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The “Tombstones Affair”: On the Fate of Jewish Cemeteries in Odessa under the Romanian Occupation (1941-1944)

EHRI Blog - November 15, 2023 - 12:16pm
The newspaper article, entitled “Looting of Jewish cemeteries in Odessa,” was probably published in spring 1945. According to it, “the transportation to Bucharest, in several wagons, of tombstones taken from the graves of Jewish cemeteries in Odessa” took place. The Odessa city hall sold the tombstones to various individuals and the mayor Gherman Pântea approved Read More

The Town of Mizoch on the Map of the Holocaust

EHRI Blog - October 18, 2023 - 1:28pm
I was born in the Soviet Ukraine. According to the memory politics of this state, we were not told anything about the Holocaust as children, and for a long time this topic was terra incognita for me. During school lessons about World War II, which was then called the “Great Fatherland War,” we heard about Read More

Wartime Paperwork: How Citizens Navigated Soviet Bureaucracy During and After World War II

EHRI Blog - August 18, 2023 - 1:00pm
Scraps of Paper Among the innumerous sources to be found in the Yad Vashem Archives (YVA) are a great many personal collections of Jews from the Soviet Union. Most of them spent World War II in the Soviet rear or in the ranks of the Red Army, a minority survived the Holocaust under German or Read More

Chance Encounters in the Holocaust Archive: Finding Elżbieta Nadel’s “From the Black Album 1939-1945”

EHRI Blog - July 4, 2023 - 1:44pm
In late 2020, I stumbled across a curious listing in the USHMM’s online database: an entry labeled “Z czarnej teki 1939-1945 (The Black Album1, 1939-1945) / Elżbieta Nadel.”2 It was described simply as a set of 19 small photographic reproductions mounted on black cards measuring only 14 cm that was made in 1946 in Prague. Read More

The Rescue of Jews by Monks and Nuns of the Greek Catholic Church: the State and Prospects of Research

EHRI Blog - June 13, 2023 - 11:11am
A Historical Digression First of all, let me start with a historical digression, by way of introduction. At the start of the German-Soviet war, Galicia was occupied by Nazi Germany. In the first days of the occupation, a wave of Jewish violence took place in the cities, shortly after which all anti-Jewish laws entered into Read More

History on the Margins: The Surviving Remnant and Yiddish Holocaust Literature in the Stockholm Jewish Library

EHRI Blog - May 16, 2023 - 1:20pm
Rachel Auerbach’s (1903—1976) Oyf di felder fun Treblinke – a reportazsh (In the Fields of Treblinka – a Report) from 1946 was the first book I happened to come across when I started inventorying a collection of Yiddish books in Judiska Biblioteket, the Jewish Library in Stockholm. A shiver ran down my spine when I Read More

‘More Terrifying Than the Germans’: Information About the Holocaust from Investigation Files of Local Policemen (the Case of Kryvyi Rih)

EHRI Blog - April 25, 2023 - 11:15am
Archive files of criminal cases are a rather specific type of historical sources. In Ukraine, they can be found either in the Sectoral State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Kyiv1 or in regional SBU archives in the oblast capitals. A small number of these materials have been transferred to the state Read More

“Everyone Had to Do With It, Either Through Family or Some Other Means”: Testimonies of Ukrainian Witnesses About the Holocaust in Volhynia

EHRI Blog - March 29, 2023 - 9:02am
The Holocaust in Ukraine: contemporary historiographical trends and the need for new sources Ever since the publication of Jan T. Gross’ monograph Neighbors,1 research on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe has increasingly shifted towards the use of eyewitness accounts. This became a logical consequence of the bigger shift of the “era of the witness” since Read More

Identifying the author of an anonymous diary from the Holocaust in Hungary

EHRI Blog - March 1, 2023 - 10:39am
While on my EHRI Conny Kristel Fellowship at Yad Vashem in August 2022, I discovered the author of an anonymous diary from a Hungarian Jew in wartime Budapest. The search for the identity of the author drew on clues in the text of the diary, photographs folded between its pages, census records, and school records. Read More

The NS-Policy of “Endlösung der Judenfrage” and the Soviet Medical Staff among the Jewish Prisoners of War in Central Ukraine

EHRI Blog - January 26, 2023 - 11:05am
Introduction In August 2016, I took part in the 10-day seminar “Documents on the Holocaust”, held by the Federal Archive in Berlin and the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI). This seminar as well as my participation in the Holocaust Summer Program in Kyiv between 1 and 12 July 2019, and the EHRI fellowships I held Read More

