EHRI searches for micro-archives
European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) continues to broaden its scope. Starting this year, a major focus will be to create opportunities for cooperation with micro-archival entities and the integration of their collections to the research infrastructure.
EHRI has made great strides by working with large-scale institutions. Yet, we have always been aware that to cover the material legacy of the Holocaust, we need to incorporate the abundant material in smaller archival collections.
Since its inception in 2010, EHRI has been enabling and encouraging scholarly research on the Holocaust along transnational lines. EHRI’s focus has been to integrate archival descriptions from institutions all over the European continent, Israel and the United States. This resulted in the establishment of the EHRI Portal, which to date provides an integrated search across 325.474 archival descriptions from 761 institutions.
EHRI and micro-archives
The interest in hidden archival collections outside larger institutions has grown steadily over thepast years. Researchers are interested in discovering first-hand information that can shed new light on historical events. Moreover, holdings of smaller grass-roots organisations or private initiatives can complement, refine and critically scrutinize specific narratives of the past.
In the context of our project, a micro-archive is:
- an association, a memorial, a grassroots initiative, a very small archival institution, a researcher, a relative or a family;
- a private initiative that is not run by local authorities or by the state, but by non-professional curators, i.e. engaged researchers or lay persons (not archivists, librarians, curators or the like);
- not a recipient of any substantial support from public means.
Of course, the holdings of the micro-archives also need to be relevant to EHRI, for instance:
- lists, cards, files, interviews, photographs, films, or letters related to the Holocaust;
- collections assembled during the Holocaust and/or after liberation, also if recently;
- collections should not have been integrated into larger archives yet.
Micro-archival collections that have found their way into other archives or memorial institutions, or have even developed into an institution are not micro-archives as we understand them.
If the information above applies to a micro-archive you are familiar with, we would be glad to be in contact with you to explore possibilities for further cooperation.
How can EHRI assist micro-archives?
Many institutions holding collections related to the Holocaust work with a similar mission: to preserve the material legacy as a testimony for current and future generations about this dark period of history, to remember the victims, and to caution about the atrocities humans are capable of committing.
To support this global endeavour, it has been EHRI’s goal to assist archives throughout Europe and the world in making important records accessible. EHRI provides an easy to search digital platform to swiftly find archival collections located in different locations. We aim at increasing the scientificaudience and public interest in these important archival collections, as well as at integrating additional archival data in order to make the links between the documents visible, and to enrich
the stories these sources can tell.
The past decade has shown us that the archival and technical expertise among institutions varies a lot, therefore, close cooperation and learning from each other has been the foundation of EHRI’s activities. We would be glad to apply our knowledge around digital collection integration to your micro-archival collection and invite you to become part of the EHRI network by integrating your micro-archival collection into our portal. Together, we can develop and apply strategies to safeguard your collection(s) for future generations and make them accessible to researchers and the public at large.
Get in touch !
If your archival collection – or someone else’s collection you are aware of – applies to our definition of a micro-archive and the collection relates to the Holocaust, we would like to hear from you!
Please contact us via email@example.com with:
- a brief description of the archival initiative you are either part of or know about;
- some information on the history of the collection, profile, scope (a historical event, a family’s biography, faith of a community, etc.) and scale of the collection (types and number of documents);
- if relevant: an explanation of the archival and/or technical structure that has been applied, such as the descriptive standard (e.g. IASD(G) or EAD);
- your contact information.
Let us know how to be in touch (email, phone, postal mail) and you can expect a message from our side soon!