ARCHIVES , (a) a place where old records are collected and preserved in an orderly fashion in their entirety, as well as groups of interrelated documents originating from individuals or a public body ("historical archives"); (b) registers and filing units of current documents in an office ("current archive"); (c) collections of material on a specific subject gathered for documentation ("documentary archive"). In this article, wherever Jewish archives are mentioned, the reference is to the more general meaning unless specific reference is made to historical archives.
As a source of Jewish history in the various countries, differentiation must be made between Jewish records, i.e., records accumulated by Jewish authorities and institutions, or by individual Jews, in the course and as part of their work, and records concerning Jews produced by non-Jewish authorities in the course of their administrative activities and preserved in non-Jewish archives. In many instances, however, only one type is available.
This entry is arranged according to the following outline:biblical period
In the Diaspora
united states of america
united states of america
the central archives of the history of the jewish people (cahjp)
central zionist archives (cza)
major israel archives
When it is used with reference to the ancient Near East, the term archive can be generally defined as a collection of documents (including letters and other functional texts) that were gathered for use in administrative, legal, political, and economic proceedings and activities. However, one should note the functional difference between an archive for documents in current usage, usually attached to a bureau dealing with the subject, and one whose contents were preserved after use for memorial purposes or for the historical value of the material. The latter instance does not require the archive's connection with any particular bureau, though the relationship did exist. The difference between an "archive" and a "library" in the ancient Near East lies in the nature of the material collected in them and their depositors. *Libraries were not so much treasuries as they were repositories for works of an essentially religious and ritualistic character (though not exclusively so), intended for use by people such as priests and scribes, whose interest in and use of the works was continuous and protracted. As a result of the quality of the writing, climatic conditions, and historical developments, all archival finds have been in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent (Mesopotamia, Anatolia, northern Syria, and Phoenicia). In the more southern parts of the Crescent, Palestine, and Egypt, no real archives were found, except for the "archive" of *El-Amarna, which was preserved because its documents are inscribed on clay tablets and which hardly serves as a good example of a typical archive, as it is rather a selection out of an archive. Although it is to be assumed that archives and libraries must have existed, particularly in Egypt, information about them is sporadic and comes secondhand from indirect sources, dating after the Persian period (especially the Hellenistic and later period).
The preservation of epigraphic material in archives accompanies writing from its earliest stages. The earliest epigraphic find, from the beginning of the second half of the fourth millennium, from stratum iv of the city of Uruk, is an archival collection of documents pertaining to the local temple administration, found attached to a structure for storage. Such is the case of finds from Jemdat Nasr (c. 3300 b.c.e.), which were also unearthed near a storeroom. It is possible to conclude that the earliest archives were directly connected storerooms. This conclusion finds some support in the Sumerian terminology, in which the usual terms for "school" and "archive" might be "a sealed house" or a "storehouse," that is, some form of commercial storage area. This is borne out in economic documents from Larsa of the end of the third millennium b.c.e. In addition to this, archaeological evidence from several Sumerian cities, such as Lagash, indicates that the collections of documents at temples were placed in narrow rooms, inaccessible directly from the outside of the building. They had to be entered by ladder or stairs via the second story of the building. These appear to have been archives for the preservation of documents no longer in use. This type of preservation was still in use in the 15th century b.c.e. (*Nuzi), and during the Assyrian period (about the eighth century; *Calneh). The archives of the temple at Sumer also preserved the documents of private parties, who utilized them to store items of personal importance. This custom was maintained in various places for hundreds of years.
Despite clear evidence regarding the existence of archives in the Sumerian period, no such "library" has yet been unearthed, though individual texts that might be expected to have been stored in such libraries have been found. It is nearly certain that the lack of such finds does not indicate the lack of their existence. A number of tablets containing headings of Sumerian compositions in catalog-like form indicate the practical necessity for such an arrangement. Furthermore, the usage of the Sumerian term, whose original meaning was "tablet container" broadened to imply "storage place for tablets," in connection with a temple, i.e., a library.
From the end of the third millennium b.c.e. onward private libraries, distinct from the temple archives which also contained personal documents, begin to appear. The quantity of private material stored in temple libraries also appears to have increased. This development is related to the substantial expansion of the economy, personal contact between individuals and governmental authorities, and the cultivation of commerce on local and international levels. The scope of property and business was the main drive behind the establishment of private and family archives.
