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EHRI: Unveiling of a New Holocaust Research Portal

Materials related to the Holocaust lie scattered across the world in archives, museums and memorials. In light of the fact that soon there will be no remaining survivors to give testimony about their years of persecution, this loss will need to be at least partially compensated for through new networks and research structures. As of now, researchers will have access to a new tool: the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure’s (EHRI’s) online portal. The EHRI Archival Portal provides access to Holocaust-related archival materials held in more than 50 countries. Robert-Jan Smits, General Director of the European Union’s General Directorate for Research and Innovation, presented this new virtual research environment on 26th March 2015 at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities at the EHRI-1 project’s grand closing ceremony.

Democratization of Knowledge

The EHRI Archival Portal includes information on more than 1,800 Holocaust-related institutions and contains detailed descriptions of a large number of archival holdings. Dr. Conny Kristel, project coordinator of EHRI, sees not only a scholarly benefit to the improved access to these resources, but also emphasizes its value to society: “The EHRI Archival Portal can play an important role in democratizing access to information about the Holocaust.” In the light of current developments in Europe, one objective is to sharpen the awareness that the past must not be repeated.

The Role of the ITS in the EHRI Network

Dr. Christian Groh, head of the ITS Archives Branch, and Jörn-Hendrik Kischlat, head of the ITS Archival Cataloguing Department, participated in the EHRI presentation on behalf of the Archives Branch of the International Tracing Service . The ITS is one of twenty research facilities, libraries, archives and museums which have in recent years worked toward improving both access to and networking their collections in order to provide a broader basis for Holocaust research through improved knowledge of sources and archival holdings. In turn the ITS has also profited from its experiences in EHRI and from the exchange of information. The EHRI projects have been and will continue to be sponsored by the European Union (EU).

Information on all EHRI Projects and Partners

Five years after the founding of EHRI, the event in Berlin offered over 200 guests from the realms of politics and academe the opportunity to learn more about the achievements of this forum. Besides the development of the online portal, the most notable of these are the conferences, expert meetings, summer schools and online courses with which EHRI fosters a multinational network for Holocaust research. Furthermore, EHRI will help to shape the future of Holocaust research. The EHRI-2 project, which was approved by the EU in 2014, provides for the expansion of the online portal, towards which the ITS will collaborate by working on at least two Work Packages. This event also offered all EHRI partners the opportunity to introduce their institutions and the focal areas of their work.

The new online portal can be found at: portal.ehri-project.eu