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Oorlog voor de Rechter (War in Court)

The Central Archive for Special Jurisdiction (Centraal Archief Bijzondere Rechtspleging, CABR), the largest war archive in the Netherlands, is being digitised and made accessible to a wide audience. With that ambitious aim, the War in Court (Oorlog voor de Rechter) project has started.

Four organisations are joining forces to digitise the Central Archive for Special Jurisdiction (CABR) and make the digitised archival documents readable and searchable using artificial intelligence. The CABR will be open to the public from 2025, with the first files being made available at GDPR privacy rules apply, which means that some documents will not be available online yet.

A joint project

War in Court is a joint project by the National Archives of the Netherlands, Netwerk Oorlogsbronnen, the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Archival documents from the CABR are expected to be digitised at an average rate of 152,000 scans per week. Artificial intelligence will then be used to make everything digitally readable and searchable. To enhance understanding of the CABR documents and place them in a wider context, they will be enriched with background information. Reference will also be made to sources that address the same subject from other CABR collections.

During the project, the parties involved will discuss the handling of personal data with interest groups. Having the opportunity to search the CABR archives will provide new insights into events during the Second World War in all their diversity, from different perspectives. The project will run until 2027.

The Central Archive for Special Jurisdiction 

The CABR contains the files of around 300,000 individuals who were suspected of collaborating with the Germans. The contents of the files, nearly 4 km of them, include witness reports, NSB membership cards, diaries, petitions for pardons, and sometimes photos. Most of the suspects were found to be innocent. Twenty per cent of them were eventually convicted by a special court or tribunal, of whom almost 1,900 were jailed for ten years or more. 

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