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Pan-European Holocaust Archive Portal Launched Today

EHRI Project maps more than 1800 institutions in Europe and Israel that contain Holocaust Documentation

26 March 2015

Holocaust research project EHRI to be expanded with 8 million euro funding under Horizon2020

European/Israeli consortium expands to Eastern Europe and US

Today, a special event took place in Berlin launching the EHRI Portal. This portal contains information on more than 1,800 Holocaust-related archival institutions in 51 countries, and descriptions of tens of thousands of archival materials. Starting out in 2010 as an EC-financed initiative, researchers in 20 institutions in Europe and Israel worked together to make archives accessible and to connect collections. Yad Vashem has been a leading partner in the project since its inception.

Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission, announced today at the presentation of the EHRI portal in Berlin, that this international Holocaust-project will be expanded. The EU has decided to support the next phase of EHRI work with 8 million euro of funding under Horizon2020.

In 2010, twenty institutions in Europe and Israel joined forces to create EHRI, the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure. Over the past few years, EHRI has transformed the dispersed data available for Holocaust research around Europe and elsewhere into a cohesive corpus of resources. By mapping and integrating key collections they have enabled historiographical progress and stimulate collaborative research in this important area of European and world history.

In addition to the portal, EHRI has built an international community of researchers who have created a people-to-people network that enhances the exchange of ideas, new information and a multi-disciplinary approach to Holocaust documentation, and stimulates and enables research, contributes to the strengthening of local community consciousness, and offers educational opportunities at a local level.

"I see this as an historic landmark in European mobilization; specifically at a time when we are witnessing a struggle between different narratives of memory, Europe is giving the Holocaust a unique position within the common European historical narrative",remarked Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.

International historical research into the Holocaust and its impact as an European phenomenon has to be continued, according to the EU. In the second phase, EHRI will consolidate its existing position and expand it to other countries. The new consortium will enable EHRI to reach those regions where much valuable Holocaust source material is located, but where access has hitherto been problematic, especially in Southeastern and Eastern Europe.

Today in Berlin, Robert-Jan Smits launched the Portal together with Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and Sander Dekker, the Dutch State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science. Director-General Robert-Jan Smits said: "EHRI's impressive work has given invaluable support to Holocaust researchers. I am delighted that under Horizon 2020 the project will even expand its scope during the second phase. It will continue to be a 'best practice' model for other humanities projects in its innovative approach not only as regards data integration, management and retrieval, but also as outreach to society."

Director of the Yad Vashem Archives Dr. Haim Gertner, who participated in the event in Berlin, points out that: "One of the achievements of the project is the confirmation of the project's continuation for four more years. 22 organizations from 15 countries will participate in the ongoing project, with Yad Vashem continuing to play a leading and central role in the management of the project."

EHRI was financed under the EU 7th Framework Programme and coordinated by NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam. EHRI will continue in the second phase of the project, starting in May 2015 and working with EU funding of €8 million from Horizon 2020, the EU's current research and innovation funding program.

The Polish Centre for Holocaust Research and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC have joined the consortium. Like Yad Vashem, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is active in collecting and preserving Holocaust collections, and in making them accessible for research. It will become an essential part of the consortium with its extensive copies of Holocaust-related collections, gathered from many different regions in Europe.

To use the EHRI portal please visit https://portal.ehri-project.eu/