New Yiddish Documents Added to the EHRI Online Edition "Early Holocaust Testimony"

Yiddish Early Holocaust Testimony
Monday, 18 March, 2024

Last month, EHRI has launched a new series of survivors’ testimonies recorded before 1960. The second EHRI Online Edition, the Early Holocaust Testimony, has been expanded by these unique documents written in the Yiddish language. Users can follow both versions – the nowadays rarely used and studied Yiddish original and the English translation – to explore the early memories of the Holocaust across Europe, like in this testimony of a 15-year-old Jewish boy describing the German invasion of Wyszków:

“There was a loud lament in the prayer house – women were crying, men were saying the deathbed confessional prayers. The shooting lasted from 5 p.m. until around 2 a.m. A German scout, alone on a horse, arrived in town and stopped on the corner of Kościuszko and Wąska Streets, by the police station. That was around 10 p.m. We looked out through a crack [in the shutter], and by the light of the conflagration we saw the German. Around 2 a.m. it became calmer and we ran, keeping close to the walls, to our house, which was still undamaged. In the middle of the night my father made kiddush the Sabbath blessing over wine, although it was dark; we ate a symbolic portion of food and said the end-of-meal blessing. Shooting could still be heard in the distance.”

Perception of silence

Focus on the early documentation questioned the widespread perception of silence after the Holocaust. Early documentation, however, manifested the extraordinary attempt of the Jewish survivors and activists to perceive the community's memory immediately after the end of World War II. At the same time, it is an important subject which aligns with EHRI’s critical approach to Holocaust sources and their provenance, as well as its focus on “victims’” documents.


Out of the estimated 18,000 early evidence on the persecution, the Early Holocaust Testimony Edition initially offered 89 carefully selected and edited documents from various countries and archives. One of the most significant advantages of digital publications – as the other five EHRI Online Editions are - lies in the possibility of extending its content gradually. From today, users can access a new series of 36 unique documents recorded in Yiddish.

You are welcome to learn more about the new Yiddish documents recently added to the Early Holocaust Testimony.

See also other EHRI Online Editions:

BeGrenzte Flucht (in German)

Early Holocaust Testimony

Diplomatic Reports

Von Wien ins Nirgendwo: Die Nisko-Deportationen 1939 (in German)

Uzavřít hranice! Rakouští uprchlíci do Československa v roce 1938 (in Czech)

Image: Document "A fifteen-year-old youth, on the German invasion of Wyszków and surrounding areas",  from the EHRI Digital Edition Early Holocaust  Testimony.