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The EHRI document blog is a space to share ideas about Holocaust-related archival documents, and their presentation and interpretation using digital tools.
Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomatic Reports on the Holocaust – an EHRI Online Edition

November 18, 2021 - 5:17pm
In April of 1939, the American diplomat Ray Atherton, stationed in Sofia, reported to the Secretary of State that “there is no sympathy in Bulgaria for the anti-Jewish demonstrations of this organization ‚Workers of New Bulgaria‘,” which “is of foreign origin and is, it is believed, directly encouraged from Germany”.1 This assumption was mirrored by Read More

Left Behind – A Project Opening up Little Known Holocaust Histories as Well as New Tools

September 29, 2021 - 5:10pm
Almost half of the Jewish population of Belgium was murdered during the Holocaust. Complete families were wiped out, creating blind spots in the information available to reconstruct their stories in particular, but also certain aspects of the Belgian case in general. Personal documents of survivors and non-survivors thus become even more important to fill these Read More

“They became my children too”: The Multi-layered meanings of family letters from the Jewish Maquis in France

July 29, 2021 - 10:42am
Introduction On 6th June 1944, Robert Gamzon, the leader of the Jewish Scouts of France, wrote a letter to his wife, Denise Gamzon about a local underground scout group he’d visited. The group was situated near the southern French city of Castres, just across the Agout river from another team he had worked closely with Read More

The Lost Jews of Stettin: A Revealing Letter from 1942

June 2, 2021 - 11:15am
For the past four years, I’ve been working with Harvard Law School’s extensive collection of documents from all 13 Nuremberg trials. My role is to create metadata for prosecution and defense exhibits (and source documents) so that future searchers will be able to find each item when the whole collection is online. The collection has Read More

Talking about Sexualised Violence: The Presentation of Rape and Male Power in an Oral-History Interview

April 26, 2021 - 3:32pm
The Visual History Archive of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute is the biggest archive of oral-history interviews of Jews and other survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides. Trained volunteers have conducted more than 50,000 interviews from 1994 until today. The interviews were filmed and did not only focus on the period of the Holocaust Read More