Documenting the Documenter: Piecing together the history of Polish Holocaust survivor-historian Luba Melchior

EHRI Blog - December 12, 2022 - 9:57am
“Testimony received by Institute Assistant Luba Melchior.” This sentence appears on 61 of the 512 complete witness testimonies collected from Polish survivors of Nazi persecution by the Polish Research Institute (PIZ) in Lund, Sweden, in 1945 and 1946.1 Yet, Polish Holocaust survivor Luba Melchior did not leave her own testimony with the PIZ survivor historical Read More

Tracing the Dislocation of a Sinti Family in a Genocidal Context: the R165 Collection of the German Federal Archives

EHRI Blog - November 2, 2022 - 9:37am
In September 1981, in the basement of the Tübingen University, German survivors of the Sinti and Roma genocide and remembrance activists captured the racial archives created by the scientific authorities under the Nazi regime to identify, deport and destroy their families.1 The documents seized were immediately given to the German Federal Archives. Today, this vast Read More

My Experience of Studying the Holocaust

EHRI Blog - October 6, 2022 - 11:28am
I was born in Kharkiv in 1950 and it is likely that I was the first Soviet historian to begin the study of the Holocaust, even though the subject was effectively banned. I was also the first who managed to publish articles on it – abroad. Since 1984, I have published twenty monographs and collections Read More

When Were Social Status and Social Ties Supporting Holocaust Survival Chances?

EHRI Blog - August 28, 2022 - 2:30pm
How Can Statistical Methods of Social Sciences Complement Historical Research? Seeing faces of individual victims of the Holocaust, such as those of the prisoners of the Theresienstadt ghetto displayed by the publicly accessible database developed by the Theresienstadt Initiative Institute, is a critical element of remembering and understanding the Holocaust. Such databases often provide a Read More

Exploratory Topic Modelling in Python

EHRI Blog - July 19, 2022 - 2:07pm
This post, originally entitled “Exploratory Topic Modelling Using R”, was first published by Mike Bryant in June 2016 on a now deactivated blog. We have since updated it to include more data and to explore similar tools in Python. The original blog post (Bryant, 2016) is still accessible through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Continuing Read More

Mapping the Archive: The Wiener Holocaust Library’s Refugee Map

EHRI Blog - June 2, 2022 - 2:31pm
‘Place is not only a fact to be explained in the broader frame of space, but it is also a reality to be clarified and understood from the perspectives of the people who have given it meaning.’1 Introduction The Wiener Holocaust Library is the UK’s largest archive of personal papers related to Jewish refugees from Read More

What can I do with this messy spreadsheet? Converting from Excel sheets to fully compliant EAD-XML files

EHRI Blog - April 25, 2022 - 10:57am
Many Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) face difficulties sharing their collections meta-data in standardised and sustainable ways due to the absence of in-house Information Technology (IT) support or capabilities 1. This situation means that staff rely on more familiar general purpose office programs like text processors, spreadsheets, or low-code databases. However, while these tools Read More

Methodological Nationalism in History Writing. Missing Locals of Slovakia

EHRI Blog - March 10, 2022 - 12:23pm
“The testimony you requested from the Fortunoff Video Archive cannot be viewed in Slovakia until 2026,” was the response we received when attempting to access a taped interview with a Jewish Holocaust witness from Sečovce (in Hungarian: Gálszécs), a small town in eastern Slovakia. A social historian of the Holocaust and an ethnographer who has Read More

“We spend our lives living in darkness, in cold, and often in hunger.” – Jewish Entreaties to Slovak President Jozef Tiso During the Holocaust

EHRI Blog - January 27, 2022 - 12:05pm
Thousands of Jews throughout Europe, facing a shrinking universe of options and increasingly desperate circumstances, wrote to the representatives of the very governments that were persecuting them to ask for clemency from anti-Semitic measures during the Holocaust. They employed a variety of rhetorical strategies in their appeals, hoping that their words would be sufficiently convincing Read More

Polish-Jewish Industrialists and Their Links to Loved Ones: An Analysis of the Correspondence of Dr Joseph Thon

EHRI Blog - December 14, 2021 - 4:42pm
On the morning of the 8th January 1959, Dr Joseph Thon passed away in the French Hospital, New York aged fifty-five with no spouse or children after a short illness.1 Born Joseph Teitelbaum in December 1903 in Żurawno, Poland (now Zhuravne in western Ukraine) Thon in his final years headed the tourist department for the Read More


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