In the period of the renewed blossoming and splendor of Sumerian culture, during the Third Dynasty of Ur and the Old Babylonian period, additional basic improvements in the method and criteria for preserving documents were effected. The greatest innovation of the period was the central royal archive, whose appearance was related to the crystallization of kingdoms with broad administrative authority and international political and economic ties. There is no doubt that the period of *Hammurapi's reign (1792–1749 b.c.e.) was the most decisive in this respect, if judged by the number of epigraphic finds rather than the number of archives themselves. The royal archives from *Mari are an illustrative example of an extensive royal archive from about this period. Their structure is indicative of advanced systems of preservation. The archives are spread among conveniently accessible rooms that undoubtedly contained material in current use, in addition to other rooms that served to store tables which had ceased to be functional. The division of archives into such offices on a functional basis is the best proof that the documents were cataloged on the basis of subject. The Mari archives illustrate a new trend in the development of such collections in the ancient Near East, i.e., the preservation of documents of historical value about the history of the kingdom and the royal family. They may not have initiated the process, however, if one considers that Hammurapi's scribes and officials edited and cataloged the documents in these archives, after the Babylonian king had conquered the city, in order to transfer documented material to the center of their kingdom. The Mari archival methods were copied even west of the Euphrates. The royal archives at *Ugarit, preserving epigraphic material of the 15th–12th centuries, are organized along quite similar lines. The discovery of documents in these archives indicates the existence of temporary and permanent archives attached to offices concerned with different levels of government. Even the location of the various offices and archives in the royal complex of buildings was determined on a functional basis: the office and archive concerned with district administration (the Western Archive) was located near the main entrance to the palace, affording easy access to people approaching from outside the city; the archive concerned with metropolitan administration (the Eastern Archive) was located so as to give best access from within the city itself; the archive concerned with the royal household (the Central Archive) was in the center of the palace, and so forth. An interesting phenomenon is the existence of various sorts of instructional texts in the Ugarit archives, which might lead to the conclusion that the offices served as instructional centers for novice scribes. Also of interest is a good deal of archival material in several of the palace rooms at Ugarit. These rooms may have served as offices for high officials who required documents from the nearby archives. The Hittite kingdom also left large royal archives. Excavations at Hattusas – the Hittite capital – (now Boghazköy) have revealed well-developed archival devices and much epigraphic material found in sacred and secular structures in various parts of the city. Fragments of catalogs indicate the existence of an advanced library there that used a subject system to direct its archival arrangements.
From this time on (the end of the third millennium), the royal archives became the most common form of archives in the Near East. The more a country is developed, the larger and more numerous its archives are likely to be and the greater the quality of their material. The royal Assyrian archives, fragments of which have been found in the cities of Assur, Calah, Khorsabad, and Nineveh – capitals of the kingdom at various periods – prove the growing need for archives and libraries, although it is difficult to draw precise conclusions about the system of storing and criteria for selecting and cataloging documents. It is clear, however, that a dual method of classification was employed at Nineveh: according to subject matter and according to the script in the document. Two offices were unearthed at Nineveh: one dealt with material written in cuneiform and the other with documents in Aramaic script. This division results from conditions which required two office staffs – the first specialized in the language of Assyria and Babylonia and the second expert in Aramaic and related tongues. Other types of private archives began to develop in the second, and especially the first, millennium b.c.e. The first type is a sort of combination of a family and a public archive, such as those discovered in the residential quarters of district officials who administered the areas of Arrapha and Nuzi. These contained both administrative material used by the officials in their work and documents related to their families. Another type of collection, which might properly be called a "private professional library," included materials that aided the owner in his daily work. That most of these collections consist of study materials, copy work, and religious and ritual material for sacred works may imply that such "private professional libraries" were owned by priests, scribes, or "academies" for the training of such personnel. In contrast to the existence of public archives, the rather rare phenomenon of public libraries reappears in the second and first millennia. Here again it should be emphasized that despite the almost total absence of finds of such libraries, one should not assume that they did not exist. It seems that the earliest find of such a collection, which was discovered at the temple in the city of Assur and which is clearly definable as a library, belongs to the period of Tiglath-Pileser i (1115–1077), king of Assyria. On the basis of the colophons and the dates of the eponyms that appear on various tablets it may be concluded that the library was already in existence on a limited scale at the time of Tukulti-Ninurta i (1243–1205), though it was Tiglath-Pileser who developed and firmly established it. It included original Babylonian tablets brought to Assur, tablets copied from Babylonian originals by Assyrian scribes, and original Assyrian works. It is known today that some of the texts in this library served as subjects for copy and instructional purposes over many generations. From various pieces of evidence among the tablets, it appears that the canonization of some of the texts in this library was completed during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser i. Some have therefore concluded that far earlier unknown collections must have existed, and attention was given to the thousands of texts unearthed at Nippur at the beginning of the 20th century, most of which belong to the end of the third millennium b.c.e.
