Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday: A look at Session 1

Elliot Gertel moderated the session entitled "Documenting the Holocaust."

Robert Rozett presented on the subject of "Trends in the Publication of Books about the Holocaust from 2000-2007." Yad Vashem collects books on the Holocaust, but finds it difficult to collect articles - as they are often difficult to locate. The Yad Vashem possesses more than 115,000 titles and collects about 3,000 titles annually. The Yad Vashem Library collects widely, as opposed to the Archives. The Library is open to the public and circulates to Israeli residents. A wide range of individuals utilize the Library, from 12 year old students learning about family history to scholars and everyone in between. The Library catalog will hopefully be going online shortly (definitely something to look forward to).

The second presentation in this session was delivered by Michlean Amir of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her talk entitled: "The Opening of the Red Cross International Tracing Service Archive: What Does it Contain and What Does Access to It Mean for Scholars and Family Researchers?" Michelan noted that there are over 100 million images in the archives of the ITC, which began in 1947. The ITC collected material that would enable people to trace individuals-- which would later be advantageous when applying for restitution funds. Eleven countries including Israel have been involved in this initiative, while there has been 60 years of limited access. The backlog for requests in 2006 numbered in the hundreds of thousands, often with response times of over 1 year. Jewish Gen went to Bad Arolsen in May to see the records and record keeping first-hand. There were no trained librarians or archivists on staff. Technological and other challenges remain- including the method in which the collection will be organized.

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