Introduction to the EHRI Country Reports on Holocaust History and Archives

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The EHRI Country Reports are published on the EHRI Portal. This page contains a general introduction to the Country Reports.

The field of Holocaust studies relies on a vast variety of archives. One of EHRI’s most important tasks is to create an inventory of Holocaust-related archival institutions and collections in order to share this information with the research community. The country reports provide EHRI’s identification work with a systematic and structured framework. They give an historical overview of the country and its Holocaust history as well as of the archival situation in the covered countries, and include a section on EHRI’s research.

If you have questions or comments about the country reports or the introduction, please contact info@ehri-project.eu.
 

All EHRI country reports follow the same general structure:

  • Our first aim is to provide a general overview of each country's history during the Second World War. This is done in two short paragraphs. The first paragraph briefly summarises the country’s history of the country during the Second World War, covering questions of statehood as well as German rule and influence. The second paragraph focuses on Holocaust history and includes information on the size of the pre-war Jewish community as compared to the total population of the country, as well as an estimate of the number of Jewish victims. Please note that dividing the number of victims according to today’s national borders is a highly complicated matter.
     
  • The second section offers a short overview of the archival situation. It deals with the archival culture of the country: how the archives are organised (centralised system or not; public and private archives; general information about access, etc.). The summaries do not include detailed information on privacy legislation, copyright issues or accessibility. For privacy issues, the EU member states are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (1). However, since the processing of personal data for research purposes or archiving in the public interest is subject to member state law, there may still be differences from one member state to another, and even within a given country there may be other variables to take into account (specific laws and culture, local practices). In non-EU countries, and especially in former communist states, the archival system is usually more centralised, but this does not mean privacy issues are more clear-cut. This is why EHRI refers users to archival administrations and, more importantly, the archives themselves for their policy on data protection and access to the documents, as well as copyright issues. EHRI also finds a partner advocating for archival access to Holocaust-related sources in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). In 2017, the IHRA concluded its five-year project on archival access with a final report and recommendations and in November of that same year, the Plenary of the IHRA reaffirmed their commitment to ensure full access to the material record of the Holocaust (2).
     
  • The third section elaborates on EHRI’s identification work, which is ongoing since October 2010. This section also includes references to aggregators and country-specific research guides.

These summaries give readers a concise overview on which archives are most relevant for Holocaust research and sources in the countries described. The reports combine knowledge from important Holocaust encyclopaedias with new findings from recent publications as well as original EHRI research. Due to their concise format, the country report summaries only focus on the broad outlines and do not include details or specific bibliographical references. The EHRI country reports are first and foremost a tool to frame the identification and investigation of sources on the Holocaust. Please note that the list of identified institutions and collections includes more detailed descriptions and information, not only about the content and type of sources, but also about archive-specific conditions regarding the accessibility of the sources.

In addition to the history, archival situation and EHRI Research Summary sections, an EHRI Research Extensive section has been included for countries for which EHRI was able to include collection descriptions on the portal. Following a three-step structure, the extensive reports offer information on how EHRI acquired its data and integrated it into the portal. They note the pre-existing research, local experts, available archival and, in some cases, on third party surveys EHRI relied on (A); they provide information on characteristics and specific challenges of the archival systems (B); and, finally, they present overviews of EHRI’s identification and description results (C) that appear as listings of archival institutions relevant to Holocaust-research which can be found in and outside a particular country.

As a first priority, the reports focus on the Axis and Nazi-occupied countries in Europe (including the North-African colonies). This includes the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tunisia, Ukraine and Vatican City. In addition, there are country reports on: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Georgia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Portugal, San Marino, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uzbekistan. The ultimate goal is to include a country report on every country which holds Holocaust-related archival collections and to keep the reports up to date in order to create a dynamic, growing resource for the identification of Holocaust sources.