The most famous and developed ancient Near Eastern library was that of Ashurbanipal (668–627), king of Assyria at Nineveh. Its size is estimated at about 25,000 tablets, though the number of tablets and fragments thus far recorded does not exceed a few thousand. This library was established by Ashurbanipal, who was a bibliophile with an appreciation for literary creations and was himself able to read and write. It is known from this king's own annals and from several colophons that even before his ascent to the throne various tablets were copied for him. Upon his ascent to the throne he expressed his concern for the expansion of his library by adding many original and copied documents to it from all parts of his kingdom. The administrative staff reported to the king the discovery of desirable texts, not all of which were acquired by pleasant means. In any case, it is known that at Ashurbanipal's order Nineveh established many private libraries, including priestly collections. Widespread copying projects were also initiated at the ancient literary and ritual centers of Babylon, Nippur, etc.
Archaeological and epigraphic evidence were joined together in order to cast light upon the methods of storing and preserving written material. It is known from both Sumerian and Akkadian terminology and archaeological finds themselves that written material was preserved in containers: woven baskets lined with some preservative material, earthenware or clay jugs, and similarly boxes made of earth and especially of wood. These containers were placed on raised stands resembling benches along walls (Calah), in the center of the room that served as an archive, or on shelves and ledges. At Khorsabad, the capital of the Assyrian king Sargon ii (722/1–705), the containers were placed in special alcoves in the wall. The various containers held sorted and cataloged materials, and it appears that even the placement of the containers was determined by a predetermined formula. The classification and order is attested to by labels found in such places as Lagash, Mari, Hattusas, and Nineveh. These are small tablets attached to the container by means of a thread or cord and are inscribed with information on the contents of the container, such as the nature of the documents therein, their various subjects, and, in the case of a collection of closely related documents, the earliest and latest dates of the material contained inside. This system of identification was best suited to documents, especially those of an identical nature. It was not suited to relatively longer works, such as literary pieces, subject to frequent use, or to material used by a substantial number of people. Such items were subject to a somewhat different classification system than the labeling method. It appears that in several ancient Near Eastern "libraries," such as the one at Hattusas, the tablets were placed on shelves according to the order in which they were written, but without recourse to containers. The colophons and extratextual notations on many tablets helped in such classification. A complete colophon would contain a statement on the reliability of the contents, a citation of the source (in the case of a canonical work), the name and title of the copyists, and the name of the owner.
This type of colophon usually ended with a warning to and curse upon anyone who might ruin or steal the tablet. Such extratextual notations included indications of whether the text continued and marked it as either a single tablet or part of a series. Occasionally the name of the work was given alongside the number of the tablet within the total work. The "librarians" and scribes were no doubt aided by such information in preventing delays, disorder, and thefts. There appears to have been no consistent method of placing these tablets, as may be seen from their shape and the location of the colophon. While the order among a single series of tablets was carefully adhered to, the tablets themselves were placed either flat or standing on their narrow edges. It should be noted that far more remains unknown than known today about archival methods. There is no information about how material written on organic matter was preserved in the Mesopotamian archives and "libraries." Thus, when the alphabet penetrated into Mesopotamia, following the consolidation of the Arameans in the area, there were undoubtedly essential changes in archival techniques, just as there were substantive changes in the writing materials. Clay tablets were far less suited to alphabet writing, and Aramaic was customarily written on other surfaces, such as parchment.
There is no direct evidence of any sort regarding the existence of archives in Israel. Whatever evidence appears in the Bible relates to royal archives in Persia (Esth. 6:1; Ezra 6:1). However, since writing was known in Israel and there is much biblical evidence about the existence of scribes, including literary and copying activity, and, most important, a highly developed administrative system during the period of the monarchy, it is not unreasonable to conclude that some form of archives existed in Israel. A similar conclusion is reached as a result of the discovery of collections of ostraca, which appear to have been archival "files," in *Samaria, *Lachish, and *Arad. Moreover, one of the basic beliefs of Bible research today is the assumption that a substantial part of the biblical text, particularly in the historiographic works, comes from authentic documents from the royal household and the Temple, including the various lists of officials, and the conflicting descriptions of the Temple and its structure, implements, and decorations, and so forth. If this assumption is correct, it serves as additional proof that archives must have existed. Another proof is the existence of scribal and literary activity in the time of King Hezekiah (Prov. 25:1) which reminds one to some extent of the initiative of Ashurbanipal (see above). Indeed, the Bible hints at the existence of some sort of archive when it mentions the discovery of "the book of the law of the Lord given through Moses" in the Temple during King Josiah's time (ii Kings 22:8ff.; ii Chron. 34:14ff.). Archaeological evidence, however, is of no help in this area, and current research is unable to indicate that a particular building in an excavation served as an archive. The chief reason that archives and their contents in Ereẓ Israel did not remain preserved is, as stated above, the nature of the writing materials employed, together with climatic conditions which did not allow for the long-term preservation of organic materials. The *Elephantine papyri, also, are the surviving portions of the archive of the Jewish military colony of Yeb on the Upper Nile (fifth century b.c.e.).
