EHRI Document Blog: Experimenting With Digital Content

Thursday, 28 April, 2016

The EHRI document blog was launched online on January 27th this year. It was created as a space to share ideas about Holocaust-related archival material and to experiment with the interpretation of archive material using different digital tools, especially when it came to the presentation of information in a visual form.

EHRI partners and fellows will also have a chance to highlight their own research and digital content through the blog.

Alongside more traditional archival information, we also want to tell the story of the documents, offering rich content and background information relating to the people, organisations, events and places that are mentioned. Each document links to the home institution as well as to a collection description on the EHRI portal.

EHRI partners, fellows, other institutions and researchers are very welcome to participate and experiment with these new storytelling methods on their own documents.

Here are some of the approaches that we have experimented with so far:

Digital storytelling and locating documents on a map

The first EHRI Document Blog post was called Reports from the No Man's Land. It located documents on a map and told the story of the fate refugees faced when caught between different European states in 1938. The blog uses several documents to reconstruct the events and has an interactive map that helps visualise where the interconnected events took place.

Annotating scanned pages

Our second blog post was based on the death certificate of Gabriel Frankl issued in the Terezín Ghetto. This time we experimented with annotating a scanned page, using the document as a layer instead of a map. The annotations help the user decipher the individual fields of the form. This allows them to find background information about the person on the death certificate as well as the context surrounding the Terezín Ghetto.

Timeline and visualisation on a map

Another blog post dealt with the early testimony (and other subsequent testimonies) of Valerie Straussová, a concentration and labour camp survivor, who gave several accounts of her persecution over a period of decades. As well as telling her story it also gives an insight into the different documentation initiatives after WWII. To visualise the survivor’s fate through the different ghettos, concentration and labour camps the blog post included a timeline to supplement the map.

Mapping correspondence

The correspondence of Hans Frank, a young Czech Jew who lived in exile in Denmark where he was preparing for aliyah was the basis of our fourth blog post. This time we have used the map to experiment with showing where letters were being sent from and to, and the links they represented between the countries and family members and friends.

Visit the EHRI Document Blog

Image: Postcard by Herbert Schnitzer addressed to Hans Frank, © Archive Jewish Museum in Prague