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Judaica Europeana Jewish collections online
Number 7, 2015
Detail of painting by Josef Herman
Refugees by Josef Herman
© estate of Josef Herman,
Ben Uri collection
Bringing Jewish heritage collections together

Judaica Europeana is a network of heritage institutions in Europe, Israel and the US which have been working together very successfully to provide integrated access to their digital collections. Inspired by the vision of Europeana―the digital platform for Europe’s libraries, museums and archives, we rely on Europeana’s infrastructure for this ongoing undertaking. We report here about our recent achievements, developments at Europeana and conferences at Harvard, Jerusalem and Rome.

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Image from the CCJM collection
Great wedding dress (Keswa
el Kbira)¸ embroidered velvet, Rabat 19th C, CCJM collection
Moroccan Jewry heritage collection

A recent addition to Judaica Europeana network is the Center of the Judeo-Moroccan Culture in Brussels, whose collection has been published recently on Europeana. The collection is the result of twenty years of passionate collecting of an exceptional historical heritage, born from a mix of Jewish, Spanish, Berber and Muslim influences. It includes works of art, clothing, jewellery, objects of worship and daily life, photographs, postcards and prints. There is also an extensive archive of documents and a collection of audio-visual materials, as well as a library holding books and manuscripts in French, Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, Spanish and English.

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Detail of painting by Artur Markowicz
A Jew at Work by Artur
Markowicz, JHI collection
Early books and community records from the Jewish Historical Institute

The Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw is the largest depository of Jewish-related archival documents, books, journals and museum objects in Poland. It holds the unique Ringelblum Archive, also known as the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto. The Archive is listed on to the UNESCO Memory of the World register. Among the data recently integrated in Europeana is the JHI collection of early books from the 16th–18th century. Also published, are collections of documents relating to a number of Jewish communities and their membership, marriage records, councils and other institutions.

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Bialystock school photo, 1918
Mendele’s Kindergarten and Community School, Bialystok, 1918, JDC collection
First World War era records from the JDC Archives

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s 1914-1918 collection has been published in Europeana. This historic collection dates from the establishment of ‘the Joint’ in 1914, when three US organizations were created to respond to the needs of Jewish populations affected by the outbreak of World War I, and came together to form the Joint Distribution Committee for the Relief of Jewish War Sufferers. Like much of Judaica Europeana collections, this material should be of particular interest to family history researchers.

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People with placards on election day photo
Election day, Czestochowa
1916, YIVO
Jewish urban life in the YIVO Institute’s collections

The results of our close collaboration with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research have been harvested on Europeana recently. They include large quantities of books, photographs and other archival collections. Even a cursory tour through the photos in the YIVO archives is enough to make one question long-held stereotypes about pre-World War II Jewish life in Eastern Europe. On display in these photos is a Jewish world on the move.

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book cover by George Salter
The Trial by Franz Kafka,
jacket design by George
Salter, 1937, LBI collection
Books, periodicals and a wealth of records from the Leo Baeck Institute

Leo Baeck Institute houses a repository of source material on the history of German-speaking Jews. LBI has contributed nearly 8,000 records to Europeana, including a selection of rare books, art, illustrated books and periodicals, as well as thousands of archival collections that contain manuscripts, correspondence, and records of all kinds. A wealth of community and civil records such as registers of names, births, marriages and deaths provide an invaluable resource for family history researchers.

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Screen grab from eCultureMap video demonstration
eCultureMap, a GIS pilot
from AthenaPlus
Digital innovation―interactive maps, exhibitions and thesauri from AthenaPlus

Judaica Europeana participates in the AthenaPlus project, which contributes digital content and technology to Europeana. The foundations of AthenaPlus are built on the achievements of earlier projects: Minerva, Athena, Michael Culture and Linked Heritage. The project’s success owes much to close working relationships and friendships which have developed over the past decade. Mass digitization of collections has produced huge quantities of digital content that need to be presented to users in accessible ways. Creative re-use of this content is at the heart of the AthenaPlus project. We present here some open-source tools for interactive mapping, virtual exhibitions and thesauri.

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Editor: Lena Stanley-Clamp, European Association for Jewish Culture, London
with contributions from the AthenaPlus project; Center for Jewish-Moroccan Culture, Brussels; Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw;
JDC Archives, New York; YIVO Institute, NY; Leo Baeck Institute, NY. | Contact us | Subscribe to Judaica Europeana Newsletter
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