Amsterdam/Budapest, 26 November 2012. Early documentations of the Holocaust remain to determine how we look at mass destruction of European Jews during the Second World War. Who compiled the first data and document collections and to what purpose did they do this? To be able to determine the historical value of all source materials that are being kept in European archives and documentation centres, it is important to research why, how and under what political conditions these documentary initiatives were initiated. This will be the core issue for the researchers in both Vienna and Budapest at the end of 2012, covering the first attempts to record the Holocaust in a time when Holocaust had no name at all.
The project EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure), coordinated by the NIOD, aims to connect collections and archives throughout the world on the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis.
EHRI connects Holocaust-related collections and archives in Europa, but also other parts of the world. Twenty organizations in 13 countries have been cooperating for two years already in a mutual attempt to make searchable online huge amounts of data, documents, archives and collections. With this aim EHRI collects systematic data about all kinds of archives that hold material on the Holocaust and stores these data in a data repository. For 42 countries so far reports have been drafted with concise information on the history of the Holocaust and the condition of the archives in these countries. These reports will be made publicly available on the internet soon.
In 2011 a first draft of the EHRI-thesaurus was developed. This thesaurus consist of the most important keywords, names of organizations and persons and enables researchers to quickly get a broad overview of all available relevant information. The first 12 EHRI fellows have already done research in one of the specialized institutes that participate in this European project: the German Institut für Zeitgeschichte, the French Mémorial de la Shoah, the Jewish Museum in the Czech Republic, NIOD and Yad Vashem in Israel.
EHRI is financed by the Seventh Framework of the European Union and is coordinated by the NIOD. EHRI is an important scientific project because a pan-European network of Holocaust archives and research institutes is constituted. it shows that also in the humanities digital infrastructures can be built for collecting, opening up and preserving research materials.
The EHRI-workshop is organized in cooperation with the more encompassing conference Before the Holocaust had its name. Early confrontations of the Nazi mass murder of the Jews of the Vienese Wiesenthal-Institute for Holocaust Research. This conference takes place in Vienna from 29 November to 1 December 2012.