CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
For the living and the dead, we must bear witness: holocaust resources
Article Type: Eye on the net: new and notable From: Reference Reviews, Volume 23, Issue 6
In 1980, the US Congress passed a law providing for the United States to hold annual Days of Remembrance in order to commemorate the Holocaust of World War II. The United Nations General Assembly followed suit in 2005, and designated 27 January (the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau) as an annual, international day of commemoration to honour the victims of the Nazi era. In the USA, the Days of Remembrance are usually held in the spring (often in April), and include not only national commemorative events, but also state and local observances. The university where I work has a Holocaust Remembrance Committee on which I serve, and each year the committee plans a programme to coincide with the national Days of Remembrance, where a Holocaust survivor comes to speak about their experiences and answer questions. This event is always standing room only, and afterwards, students invariably want to learn more about the Holocaust. There are some useful resources out there to help them get started.
One fantastic resource is the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (www.ushmm.org). The Museum (located in Washington, DC) was provided for by the same law which set up the annual Days of Remembrance, and attending it in person is a moving, unforgettable experience. The Museum’s site, like the Museum itself, is not only dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust, but to educating citizens so that they can “confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy”. To this end, there is a wealth of educational material available through the site, such as an introduction to the Holocaust and a Holocaust Encyclopedia (available in several different languages), as well as a multitude of teacher resources for kindergarten through the university level. The site also offers online exhibitions for those who cannot attend the brick and mortar Museum (e.g. the rescue of the Jews of Denmark, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, American responses to the Holocaust, and many more). Perhaps one of the most fascinating features of this site is their online collections and archives. These collections include photographs, art, videos, oral histories, and more. The collections are vast, and one can lose oneself for hours in browsing. The Museum also provides special “highlights” from their collections (e.g. Auschwitz: Through the Lens of the SS: Photos of Nazi Leadership at the Camp) which can be a good place to start. In addition to all this, the Museum is dedicated to the prevention of genocide, and to this end, provides information on current world crises situations and other occurrences of genocide (e.g. Rwanda), as well as a “preventing genocide” blog.
Another site which has recently added resources of interest to those studying the Holocaust is that of the British Library (http://sounds.bl.uk/Browse.aspx?collection=Jewish-Holocaust-survivors&browseby=Browse+by+interviewee&choice=A-C). As part of its oral history programme, the Library has now added testimonies of Jewish immigrants and refugees to Britain who survived the concentration camps. These testimonies come from The Living Memory of the Jewish Community oral history programme, which conducted the interviews from 1987-2000. There are 66 of these interviews browsable by both the interviewee and searchable by keyword. The site also provides educational materials through the Voice of the Holocaust learning section of its site (http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/voices/holocaust.html). This contains study and reference materials, activities pages, and lesson plans for teachers.
And lastly, there is Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. This resource, originally published in 2006 on CD-ROM, has now been made freely available online (http://jwa.org/encyclopedia). The Encyclopedia contains more than 1,700 biographies (with over 1,400 photographs and illustrations), as well as thematic essays, a newsletter, blog, and podcast. The Encyclopedia is searchable by keyword, or browsable by time period and subject, and it is here that users can find all kinds of Holocaust-related information (e.g. Holocaust Survivor Resettlement, Kashariyot (Couriers) in the Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust). The site also provides links to curriculum resources; though the Encyclopedia is free, many of these curriculum resources are only samples, and the complete Teacher’s Guide and Student Resources must be purchased.
Librarians and educators will find in these sites a wealth of information they can use to educate, inform, and thereby prevent an event such as the Holocaust from happening again.
Bethany LathamInternet Editor, Reference Reviews, and Assistant Professor and Electronic Resources/Documents Librarian, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama, USA