EHRIEuropean Holocaust Research Infrastructure


Dr. Reto Speck
Herengracht 380, 1016 CJ Amsterdam
NIOD-KNAW, DANS-KNAW, University of Amsterdam and 24 European partners

EHRI supports the Holocaust research community. It provides access to dispersed Holocaust sources, and to tools that enable researchers to collaboratively work with such sources. It seeks to overcome one of the hallmark challenges of Holocaust research - the wide dispersal of sources across Europe and beyond, and the related fragmentation of Holocaust historiography.
The access provided through EHRI is vital for the innovation of Holocaust Studies and for the training of scholars. EHRI's training and user support programmes enable the next generation of researchers and collection specialists to acquire the skills they need to excel in the digital world. By facilitating an extensive network of researchers and archivists, EHRI initiates new transnational and collaborative approaches to the study of the Holocaust. The development of innovative approaches to working with digital content facilitates the processing of large amounts of data, which is conducive for new, enhanced research.

EHRI has been developed since 2010 via two EU-funded Integrating Activities that have brought together the leading Holocaust RIs from 15 European countries, as well as Israel and the United States. EHRI was included in the ESFRI Roadmap 2018, and is thus earmarked for implementation as a long-term distributed European RI. The Netherlands is leading EHRI with NIOD co-ordinating the consortium. It is planned that the Netherlands will host the central hub of the permanent EHRI RI.
EHRI’s mission is to advance scientific enquiry into, and commemoration of, the Holocaust by developing a state-of-the-art RI. EHRI addresses the two grand challenges facing research: the enormous dispersal of relevant archival source material across Europe and beyond, and the uneven capacity of Holocaust RIs.
EHRI’s approach to tackle these challenges is based on four pillars: (i) enabling virtual and physical access by integrating information about dispersed Holocaust sources in an online environment, and by offering trans-national access to the major RIs; (ii) fostering innovation by training the next generation of researchers and archivists, and by inspiring methodological advancements through inter-disciplinary exchange; (iii) evening-out capacity gaps by fostering the exchange of knowledge and resources between large-scale Holocaust RIs and smaller players; and (iv) supporting open science and the democratisation of knowledge by following an open standards, methods and access paradigm, and by amplifying the public resonance of Holocaust research.
EHRI’s scientific impact is, first of all, upon the inter-disciplinary field of Holocaust Studies. EHRI provides researchers with integrated online access to widely dispersed Holocaust archives. To date it has integrated information from more than 2,100 archives that hold Holocaust-related collections, and more than 300,000 detailed archival descriptions. It further provides training opportunities; physical access to the most important Holocaust RIs through a fellowship progamme; as well as access to digital tools for the analysis of large Holocaust collections. Thereby, EHRI enables the study of the Holocaust from trans-national perspectives, encourages collaborative and comparative research, and supports the commemoration of the Holocaust as a shared European experience. It further increases the visibility of local, peripheral and hidden archives, thereby facilitating micro-historical investigations.
Secondly, EHRI influences the development of other areas of contemporary history. The considerable infrastructural and methodological expertise EHRI has developed is applicable to the archival documentation pertaining to related contexts, and EHRI has established relationships with archivists and researchers working in fields such as Nazi crimes against non-Jewish victim groups, War Studies, Genocide Studies, etc.
Thirdly, EHRI encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between Holocaust researchers, archivists, digital humanists and computer scientists. This collaborative model has become a showcase for humanities research in general. EHRI is widely recognised for its success in crossing national and disciplinary boundaries. It exemplifies how large-scale international initiatives can advance the humanities and social science research agenda in the 21st century.
Finally, EHRI’s work possess significant innovation potential. In particular, its innovative approach to integrating dispersed, multi-lingual data has attracted interest from a wide variety of institutions facing the challenge of how to integrate their heterogeneous data stores. Likewise, its methodological work in areas such as text and spatial analysis, or open big data methods applied to large-scale Holocaust datasets has the potential to significantly influence the digital transformation of humanities research in general.

Aansluiting bij strategische ontwikkelingen
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