Josephus quotes from the documents relating to the Jews of Ereẓ Israel and the Diaspora which he found in Roman archives, and it may be assumed that copies of such documents were also kept in the Jewish archives in Ereẓ Israel. The repeated references by Josephus to charters of protection, etc., received by the Jews presuppose the existence of some sort of archive where such documents were preserved. Josephus specifically mentions the Jerusalem archives as having been set on fire in 66 c.e., as one of the first acts of the insurgents, in order to destroy the evidence of the debts owed by the Jerusalem poor (Wars, 2:427). According to another tradition, going back to Julius Africanus (third century c.e.) but not otherwise supported, Herod burned the genealogical registers in order to conceal his own Edomite origin (Rosenthal, in mgwj, 30 (1881), 118ff.). This archive building was finally destroyed by fire during the sack of the city by the Roman soldiery in 70 c.e. (Jos., Wars 6:354). However, even at the last stages of the hostilities in Jerusalem, careful records were kept by the Jews of the numbers of persons buried each day (ibid., 5:567ff.).
Rabbinic sources speak of the Sanhedrin examining the purity of priestly descent, on the basis of genealogical tables (Megillat or Sefer Yuḥasin) which are known to have been preserved in the Temple (see Mid. 5:4; Tosef. Ḥag. 2:9, 235; Yev. 4:13; Yev. 49a and b). They were guarded with great care and when destroyed by some calamity, were carefully reconstructed on the basis of what remained and the depositions of witnesses (Jos., Apion 1:31). During the Roman period cities in Ereẓ Israel must have maintained local archives which enabled the collection of taxes and the authentication of documents – parallel to the model of the Roman archives; see Josephus, Life, 38, for Tiberias; Kiddushin 4:5 for Sepphoris: Esther Rabba 1:3 for Gadera. While no administrative documents have been found among the actual *Dead Sea Scrolls, the orders of Bar Kokhba, found recently in a cave in the same region, prove that such documents were obviously carefully preserved; also some other documents of that same period, have been discovered (see Benoit, et al., Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, vol. 2, 1961).
In the talmudic period, written records were probably kept in depositories at the academies. The authorities in Ereẓ Israel sent written calendar instructions to outlying communities – to Babylonia in particular; these letters presuppose some method of record keeping (Tosef., Sanh. 2:6; Mid. Tan. 26:13, 174/5; tj, Meg. 1:7, 71a), *Sherira Gaon must have used records of the Mesopotamian academies for the historical information regarding the succession of exilarchs and geonim which he embodied in his famous historical epistle. When inquiries for religious guidance began to be addressed to the Mesopotamian geonim from the countries of the Diaspora, the replies (teshuvot) seem to have been filed for preservation in the academies, this being the origin of the various ancient collections of the responsa of the geonim – apparently official, not personal, collections. Fragments of communal registers, decisions of the bet din, official inventories, and contracts, etc., from medieval Egypt in the Fatimid period have been found in the Cairo *Genizah. In the Genizah, too, was found the archive of Nahrai b. Nissim, an 11th-century businessman and communal figure in Egypt (Hebrew University thesis by A.M. Morad, 2 vols.).
In the pre-emancipation period – before the 16th century in Western Europe, before the 18th in Central Europe, and before the 20th in Eastern Europe – the Jews were regarded as a separate element in the body politic, subject to special regulations and special taxation. Hence there would be in the general archives special sections dealing with Jewish affairs. For the Middle Ages the most important is probably the archive of the Exchequer of the Jews in England (see below). This is, of course, apart from the many scattered documents dealing with Jews, sometimes of the highest importance, which can be found in the general archives. Almost all archives of central, district, and local authorities, as well as religious institutions, in places inhabited by Jews during the Middle Ages, contain a wealth of documents pertaining to Jews. In many countries notarial archives also include important documents on medieval Jewish life. Thus, the notarial archives of *Perpignan have been exhaustively studied by R.W. Emery with rich results; those of *Arles contain records of synagogue seat purchases. The longer the Jews resided in a particular country, the richer its government archives are in documents relating to their history. This applied to countries such as Spain and Portugal, where an abundance of such records may be found in the Central Archives in Madrid, the archives of the crown of Aragon in Barcelona, and the state archives of Simancas and Pamplona, as well as in those of the Inquisition, particularly complete and well organized for Portugal; it also applies to the Italian and German states. In many civic archives in Italy there is a special division dealing with Jewish affairs in the age of the Ghetto – before the French Revolution – e.g., in Venice the Inquisitorato degli ebrei which also includes a transcription made for administrative purposes of one entire communal *pinkas ("register").
