Beit Lohamei Haghetaot Archives/ בית לוחמי הגטאות

  • The Ghetto Fighters' House Archives
  • GFH Archives

History

The Ghetto Fighters’ House was conceived in 1946 in Poland, by a group of Holocaust survivors, among them fighters of the Jewish underground in the ghettos of Poland and veterans of partisan combat, to be a place of testimony, telling the story of the Jewish people in the 20th Century and particularly during the Nazi era and the Second World War.

From its foundation in the newly formed State of Israel, the Ghetto Fighters’ House - Itzhak Katzenelson Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum , has functioned as a documentation and testimonial archive; since the 1950s it has also served as a museum, educational center, and research facility.

Geographical and Cultural Context

The Ghetto Fighters’ House was founded in April 1949 by Holocaust survivors, Labor Zionists who came to the newly independent State of Israel to live together in a kibbutz - a cooperatively organized living and working community with shared goals and social humanist values. While the kibbutz founders lived in tents and shacks, its two stone buildings (left from the British Mandate) were dedicated to gathering and documenting testimonial materials of survivors about their experiences of the Holocaust. These photographs, artifacts and stories were the basis of the first exhibitions to which the public was invited. Israel’s earliest national assemblies for Holocaust remembrance were held on the slopes beside the GFH Museum’s permanent location, an annual tradition that continues to this day. In the mid-1990s, the GFH Archives “went global” by posting on its pioneering website tens of thousands of historical materials with explanatory comments and key words for searching.

Mandates/Sources of Authority

The GFH Archives is a public archive in the State of Israel.

Archival and Other Holdings

– on the Holocaust of the Jewish people and Jewish resistance
HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF THE MATERIALS: covers three main time periods:
(a) Jewish communities in Europe between the two world wars: youth movements; religious life; society, education and culture; photographs, photo negatives, films, video-recorded testimonies, audiotaped testimonies, photograph records, press clippings, and a great many documents: personal official papers, letters and postcards, administrative documents, handwritten testimonies and memoirs, diaries, literary works and musical compositions.
(b) The fate of the Jewish people under the Nazi regime and during WWII : increasing restrictions on civil and human rights; in camps and ghettos, forests and hiding places; physical and spiritual resistance; rescue and extermination;
(c) The rebuilding of lives after the Liberation: DP camps; clandestine aliyah and the detention camps on Cyprus; relations with the Yishuv in Mandate Palestine.
TYPES OF MATERIALS:
(a) The Archival Collections: photographs, photo negatives, films, video-recorded testimonies, audiotaped testimonies, photograph records, press clippings, and a great many documents: personal official papers, letters and postcards, administrative documents, handwritten testimonies and memoirs, diaries, literary works and musical compositions.
(b) The Art Collection: Original drawings, paintings, and sculptures made during the Holocaust and directly afterwards, by known and amateur artists; in ghettos, concentration and labor camps, partisan units, and in hiding; particular documentation of art as testimony.
(c) The Artifacts Collection: Authentic items from the three historical periods (above), cross-referenced with materials from the general archival collections, e.g. photographs, diaries, testimonies, etc.
(d) The Library: The Library holds some 60,000 titles in various languages, on the following topics:
Memorial books of communities describing Jewish life and culture prior to WWII and the Holocaust period in which they were destroyed;
Books of testimony and memoirs written by Holocaust survivors;
Works of nonfiction, fiction, academic texts and research about the Holocaust, Jews and Judaism, Zionism and related topics;
Photo volumes documenting Jewish life in the ghettos and camps, and the various aspects of World War Two;
Art books featuring the works of Jewish and non-Jewish artists and about them; artists who depicted the experiences of the Holocaust in drawing, painting and sculpture;
Books in Yiddish, German, Polish, Russian, French, Dutch, and Spanish: literature (fiction), testimonies and memoirs;
Edu-kits, lesson plans and study guides for teaching Holocaust topics;
Academic journals on the Holocaust, Zionism and Jewish history;
Films: documentary and fiction on Holocaust topics, in videotape and DVD format (for onsite viewing; not for loan or copying).

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

The archival collections' content accessible to the public is searchable by key word directory, catalog numbers or open text via the Online Archives on the GFH website.

More extensive holdings are uploaded to the Intranet system and accessible on-site by visiting researchers; requires prior scheduling.

The GFH Library holdings are indexed and computer-searchable on-site with the Librarian's assistance

Opening Times

GFH Museum Hours: Sunday–Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Archives Hours: same as Museum hours and by appointment

Conditions of Access

To schedule a meeting with Archives staff, contact us in advance by email or phone.
Walk-in visitors will be accommodated as staff scheduling allows.

Accessibility

GFH is located on the Coast Highway (Rte #4) between Acre (Akko) and Nahariya.
On-site parking is available at no charge.
Public transportation: BY BUS: From the Egged terminal at Haifa-Merkazit Hamifratz: Line 271 (local) to Kibbutz Lohamei Haghetaot. BY TRAIN: Northbound to the Akko station; continue northbound by intercity taxi-van or the 271 bus.
Building accessibility: Ground-floor offices and library with adjacent parking; elevator to Researchers’ Room and all levels.

Research Services

Researchers are welcome to consult with the GFH Archives’ senior staff to evaluate and coordinate their use of the archival materials. Archives staff members are assigned to assist in searching and accessing the holdings’ files. A dedicated Researchers' Room is equipped with desktop computers whose onsite Intranet programs allow searching and viewing materials not accessible to the offsite (Internet) user. The research librarian assists with the library’s extensive reference materials, and audio-visual stations are available for viewing films and video content.

Reproduction Services

Much of the archival materials, including tens of thousands of photo images, documents, artworks, etc. with accompanying explanations, have been digitized and made available for viewing on the GFH website’s Online Archive. These can be downloaded for personal use and classroom presentation; see the GFH website for details.
Additional archival materials presently unavailable online have been uploaded to the onsite Intranet system; reproduction conditions as above.
High-resolution images of archival materials are available by order; there is a fee for this service.
The use of reproduced GFH archival materials in print or electronic format for educational or commercial distribution is by arrangement with the Archives director and requires signature of a Terms of Use Agreement.

Public Areas

The Research Library has PC workstations with Internet; free wireless Internet connection.
The main historical museum and "Yad Layeled" children's memorial with permanent and temporary exhibitions are open to the public; entrance fee.
The Museum shop offers books, DVDs, and educational materials for sale.
A cafeteria and a convenience store are within walking distance of GFH.
The GFH Auditorium, Study Center, grounds and open-air outdoor theatre are available for events and meetings.

Status

[DRAFT]

Level of Detail

[PARTIAL LEVEL OF DETAIL]

Languages Used

  • English

Scripts Used

  • Latin

Sources

  • Mémorial/YV/ClaimsCon'06