Eyewitness Accounts of the Holocaust. Collection, 1939-1945.
Extent and Medium
ca. 7 l.m. (over 1900 testimonies).
Scope and Content
This collection consists of over 1900 testimonies written by Holocaust survivors, documenting their experiences in occupied Europe in the years 1939-1945. The testimonies are often very extensive, numbering in the dozens of pages. There are three series, corresponding with efforts to collect testimonies undertaken in the immediate postwar years (Series I), in 1954 (Series II) and since the 1960s (Series III). Testimonies with reference to Belgium are especially found in Series I. These testimonies were collected in displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria, Italy and also in Poland and other Eastern European countries from 1945 to 1948. With regards to Belgium, see testimonies nrs. 171, 458, 459, 460, 470, 472, 474, 475, 476, 477, 478, 479, 481, 719 and 722. Series III, consisting of over 300 testimonies acquired by YIVO since the 1960s, contains several testimonies of survivors living in Belgium during the war; see nrs. 25, 26, 27 and 30.
For each series there are finding aids (lists and card indexes), making it possible to search by name of the author and places mentioned. Most of these finding aids are in Yiddish. There is an English list of Series I and Series III.
The EHRI project, in cooperation with the National Archives of Belgium, selected Holocaust-relevant archival descriptions from the finding aid G. DESMET & P. FALEK-ALHADEFF, P.-A. TALLIER (dir.), Bronnen voor de geschiedenis van de Joden en het Jodendom in België (19de-20ste eeuw) - Sources pour l'histoire des populations juives et du judaïsme en Belgique (19e-20e siècles), Brussel, Algemeen Rijksarchief, 2015. Please note that this guide focuses on Belgium-related archival materials in the respective descriptions.