Jewish life in the European Diaspora in the Middle Ages was generally organized on a community basis, the synagogues and communal charities being in a way subordinate to the community. The form of the records kept by the communities was the result of an ancient tradition, but it was also influenced and frequently even dictated by the legal requirements and the administrative usage of their environment. Thus, current archives were established in Jewish communities, reaching various stages of development.
Files and documents in general archives relating to Jewish life in modern times are much more abundant. Due to the fact that Jewish life was in general subject to a system of laws and regulations, special files relating to Jews dating back to the pre-emancipation period have been preserved in many government archives. Where no such special legislation existed, as in Britain and the United States, almost no special files on Jews were opened. When and where Jews obtained legal equality, special files related only to the status of their religious institutions and their relations with the authorities. From then on, historical records on the participation of Jews in the life of their country are less easy to trace. With the rise of modern antisemitism files dealing with the Jewish problem again appear in the archives of many countries, and their number increases rapidly in countries ruled by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.
Archival material of Jewish interest is particularly abundant in the records of departments dealing with religion and education, taxation, commerce and industry, legal affairs, police reports, internal migration, and in the reports of diplomatic envoys in countries which had a large Jewish population or where the Jews exerted influence upon economic and political life, e.g., Poland, Turkey, Palestine, and the United States. Only a small part of this documentary material relating to Jewish history which was kept in non-Jewish archives has been published so far, and few detailed reference lists are available. For some years the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (cahjp, see below) in Jerusalem have been engaged in collecting detailed information on archival material of value to the study of Jewish history by conducting surveys in the various countries and collecting lists of the contents of archives.
Archives of Jewish communities have been preserved with a certain degree of continuity in several countries since the 16th and 17th centuries, and with increasing frequency in the following centuries. In the Middle Ages and after pride of place was given to the pinkas ("register") in which statutes and regulations governing the community, names of community leaders and officials, minutes of meetings, etc., were recorded. In many instances the pinkas also contained decisions of Jewish courts, and copies of notes, letters, and applications submitted to the community board. Out of the main pinkas developed auxiliary pinkasim for such special purposes as accounts, the ḥevra kaddisha, and other religious societies. Other pinkasim contained incoming and outgoing correspondence or registered circumcisions – generally however, kept and retained by the mohel himself – the distribution of synagogue seats and offices, the distribution of maẓẓot, etc. In many countries the Jewish community kept, or had to keep, registers of births, deaths, and marriages, which had legal validity before public registers were introduced by the state.
In the course of time, Jewish community archives also preserved a variety of original documents, similar to the general archives. The systems used in filing and registration of incoming and outgoing documents were largely the same as those prevailing in those archives. In many instances, the civil authorities determined the filing system of the Jewish communities because of the legal importance of the documents and also to facilitate the supervision of the community administration, the collection of taxes, etc. These records have been preserved, with relative continuity, from the time that mass expulsions of Jews ceased; and more in countries with fewer expulsions of Jews than in those where expulsions and persecutions were frequent. Community archives dating back to the second half of the 17th century, and particularly the 18th and 19th centuries, have been preserved mainly in Italy, Great Britain, Western Europe, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and the United States, although even in these countries a great deal of material was lost by lack of care. Those of Recife (Pernambuco) in Brazil were taken back to Amsterdam when the community broke up after the Portuguese reconquest in 1654. In Poland and Russia most of the Jewish records were lost as the result of persecution, fires, and negligence; the archives of many communities in western Poland have been preserved largely because these provinces formed part of Prussia from the end of the 18th century up to 1918. Other Jewish archives which have come into being since the 19th century are those of the national unions of communities, such as the Consistoire in France; of national and international Jewish aid organizations, such as the *Alliance Israélite Universelle in France, the *Hilfsverein in Germany, or the *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (jdc) in the U.S.A.; and of national and international political movements and organizations, such as the Zionist movement with its many parties and institutions.
