New EHRI Webinar | Encyclopedic Database Design for Digital Research Possibilities Nazi-Era Camps for Foreign Forced Laborers

USHMM Camps and Ghettos Encyclopedia
Thursday, 6 April, 2023

Webinar: Encyclopedic Database Design for Digital Research Possibilities and Challenges of Developing a Comprehensive Database of Nazi-Era Camps for Foreign Forced Laborers | 19 April 2023, 3:00 PM CET | On Zoom

This presentation will detail the scholarly goals as well as practical and methodological challenges of developing a large-scale encyclopedic database aimed at documenting the largest subset of Nazi-era camps, namely the more than 30,000 labor camps for foreign civilian forced laborers operating inside the 1942 borders of the Greater German Reich.

Designed as a born-digital research tool by an interdisciplinary project team at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Mandel Center, the database will also serve as an electronic companion to Volume 7 of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945: Camps for Foreign Forced Laborers. Thus, one of our team’s central challenges arises from our mandate to integrate the database with a traditional print reference work while using digital methods to collect and standardize historical data on a vastly increased scale. Whereas the print series synthesizes foundational information on the location, time and nature of operation, basic camp characteristics and inmate experiences into historical narratives, the database presents this information as carefully defined quantitative, qualitative, and temporal data extracted from primary and secondary sources that are frequently incomplete, ambiguous, or contradictory. 


Dr. Alexandra Lohse joined the Mandel Center in 2017 as an applied research scholar and editor of the forthcoming sixth volume of the Museum’s Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, on extermination, labor, and transit camps for Jews. In 2020, she started serving as series editor, coordinating the work of in-house and external researchers and volume editors to complete the Encyclopedia series.

Dr. Justus Hillebrand, contract database manager, 2021 History PhD University of Maine and author of "Integrative, Interdisciplinary Database Design for the Spatial Humanities: The Case of the Holocaust Ghettos", with Anne Kelly Knowles, Paul Jaskot, and Anika Walke in International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 14.1-2 (2020).

Rebecca M. Savelsberg, contract data enterer and analyst, and ABD in Political Science at University of Michigan.

Zoom details

Join our Zoom Meeting here on Wednesday 19 April at 3:00 PM CET:

Meeting ID: 869 2800 6850
Passcode: 669036