16 November 2010
A project to connect Holocaust-related documents throughout Europe has been launched in Brussels at a ceremony sponsored by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and attended by senior EU officials, Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI ), a four-year, US$ 9.5 million project funded by the European Union together with 20 partner organizations from 13 countries, will be a source of information for researchers and educators around the world. It has already been hailed as the most important project in the study of the Holocaust in the coming years.
“The establishment of EHRI is especially important as different historical narratives are competing in Europe,” said Shalev. Yad Vashem is one of the project partners. “Through EHRI, Europe is stating its understanding that the Holocaust has unique standing in the joint European historical narrative. The nature of the events of the Holocaust, and the chaotic state of Europe in the immediate post-war, coupled with the Nazis’ effort to destroy not only the Jewish people, but all memory of them, has meant that information about the Holocaust is spread all over the world,” Shalev said. “In order to be able to begin to piece together what happened, information that is located in numerous archives throughout Europe must be connected. EHRI will facilitate research into the Holocaust and help us further piece together what happened, when and to whom,” he added.
Working projects will focus on creating a shared thesaurus of 5,000 keywords, allowing unified searches across collections that contain millions of documents in numerous languages, and encouraging research by creating a network among experts in Holocaust-related fields through forums to explore cooperation in names recovery, Holocaust art, identifying photos from the Holocaust period and more. Other aspects of the project will deal with information technologies, access and scholarship for researchers to study at Yad Vashem and at other archives.
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