The Jewish Historical Institute cooperates with many notable and respected institutions around the world. One of these is EHRI — European Holocaust Research Infrastructure.
The EHRI project was launched as a European Union initiative, and financed through EU funds dedicated to supporting collaborative research. The first meeting took place in the fall of 2008 in Brussels. Scientific institutions, national archives, museums and organizations dedicated to commemorating the victims of the Holocaust were invited to join. EHRI’s inauguration took place in November 2010 in Brussels. The project was intended to last 4 years but was later extended by 4 extra months (until March 2015). 20 organizations, mainly from the EU but also from Israel and Norway (the JHI was the only Polish institution to participate), took part in the project. The NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam (part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) took on the task of coordinating and dealing with the organizational and financial aspects of the project.
EHRI serves as a consortium, of sorts, for organizations, museums and places of remembrance. Its motto is “Connecting collections”. The goal is identifying sources relating to the Holocaust and creating an online catalogue. Summer Schools are organized as part of the project. Additionally EHRI provides month, and two-month long scholarships to support research in some of the organizations participating in the project.
The tasks in the project are divided into work packages, Michał Czajka and Monika Taras (before going on maternity leave) from the JHI’s Archives represented the Institute in the WP15 (“Identification and Investigation”) team and Magdalena Siek participated in the WP3 („Access, Privacy and Copyright Policies”) team.
Our task as part of WP15 was creating an index detailing the resources of Eastern European institutions whose collections relate to the Holocaust, and an index of these institution’s archives.
The results of the EHRI project can be viewed online. The portal includes 3 main sections: information on individual countries, information on the institutions (mainly archives) possessing documents relating to the Holocaust, and archival descriptions. The organizational sections of the website are available in four languages (English, French, German and Polish) and the information on the 57 countries and 1892 institutions is available in English. Since the 152 692 archival descriptions were collected from many sources, this part of the website includes 13 different languages, with Polish being the second most used language after English, due to the large number of documents in Polish archives.
Currently, the JHI actively participates in two components: EHRI-3 and EHRI-PP.
EHRI-3 is the latest edition of the EHRI grant. The Jewish Historical Institute participates in the work on translating the knowledge acquired during the first and second editions to a supranational level and co-creates contents concerning issues of anti-Semitism, racism and the challenges of education about the Holocaust as part of comparative genocide studies.
EHRI-PP – the JHI participates in the works of the team appointed to create – in place of regular grants – a permanent international research and education institution (based in Amsterdam: NIOD – Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies). The project will continue until December 2021.