Toward the end of the 19th century historical committees and societies were established in many countries for the purpose of utilizing the material stored in the general archives, and of collecting Jewish historical records. It was not, however, until the beginning of the 20th century that serious efforts were made to establish Jewish historical archives on a scientific basis, first among which was the Gesamtarchiv der deutschen Juden (see below). In 1919 the archives of the World Zionist Organization were set up in Berlin; in 1933 they were moved to Jerusalem, and have since become the Central Zionist Archives. Other archives have been established in Israel (see Ereẓ Israel Archives, below). In the United States, the American Jewish Archives were established in 1947 (see below: U.S.A.). Similar efforts have been under way in recent years in Britain and France. In 1926 the Jewish Scientific Institute (*yivo) was created in Vilna; it collected significant material on Jewish history, with emphasis on Eastern Europe.
The Gesamtarchiv der deutschen Juden, which had as its task the preservation of files and documents – no longer in use – from Jewish communities, institutions, and societies in Germany, was founded in Berlin in 1906. Its first director was Eugen Taeubler; he was succeeded in 1920 by Jacob Jacobsohn, The Gesamtarchiv succeeded in collecting the pinkasim and files of hundreds of Jewish communities in Germany and in the provinces of western Poland which had been part of Prussia from the end of the 19th century until 1918. It also contained the private archives of important personalities; documents, photographs, printed material relating to the history of the Jews in Germany and that of Jewish families, and copies or summaries of documents belonging to government municipal archives. Six volumes of Mitteilungen des Gesamtarchivs der deutschen Juden (1908–26) were published, the sixth containing a catalog. When the Nazis came to power, they made extensive use of the Gesamtarchiv for their genealogical research and in 1938 took it over in its entirety. At the beginning of World War ii part of the archives were sent to eastern Germany for security reasons. In 1950, upon the intervention of the Berlin community, this part of the archives was returned to the Jewish Community in East Berlin, but they were not permitted to transfer it, as intended, to Jerusalem. Important parts of the Gesamtarchiv, however, reached West Germany and were sent to the cahjp in 1951. The rest – which was in poor condition – was taken to the East German Government Archives in Potsdam. No precise information is available on the amount and condition of this material – or of other records of Jewish organizations which seem to have been added to it by the Nazis. Other community and organizational archives had been deposited from 1933 with German government archives during the Nazi rule, and these were also gradually transferred to Jerusalem, beginning in 1954. The cahjp now contains parts of the archives of some 800 former Jewish communities in Germany. Other community archives were destroyed by the Nazis or were otherwise lost during the war. In other Diaspora communities no attempt has yet been made to establish comprehensive archives along the lines of the Gesamtarchiv.
For more than 40 years after the end of World War ii and the Holocaust, the tiny Jewish community of the Federal Republic of Germany, never more than about 30,000 individuals, had no central repository to chronicle the complicated and often difficult task of maintaining Jewish life in a nation that before 1933 numbered more than 550,000 Jews.
One of the major obstacles to such an institution was the determination of most of the Jews in Germany, survivors of the Holocaust from Eastern Europe and a few thousand German Jews who managed to survive inside the Nazi state, to ultimately leave a nation "soaked in Jewish blood."
Even those Jews who wanted to stay in post-Holocaust Germany maintained that they were living there with "packed bags," ready to flee at a moment's notice at the first sign of a new organized German antisemitism.
Finally, in 1987, The Central Archives for Research on the History of the Jews in Germany located in Heidelberg, was founded under the auspices of the Central Council of Jews in Germany (Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland), the umbrella organization that was created in 1950 to represent the interests of Jews in the Federal Republic.
The director of the Central Archives is Peter Honigmann, a Jew from the former German Democratic Republic (ddr). The institution collects documentation from the Jewish communities, associations, and organizations within the borders of what was the Federal Republic, although records are extant for the history of the small Jewish community of the former ddr.
Among the records of the Central Archives are collections on the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the Central Welfare Office of the Jews in Germany, Jewish Student Organizations, and Jewish community records from regions and cities across the former Federal Republic including Berlin, Bremen, Dortmund, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Heidelberg, and Lower Saxony.
Individual collections include the papers of Henryk Broder, Rafael Seligmann, Peter Sichrovsky, and Barbara Honigmann, all journalists and authors.
[Abraham J. Peck (2nd ed.)]
