Never again! EU research at service of history to make sure Holocaust never happens again

The Holocaust, the genocide of some 11 million Europeans, including Jews, Romani and homosexuals, during the Second World War will forever remain in all minds and history books as one of the most horrific events of modern world. Seeking to get a handle on the dispersed information available for Holocaust research across Europe and elsewhere, is a key objective for European researchers.

Enter the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) project, whose partners will consolidate existing Holocaust archives into a single online database. This latest venture will enable historigraphical progress and collaborative research in one of the most significant areas of history.

Backed with EUR 7 million in funding from the EU and 20 partner organisations from 11 EU Member States as well as Israel and Norway, the EHRI will create a database for researchers, educators and students who seek to understand the history of modern Europe. It is the first time that the EU Framework Programme for Research offers financial support to a large-scale European research infrastructure initiative on Holocaust archives.

Various Holocaust material, such as documents, objects, photos, film and art, will be made available to the public.

One of the key objectives of the project is to stimulate and facilitate research into areas of the Holocaust that are not yet known, with particular focus given to eastern Europe. The project will also contribute to efforts made by the relatives of Holocaust victims who seek to trace information on them.

It is important that the EHRI ensure that the proof of the Holocaust is entrenched in the minds of everyone, young and old, both in Europe and abroad.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn also recalled how the European Commission and 46 nations signed in 2009 in Prague, Czech Republic the 'Terezin Declaration on Holocaust-era assets and related issues'. This declaration is a non-binding set of guiding principles targeting faster and transparent restitution of art, private and communal property taken by force or under duress during the Holocaust. It also puts emphasis on the potential of Holocaust archives for driving research and education on the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes.