A gateway to our memory: the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure opens its online portal

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A gateway to our memory: the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure opens its online portal

Brussels, 26 March 2015

The EU-funded project European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) unveiled today the result of its four-year work: an online portal that gives unprecedented access to dispersed Holocaust-related archives from Europe and beyond. These research sources, most of which have only been accessible at the institutions concerned, will now be available online to users around the world.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "The portal will significantly contribute to shedding light on this bleak chapter of our common history and to ensuring the Holocaust is never forgotten. It unifies dispersed information sources on the Holocaust in one place and makes it accessible to all researchers."

Working with a budget of €9.4 million (including an EU contribution of almost €8 million from FP7 – the EU's research funding programme for 2007-2013), the project started in October 2010. It presented its results at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities on 26 March 2015.

Robert-Jan Smits, the Director-General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission, unveiled the Portal together with Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and Sander Dekker, the Dutch State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science. He also announced that EHRI will continue in the second phase of the project, starting in May 2015 and working with EU funding of €8 million from Horizon 2020, the EU's current research and innovation programme.

Director-General Robert-Jan Smits said: "EHRI's impressive work has given invaluable support to Holocaust researchers. I am delighted that under Horizon 2020 the project will even expand its scope during the second phase. It will continue to be a 'best practice' model for other humanities projects in its innovative approach not only as regards data integration, management and retrieval, but also as outreach to society."

EHRI supports the Holocaust research community in many ways including through expert meetings, conferences, fellowships, summer schools and online courses. The EHRI portal provides an overview of the Second World War and Holocaust history as well as of the state of the archives in the participating countries – Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Finland, United Kingdom and Israel – and beyond. It allows scientists around the world to browse 57 national reports, 1 834 archival institutions in 50 countries, and 121 213 archival descriptions in 239 institutions.