Since Jewish life in Russia, up to the 1917 Revolution, was regulated by a host of special laws and decrees, the archives maintained by the various government departments came to contain many files dealing with Jewish affairs in all their manifestations. It is difficult to estimate how much of this material still exists since it is almost impossible for foreign scholars to obtain access. Jewish and non-Jewish scholars, who began to study the history of Russian Jewry, made use of such material as was accessible to them in government archives under the Czarist regime. In 1908 a Jewish Ethnographical Society was founded in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) by Salvian Goldstein, who directed its archives. After the revolution of 1917, archives were opened to scholars much more liberally. A great deal of material, no doubt, survives, and at least part of the Jewish archives may now be stored in general archives or libraries. The latter may also contain portions of Jewish archives or non-Jewish archives relating to Jews whichthe Soviets removed from their zones of occupation in East Germany and Poland at the end of the war, although part of this material was returned to its country of origin.
The surviving archives of the Minsk community, 1825–1917, a portion of the rescued Vilna yivo archives, consisting of 37 folders, have now been catalogued.
Many of the archives of the Jewish communities in Poland, in existence in 1939, were destroyed during World War ii and its aftermath. The files maintained by the *Lodz community were transferred to the government archives there. The remnants of the *Cracow and Wroclaw (Breslau) archives, and of hundreds of other communities, as well as a vast amount of other material on the history of the Jews and on the Holocaust, were handed over to the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, which was established after the war. In 1968, however, the Institute was closed down, and its archival collection transferred to government and municipal archives. In the past few years some of the material was microfilmed for the cahjp and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
The old archive of the *Prague Jewish community was largely preserved until 1689 when it was destroyed in a great fire. The material which had been collected in the 18th century was in turn heavily damaged in the fires of 1754 and 1773. Later, once more, documents and files accumulated in great quantity. The entire archives of the Prague community and all its synagogues and institutions, as well as of several other communities – Budej̯ovice, Dambořice, Holešov, etc. – are now stored in the Jewish Museum in Prague. In 1967 an agreement was concluded for the microfilming of most of this material by cahjp.
The *Vienna community maintained archives and a museum, which had been organized in 1840 by the secretary of the community L.A. *Frankl. These archives contained documents relating to the history of Vienna Jews dating back to the 18th century, as well as the files of the community from its official establishment in 1890. After World War ii the entire archives were deposited with the cahjp which is also cataloging the Jewish historical material in the Austrian government archives. Among the Jewish archives left in Austria are the archives of the *Burgenland communities, which contain protocols and old community pinkasim and are now deposited in the government archives in *Eisenstadt.
Part of the communal records of *Norwich in the form of shetarot, probably kept for convenience in the local *archa, were transferred to the capital with other documents and are now among the Muniments at Westminster Abbey (published by M.D. Davis in his Hebrew Deeds of English Jews, 1888). A very substantial part of the 13th-century archive of the Exchequer of the Jews, very important for British as well as for Jewish history, is preserved in the Public Record Office in London, the surviving Plea Rolls are in the course of publication by the Jewish Historical Society of England (J.M. Rigg and H. Jenkinson, 3 vols., 1905–29) while the Receipt Rolls have only been cursorily investigated. Among the archives of Anglo-Jewish communities in modern times, the most important is that of the Spanish-Portuguese community; it contains the records of this community from 1663 up to the present time (cf. L.D. Barnett, Bevis Marks Records, 2 vols., 1940–49). The regulations of the Sephardi community in London (ed. 1785, p. 33) imposed on the secretary the duty of keeping full records of circumcisions, marriages, and burials. Archives of the major Ashkenazi synagogues in London, dating back to 1690 and up to 1870, are maintained in the offices of the *United Synagogue. The archives of the Western (formerly Westminster) Synagogue, dating back to 1767, were cataloged by C. Roth before their almost complete destruction in a German air raid. The early records of the London bet din, dating back to the beginning of the 19th century, are in the Roth and Adler collections, those of the later period are preserved by the bet din themselves. The complete archive of the minuscular community of *Penzance in Cornwall, from 1807 down to its extinction in the early 20th century, are in the Roth collection (now in Leeds University). The significant archives maintained by a public institution are those of the *Board of Deputies of British Jews, founded in 1761. The *Jewish Historical Society of England, founded in 1893, seeks to establish a central archive of British Jews (Anglo-Jewish Archives) to supplement the collections of the Mocatta Library (see *Libraries), and has received the archives of the *Anglo-Jewish Association. Archives relating to the history of Zionism in Britain and the World Zionist Organization – when its headquarters were situated in London – form part of the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem (in following cza).