 

For further general references, consult the following online tools and published research guides:

Archival Guide to the Collections of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 3rd ed., Compiled by staff of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Washington, DC: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2014 (see also http://www.ushmm.org/online/archival-guide/).

Guide européen des sources d'archives sur la Shoah (European guide of archival sources on the Shoah) (Paris: Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, 2000). This guide covers Holocaust-related archives in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Judaica Europeana (www.jhn.ngo/judaica-europeana-archive/) works with libraries, archives and museums and EUROPEANA to provide integrated access to digital collections, which document the Jewish presence and heritage in Europe. Project partners have digitised thousands of photos, postcards and recordings as well as millions of pages from books, newspapers, archives and press clippings.

Robinson, Jacob & Yehuda Bauer (eds), Guide to unpublished material of the Holocaust period (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Yad Vashem, 1970).

 

Finally, it also has to be noted that some archives hold Holocaust-related material on practically all the countries covered by EHRI; they are not systematically referenced in each section on archival holdings outside of the respective country. A non-exhaustive list includes: the German Bundesarchiv / Federal Archives, the Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes / Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office (which holds the diplomatic files of the German Reich); the Arolsen Archives: International Center on Nazi Persecution, Yad Vashem, USHMM, the Joint Distribution Committee Archives, and the Central Archive for the History of the Jewish People, which holds records from the Claims Conference, and the Central Zionist Archives.

 

Authors and bibliographic reference:

The country reports and descriptions in the EHRI portal have been authored and reviewed by a team of contributors (in alphabetical order): Alfons Adam, Ward Adriaens, Peter Anna, Victoria Apostol, Sigal Arie-Erez, Adina Babeş, Ainars Bambals, Giles Bennett, Hans Boers, Rita Bogdanova, Naida-Michal Brandl, Laura Brazzo, Oleg Budnitskii, Antoine Burgard, Angel Chorapchiev, László Csősz, Michał Czajka, Hans de Vries, Gertjan Desmet, Paul Dostert, Dominik Esegovic, Esther Everaert, Howard Falksohn, Anastasia Felcher, Michal Frankl, Kinga Frojimovics, Jasmina Gavrankapetanovic-Redzic, Francesco Gelati, Sofija Grandakovska, Matthew Haultain-Gall, Charlotte Hauwaert, Jan Hlavinka, Tobias Hof, Petra Jurlina, Milan Koljanin, Ferenc Laczó, Neringa Latvytė-Gustaitienė, Cécile Lauvergeon, Judith Levin, Zeev Levin, Simon Levis Sullam, Gatis Liepins, Petra Links, Anastasia Loudarou, Samuela Marconcini, Meelis Maripuu, Markus Meremies, Simo Muir, Irina Onofrei, Irina Rebrova, Milovan Pisarri, Dieter Pohl, Vasilis Ritzaleos, Haim Saadoun, Lieven Saerens, Wolfgang Schellenbacher, Filip Sikorski, Oula Silvennoinen, Ariel Sion, Māra Sprūdža, Karolina Štegurová, Dorien Styven, Marta Švolíková, Karen Taïeb, Albena Taneva, Adnan Tijnic, Pascal Trees, Mikhail Tyaglyy, Anna Ullrich, Susanne Uslu-Pauer, Zoltán Vági, Veerle Vanden Daelen, Irina Veinberga, Tim Veken, Jarka Vítámvásová, Anton Weiss-Wendt, Masha Yonin, Anita Zandmane, Anastasia Zaplatina.

The reports can be referenced as follows: Giles Bennett, Matthew Haultain-Gall, Dieter Pohl, Pascal Trees, Anna Ullrich & Veerle Vanden Daelen (eds.), Country Reports on Holocaust History and Archives, and the Data Identification and Integration Work of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI), [LINK to website and/or portal] (date of consultation).

 

(1). ‘Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)’ in, Official Journal of the European Union. Legislation. L. 119 4 May 2016, p. 1-88.

(2). https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/archival-access, retrieved on 20 May 2019.