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European Union launches first continental project for Holocaust studies

Brussels, 16 November 2010: Today the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure was officially launched under the patronage of Council President Herman Van Rompuy. EHRI - the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure - is ensuring highest standards for research of continental history. With seven million Euro funding from the European Union and 20 partner organizations out of 13 countries it is to date the most important European research project about the tragedy of the Holocaust. In the coming four years researchers will build up a unique database combining now dispersed archives around Europe. Researchers, but also teachers and students are going to use this immense source about the history of modern Europe.

Access to Archives - Connecting Collections

Special attention will be paid to education and outreach by ensuring the online availability and maximum open access to Holocaust material as documents, objects, photo’s, film and art for the larger public. According to Dr. Conny Kristel, director of EHRI, ‘this joint effort of highly respected institutes worldwide, is about giving access to archives and connecting collections. In this way many more researchers but also the public at large, will profit from and contribute a higher level of Holocaust knowledge and awareness’.

As such, the project will make an essential contribution to the ability of (non-governmental) organizations, teachers and individual citizens to make new generations aware of what happened.

Consortium

The EHRI partners are research institutions, libraries, archives, museums and memorial sites. They are based in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom. Their scientists will join forces and transform the dispersed data available for Holocaust research around Europe, Israel and elsewhere into a cohesive corpus of resources. A focus will be put on Eastern Europe were the vast majority of Holocaust victims lived.

Virtual Research Environment

EHRI will design and implement a Virtual Research Environment offering online access to archives and to a number of tools to work with them. Scholars involved are not only trained historians and political and social scientists but also archivists and digital research infrastructure specialists. EHRI will be an example and forerunner for digital research in a wide range of new disciplines in historical research and archival practices. The project is coordinated by NIOD, the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide studies in Amsterdam.

Anniversary

This year the world commemorates the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi death camp, which has become the symbol of the Holocaust and the destruction of European Jewry. The tragedy of the Holocaust led to the killing of over six million Jews in Europe.

About EHRI:

• EHRI is about access to archives and connecting collections.

• EHRI’s infrastructure will be ‘the cloud’ for Holocaust research, its users are ‘the crowd’.

• EHRI will democratize Holocaust research: getting the public engaged is getting research results.

• EHRI wants to give the entire Holocaust a face, by making local history available all over Europe.

• EHRI shows people how to find their way in Holocaust collections, it is not another digital library.

• Special attention will be paid to education and outreach by stimulating open access to Holocaust material for the public. As such, the project will make an essential contribution to the ability of (non-governmental) organizations, teachers and individual citizens to make new generations aware of what happened.

• EHRI will give access to the dispersed archives. EHRI develops online tools to integrate data and information. In this way, EHRI will attain unprecedented levels of collaborative research in the humanities and digital history. EHRI will develop and test new methodologies, address new research topics, and reach new, more precise conclusions, covering significantly more historical data and locations.

• The EHRI-project will also stimulate and facilitate research into relatively unknown aspects of the Holocaust. This entails special attention to Eastern Europe, since the vast majority of Holocaust victims lived in Eastern Europe.

• The EHRI consortium consists of 20 partners from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom.

• EU Financial contribution: 7 million Euro

• Funding scheme (FP7):  Combination of Collaborative Projects and Coordination and Support Actions (CP-CSA)

• Duration: 48 months.

• Coordinator: NIOD. Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam, Dr. Conny Kristel.

The EHRI consortium

• NIOD-KNAW. Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Netherlands, coordinator)

• CEGES-SOMA (Belgium)

• Zidovske Muzeum v Praze (Czech Republic)

• Institut für Zeitgeschichte (Germany)

• Yad Vashem. The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority (Israel)

• The Wiener Library Institute of Contemporary History (UK)

• Holocaust Dokumentacios Kozpont Es Emlekgyujtemeny Kozalapitvany (Hungary)

• Senter for studier av Holocaust og livssynsminoriteter (Norway)

• Kansallisarkisto (Finland)

• Zydowski Instytut Historyczny Im. Emanuela Ringelbluma (Poland)

• King’s College London (UK)

• Georg August Universitaet Goettingen Stiftung Oeffentlichen Rechts (Germany)

• Athena Research and Innovation Center in Information Communication & Knowledge Technologies (Greece)

• DANS-KNAW. Data Archiving and Networked Services (Netherlands)

•Memorial de la Shoah (France)

• Internationaler Suchdienst (Germany)

• Stiftung Denkmal für die Ermordeten Juden Europas (Germany)

• Památnik Terezin (Czech Republic)

• Beit Theresienstadt (Israel)

• Wiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocaust Studien (Austria)

More information on the web: www.ehri-project.eu

More information on EU support to research infrastructures: ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures

Contact for the press:

Herman Nieuwenhuis
EHRI
+31 6 53 58 60 57
herman@topiq.com

Florian Frank
EUROPEAN COMMISSION> DG Research
+32 2 299 79 34
+32 476 04 20 44
www.ec.europa.eu/research
florian.frank@ec.europa.eu