Swedish University Launches Digital Archive Of Nazi Concentration Camp Survivor Testimonies
Note: The archive portal itself is available in English. “The 512 interviews with survivors, conducted in 1945-1946. All the original interviews in Polish are digitized, and English translations are continually added.”
A digital archive of over 500 survivors’ testimonies from a Nazi concentration camp will be launched in the southern Swedish city of Lund later this week.
[Update: Archive is now live.]
The archive includes interviews with women and children who were interned at the Ravensbrück camp in northern Germany, as well as documents belonging to survivors and Nazi officials.
It has taken three years for researchers at Lund University to translate the interviews and put them online, and some of them are already available to read. In addition to the interviews, the archive includes other items the survivors brought with them to Sweden, including diaries, letters, and photographs, as well as some Nazi documents relating to the camp.
The Ravensbrück camp was set up in 1939 for women and children prisoners, including Jews, who made up around a fifth of the total number, as well as Roma people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, prostitutes, lesbians, and political prisoners.
In total 132,000 people were interned in the camp, of whom roughly 92,000 died. When the camp was liberated by Russian troops in April 1945, the Swedish government brought more than 20,000 survivors of Ravensbrück and other camps to Sweden and Denmark.
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The digitised archive holds almost 10 000 pages in total.
The archive was sealed for 50 years, but opened in 1995. As it mainly consists of handwritten material, it was difficult to get an overview of the contents. In connection with the digitisation process, however, details such as names and geographical locations have been tagged, making the archive searchable in a completely new way.
“This is a totally unique archive, as it was compiled in a rigorous manner very soon after the survivors arrived in Sweden. There are many different and very poignant stories”, says Håkan Håkansson.
The project is entitled Witnessing Genocide: Experiences of Nazi Concentration Camps.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.