Documents from the Yad Vashem Archives
The online catalogue of documents from the Yad Vashem Archives contains descriptions of over 80 original collections (record groups) from the corpus of documentation found in the Archives. These collections were compiled by Jewish organizations and public figures that were active during the Shoah and before it, as well as individuals, mainly Jews who lived during this period in occupied Europe.
Among the collections are testimonies that were taken from Shoah survivors in the first years after WWII. This concentrated collection effort was made by the Historical Commissions and other bodies that were active in the displaced persons (DP) camps and other locations where survivors converged after the Shoah, as well as individuals who took upon themselves this mission. Examples of this type of documentation include the Koniuchowsky Testimonies Collection, comprising about 170 testimonies on the murder of Jews in Lithuania; the G. Mecker "Forward" Collection containing hundreds of letters and telegrams sent to the New York daily Yiddish newspaper, "The Forward", during and immediately following WWII, in which were requests to find relatives; and the Borwicz Collection, consisting of hundreds of testimonies collected by the Historical Commission in Poland in 1945-1947.
Principles of the organization of documentation in the Archives
The record groups in the database are organized according to various criteria: geographical places (country names), topics and the creators of collections.
- In record groups arranged by geographic location, such as Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, the Netherlands, etc., can be found documentation created or collected by Jewish communities in these countries during and before the Shoah, alongside personal documents of Shoah survivors and their families who lived in these countries during this period.
- Examples of record groups arranged by topic are collections of poems and folklore, including poems written during the Shoah in ghettos, camps and in hiding, as well as by Shoah survivors.
- Record groups arranged by creator were compiled by a single institution, organization or personality and reflect their activity during the period. Examples of these record groups are Joodse Raad (Jewish Council), Friesland, the Netherlands; The Bialystok Ghetto Underground Archives (Mersik-Tennenbaum Archives); Dr. I. Schwarzbart, Member of the Polish National Council in Exile Archive, London; A. Silberschein (Relico) Archives, Geneva; and more.
Three exceptions are collections created by non-Jewish bodies: NSDAP [Nazi Party] Palestine (R3); NSDAP - Vienna Political District (Gau Wien) (R2); and People's Court in Bulgaria, Sofia 1945 (war crimes trials) (TR 6).
Click here for a list of Archive Record Groups.