New EHRI Online Course "Modern Diplomatics of the Holocaust"
In late August, the newest addition to the EHRI Online Courses was released. The Course “Modern Diplomatics of the Holocaust” was developed by EHRI-Partner Bundesarchiv with support of the Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) and offers an in depth introduction on how to read, contextualize and interpret German files which are relevant for Holocaust research. The course is addressed at archivists, researchers, students and everyone who is working with German archival records and wants to enlarge his source related knowledge and working methods.
The course consists of five different chapters. The first offers a brief introduction on the German administrative history, tradition and structure, while the second presents different approaches to modern diplomatics. It is supplemented by a presentation of the general rules for the course of business within German bureaucratic agencies, including several examples and various auxiliary materials which help to reconstruct the course of business of a given administration. The third chapter presents different sources and how they can be utilized for Holocaust research (i.e. written ministry papers, sources related to individuals, military records, files relating to “euthanasia” patients and documents related to the post-war juridical investigations and prosecutions of Nazi-crimes). The following chapter offers an overview on record groups, databases and tools relevant for Holocaust research within the Bundesarchiv. The course is complemented with a glossary for specific archival and diplomatic terms in the fifth chapter.
The chapters are composed of explanatory texts and complemented by video clips, audio explanations and a selection of representative documents.
The foundation for the course was laid during an EHRI Seminar on "Modern Diplomatics of the Holocaust" which was also organized and hosted by the Bundesarchiv in September 2016. Thanks to the efforts of the colleagues at the Bundesarchiv, especially Nicolai M. Zimmermann and Olga Goleta, the most useful and necessary information on Modern Diplomatics and their relevance for Holocaust research are now available online – and are a must for everyone working with German administrative files.
As of now, the course is only available in German. A translation to English is underway.