Conny Kristel gives update of EHRI at ITF

Monday, 12 December, 2011

On 30 November 2011  Conny Kristel, Project Director of EHRI, and Haim Gertner, member of the EHRI Executive and Director Archives Division at Yad Vashem, gave a short presentation at a session of the Academic Workgroup of the Task Force for International Cooperation On Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF). During this fifteen  minute presentation Conny  Kristel gave an update of the EHRI project: what has been achieved during the first year and what is planned for the coming period. This presentation was a follow-up after  the general introduction of the  the EHRI project at the ITF meetings in Haifa in 2010.

The ITF held its plenary meetings in The Hague under the Netherlands Chairmanship of 2011. For four days, international experts and policy makers were meeting to discuss the Holocaust as a contemporary political issue. The unprecedented character of the Holocaust will always hold universal meaning and the currently 28 ITF member countries have pledged to strengthen their efforts to promote education, remembrance and research into  the Holocaust.

The Academic Working Group (AWG) was created in 2000. Every member country has a delegate in this group. Important issues for the AWG are the opening and accessibility of all Holocaust-related archives, collaboration with the Education Work Group and the support of new Holocaust research. Naturally EHRI falls under the attention.

After the presentation interested members asked several questions. One question involved the possibilities of digitization of Holocaust material with help of EHRI. The answer is that EHRI currently has no funds for digitization but plans to stimulate digitization programmes as much as possible.  Another recurring question is about who can take part in EHRI: for example a Canadian institution? EHRI  aims  to cast its future nets as wide as possible, but to begin with , the focus is on Europe.

Bringing EHRI to the attention of the ITF is very important. Another major aspect of such a conference is of course networking, according to Conny Kristel. You get a chance to meet with a lot of significant people, like Odd-Bjørn Fure, director of Norwegian EHRI partner HL-senteret, who will soon retire after a very successful career, or with dr. Brigitte Bailer, Director of Science at the Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes (DöW) and possibly a prospective associate.

Preceding the ITF meetings, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies held a successful side conference entitled ‘The Uses, Misuses and Abuses of the Holocaust Paradigm’.