentation as a test case can present professionals in the field with a window to a discussion on questions that concern conservators worldwide. Developments and dilemmas that concern those dealing with the preservation of cultural heritage in general impact on the decision making process of leaders in preservation of Holocaust documentation.


This workshop will address the challenges surrounding the intrinsic importance of the original material and the need to preserve it alongside with the digital image. It will therefore emphasize the particular importance of assuring the appropriate means and skills for preserving the physical material, of updating the technologies for the digital conservation and backup, and finally, define and establish the complementary role of each one of the conservation processes.

Call for Papers

This international workshop is designated specifically for scholars involved in the practical, ethical and philosophical aspects of conservation of Holocaust heritage, and for professionals from various fields of conservation who will impart common experience and methodologies.

This venue will also provide the opportunity to enhance cooperation and communication and foster the establishment of a common terminology for scholars, conservators and information technology (IT) people. The participants will also address questions and issues such as: Should all originals be digitized or should priority be given to selected collections? Is it possible to transfer information such as colors, texture, thickness, and dimensions from the original to digital media? What is the longevity of a digital medium? How hardware and software compatibility issues should be addressed, etc.

Proposals are now invited for individual presentations, participation in round tables, or workshop sessions.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

1. Physical conservation of Holocaust documentation: challenges and decision making

  • The value and importance of an original in Holocaust Documentation
  • Ethics of preservation of Holocaust original materials
  • Dilemmas in conservation of original Holocaust materials

2. The role of information technologies on conservation of Holocaust documentation

  • The effect of information technologies on the decision-making process of conservation
  • Standards of digitalization of the original item
  • File management and information backup
  • Digital photography and image processing as a documentation and research tool
  • Advanced imaging technologies and their potential for Holocaust documentation, preservation, display and dissemination

3. Physical conservation and the digital media, parallel or complementary?

4. Case Studies: examples of projects dealing with Holocaust documentation involving tangible and digital conservation

The workshop will be conducted in English. Translation from or to other languages will not be available.

If you are interested in giving an individual paper or participating in a round table discussion, please send a short 500 word proposal and a CV (including all relevant contact information) to:

The deadline for submissions of proposals is, June 30, 2014. Notification of acceptance will be sent via email by mid July, 2014.

Subsidies will be available to participants in accordance with European Commission guidelines and the EHRI project budget.


Proposals send to Ms. Varda Gross:

Questions on administrative matters send to:

The workshop is organized within the framework of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) project, supported by the European Commission. Launched in November 2010, EHRI is dedicated to opening up collections related to Holocaust history within a web-based environment with the purpose of generating a creative exchange of knowledge and views between professionals in various subfields of Holocaust research and documentation.

Photo: Hall of Names, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem