ארכיון יד ושם / Yad Vashem Archives

  • YV Archives
  • Yad Vashem Archives

History

In 1953, the Israeli Knesset enacted the Yad Vashem Law, which determined that among its other missions, the task of Yad Vashem is “to collect, examine and publish testimony of the disaster and the heroism it called forth…” Indeed, efforts to document the Holocaust had begun long before the passage of the law. From the Nazi rise to power in Germany, and throughout World War II, there were those who documented the events as they were taking place, often under the harshest conditions. Immediately after the war, centers for documentation and the collection of testimonies were established in many places around the world, including Munich, Warsaw, Lodz, Lublin, Paris, Bratislava, Budapest and other locations. The information about what was happening in Europe began to reach the Jewish community of Eretz Israel during the war. Even before the enormity of the disaster became clear, Mordechai Shenhavi initiated a Commemorative Project for the Jews of Europe that would include an archive. The Yad Vashem Archives began its official activities in 1946, under the direction of Dr. Sarah Friedlander, who had been born in Budapest and saved on the Kasztner train.

Geographical and Cultural Context

An Archive dedicated to the Holocaust in Europe

Archival and Other Holdings

The Yad Vashem Archives holds various types of materials related to the Holocaust period, materials related to the life of the Jews in Europe between WWI and WWII and materials related to the life of the survivors after the Holocaust. Among these materials, the Yad Vashem Archives holds individual documents such as letters, diaries, photos, films, testimonies and personal documents which had been donated to the Archives by individuals. Many of these documents are original. Other types of documents available in the archives are those which were created by Jewish organizations before, during and after the Holocaust; many of these documents are original as well. Additional materials that the Yad Vashem Archives has been collecting and acquiring from its beginning are official documents which were created by various authorities and organizations from all over Europe which participated in the persecution and the destruction of the Jews in Europe during the Nazi Period. Most of these materials had been acquired from Archives in Germany and in other countries which were under German occupation during the Second World War.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

Most descriptions of the original documents and some of the other documents are available on the IDEA ALM system in the Archives reading room. Written finding aids and catalogues created by the original archives are available for other documents, especially copies.

Sources

  • Mémorial/ClaimsCon'06