The Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Institute of contemporary Jewry, Archives
The Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry [ICJ] began collecting oral histories for the purposes of historical research in 1959, with the assistance of pioneering scholars such as Yehuda Bauer, Dov Levin and Haim Avni. These early interviews, covering a wide range of subjects and conducted according to highly professional standards, granted the ICJ the distinction of being the most important academic collection of oral documentation in Israel. Our collection of more than 10,000 interviews in 20 languages constitutes a unique treasure of Jewish memories whose importance cannot be underestimated. The collection includes testimonies on the Holocaust that were conducted in the early 1960s, when the reservoir of survivors (especially those who were adults during the war) was much larger and their memories less affected by the passage of time. Interviews were also conducted with key individuals involved in the Zionist movement, and other organizations such as the United Jewish Appeal, as well as with men and women who grew up under the British mandate in Palestine, under Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, or in various Jewish communities throughout the world.
The 900 Holocaust audio interviews and transcripts reflect the vast scope of oral histories collected by researchers which have been archived at the Oral History Division of the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They include interviews conducted in the early 1960s when the reservoir of survivors (especially those who were adults during the war) was much larger and for many survivors these interviews were the first time they had given an account of their experiences. The collection developed over the past 60 years as more research was undertaken by established and emerging scholars and questions relating to the experience of Jews under Nazism broadened. Thus, this collection not only gives voice to the experiences of individual survivors but also reflects the development of research and inquiry into this difficult past. This resource should provide an invaluable tool for researchers in Holocaust studies.