Arolsen Archives awarded prestigious European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award

The Arolsen Archives were awarded the prestigious European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award on 9 May 2020. The award recognizes organizations and individuals exemplifying best practices related to heritage conservation, research, management, volunteering, education and communication. The Arolsen Archives, an IHRA Permanent International Partner (PIP), was honored in the Education, Training and Awareness-Raising category for its online archive and e-Guide, which provides users from all over the world with easy access to the largest collection of material on the victims and survivors of the Nazi regime. Currently covering 17.5 million people, the online archive is continuously growing.

From a press release from Europa Nostra: 

This portal has provided users with easy online access to the documents for the very first time. A digital aid, the e-Guide, gives users the information they need in order to understand the archival records. The new online archive was initiated and funded by the Arolsen Archives and implemented with support from Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel. 

Building on decades spent digitizing the Arolsen Archives’ collections and indexing the names, this joint awareness-raising project utilizes Yad Vashem’s state-of-the-art technology for fast data management and extended place and name search. At its launch in May 2019, users could already access 13 million documents online and search some 3 million names. The online archive is growing all the time. 

The interactive archive allows users to add comments to discussions and contribute their knowledge to augment the archival information. The online archive also harnesses the resources of the entire community to correct mistakes and fill in the gaps in the Arolsen Archives’ documentation. 

“The internationally recognized Arolsen Archives are of immense importance. The wealth of documentation adds to the global knowledge of the victims and survivors of Nazi persecution and makes the crimes transparent. The success of this awareness-raising project is in digitizing around 30 million documents and providing open access. Collaborative work with other institutions around the world has further enriched their database. The metadata vocabulary allows users to easily search through this immense amount of information and the dialogue interface enables interaction between users,” the jury explained in their statement. “The archive has recorded an impressive number of users of the portal and has included parallel activities in education and awareness-raising.” 

Image Caption: More than 13 million documents on the victims of Nazi persecution: the new online archive of the Arolsen Archives. Copyright: Arolsen Archives