Helping ensure full and open access to archival Holocaust collections by increasing awareness, creating a forum for cooperation, and establishing guidelines to help those working in and using archives.

About our work

Launched in 2020, the IHRA’s Monitoring Access to Holocaust Collections Project is addressing:

  • Legal and practical barriers to accessing archival Holocaust collections
  • How policy and decision makers can improve access and what the IHRA can do to help
  • How to improve awareness of the importance of open access to archives among the media and researchers

What we’ve learned so far

How key learnings have been fed back into our approach

There is no institution that holds all records or that has the expertise on all the sources.

Building partnerships and strengthening networks is key to adequately preserving, describing, and opening up the records on the Holocaust.

We have presented at archival conferences like those hosted by EBNA/EAG and ICA.

Access depends on cooperation between the political, juridical, and expert (archivist/researcher) levels.

We are drafting recommendations that will help them work better together.

The lack of a unified definition of “Holocaust-related materials” made it hard for archivists to help researchers access material.

We developed Guidelines to help.

EU countries are not implementing Recital 158 of the GDPR, which would allow them to grant researchers access to material on the Holocaust and other gross human rights violations even if it contains personal data.

We have developed FAQs to help policymakers implement this in their country’s legislation.

Heads of archives know their collections better than anyone else and are key partners in helping advance access.

We have involved heads of archives in our project team and have consulted with archival networks.

Tools we’ve developed

As we’ve learned about challenges, our Project has developed resources to help overcome them.

Guidelines for Identifying Relevant Documentation for Holocaust Research, Education and Remembrance

Narrow definitions of Holocaust-related materials can stand in the way of open access – and of fostering a world that remembers the Holocaust. The IHRA’s Guidelines can help archives and researchers change that.

FAQs: Data Protection Regulations and Archival Access to Holocaust Collections

These FAQs help policymakers start discussions with other stakeholders, such as data protection officers and heads of archives in their countries, on open access to Holocaust documentation as it relates to the GDPR.

Recent activities

Meet the Project team

The Project’s work is carried out by an international and interdisciplinary team of experts:

Veerle Vanden Daelen (AWG/Belgium, Project Chair), Micaela Procaccia (MMWG/Italy, Deputy Project Chair), David Matas (Canada), Wesley Fisher (Claims Conference), Margarida Lages (Portugal), Nevena Bajalica (MMWG/Serbia), Rebecca Boehling (USHMM/USA), Anat Bratman-Elhalel (MMWG/Israel), Masha Pollak Rozenberg (AWG/Israel), Naida-Michal Brandl (AWG/Croatia), Haim Gertner (Yad Vashem/Israel), and Michael Hollmann (EBNA/Germany).

The Project is also working closely with the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI), the European Board of National Archivists (EBNA), the European Archives Group (EAG), and the International Council of Archives (ICA).

Its work builds off of the Access to Archives IHRA Project, which ran from 2012–2015.