France does not have a central Jewish archive, but La Commission Française des Archives Juives has been active since 1963 and publishes the quarterly Archives Juives (editor B. Blumenkranz). The following important archives are in the possession of Jewish bodies: (a) the archives of the central Jewish *Consistoire and of the *Paris Jewish Consistoire, which contain documents beginning with the year 1808. The archives of the *Lyons Consistoire have also been preserved. On the other hand, the archives of the *Marseilles and *Colmar's Consistoire have been destroyed; little is left of the *Besançon and *Bayonne archives, and only a part of those of Bas Rhin and Moselle. The community archives still in existence generally do not date back beyond the French Revolution or the middle of the 19th century. Sometimes, the Jewish community archives were deposited with the general archives, such as the archives of the *Metz community, in the archives of the department of Moselle, or of *Bordeaux, now in the municipal archives. An outstanding collection was established by the Society for the History of the Jews of *Alsace-Lorraine, now deposited with the archives of the Department of the Bas Rhin in Strasbourg. Various collections and parts of important archives, in original or microfilm, are also kept by the cahjp; the archives relating to the history of Zionism in France and of French Zionist personalities are deposited with the cza. (b) From its inception in 1860 the Alliance Israélite Universelle has preserved the correspondence with its branch offices and educational institutions in the Middle East, reports submitted to it, minutes of its board meetings, etc. Its files contain original material which is of importance not only for the history of the Alliance, but also for that of the Jews, especially in Muslim and East European countries. Confiscated by the Nazis during the war, the archives were for the greater part returned to France, put into order, and cataloged. Parts of them were microfilmed by the cahjp and the cza.
General archives, especially those of north Italian cities, contain important historical records relating to Jews. Jewish community archives were once particularly ample and well-organized. They have suffered however from neglect in some places, and from the effects of war in others. Thus, the very ample archives of the community of *Venice were dispersed through carelessness in the period before World War ii; those of *Leghorn were destroyed as a result of bombing in World War ii. Some Jewish communities have in their possession various single documents going back to the Middle Ages, and continuous records (pinkasim) starting in the 17th and, especially, the 18th centuries. Some of these have been put in order and cataloged – those of *Rome, which cover the period 1536–1627 and are now in the Archivio Urbino in the Capitol (see A. Berliner, Censur und Konfiskation … (1891), 4), published by A. Milano and R. Bachi (1929), and those of *Mantua, compiled by Bonaiuoto Isaac Levi from 1782 to 1810 (unpublished). A summary list of documents, preserved in the archives of the Jewish community of Ancona, was published by C. Rosenberg in the Corriere Israelitico in 1912–14. Edgardo Morpurgo published in the Corriere Israelitico (1910–13; also repr.) a survey of the documents and monuments of the Jews in the province of Venice, indicating the archivistic material – including that in private possession – available for this part of Italy, which once had numerous small communities. A series of registers of contracts drawn up (in Hebrew) by Jewish notaries in Rome in the 15th–17th centuries are preserved in the civic archives (see also Berliner, Serid me-Ir in Kobeẓ-al-Yad, 5, 1893). A catalog of the archives of the *Florence community, in part deposited in the Archivio di Stato, was published by R. Gottheil (rej, 51–52, 1906), amended and enlarged by U. Cassuto (ri, 3 (1906)). The archives of the *Reggio Emilia community are kept by the municipal archives; material from the *Verona community archives was transferred to the National and University Library in Jerusalem and cataloged by S. Simonsohn (Zion, 35, 1960).
The bulk of the ancient Jewish archives of *Salonika were destroyed in the great fire of 1917; those of other communities were less significant.
Apart from the material contained in the government and municipal archives, the history of Dutch Jews is contained in the records maintained by two major Jewish archives – the archives of the Spanish-Portuguese (Inventory by W.C. Pieterse, 1964) and those of the Ashkenazi communities of Amsterdam. Both are deposited with the Amsterdam municipal archives, and a large part has been microfilmed for the cahjp. The relations with Ereẓ Israel maintained by Jews in Holland and Germany, from the beginning of the 19th century, find expression in the archives of the pekidim ve-amarkalim of which 15 volumes, containing the copies of outgoing letters, have been preserved and are now being published by J. Rivlin.
In 2004, the American Jewish community celebrated its 350th anniversary with a breathtaking number of lectures, exhibits, and programs across the United States, highlighted by a major exhibition entitled "From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America" with exhibit materials lent by the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the American Jewish Historical Society, and the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.
The 2004–5 commemoration was in many respects far different than the two previous national celebrations in 1904, marking the 250th anniversary, and 1954, marking the 300th.
Each of these commemorations was held in the midst of crises within American and general Jewish life. In 1904, anti-immigration forces were already at work seeking to close the doors of America to the millions of persecuted and poverty-stricken East European Jews seeking to enter a land where "the streets were paved with gold."
In 1954, a still traumatized American Jewish community was in the emotional grip of the losses incurred by European Jewry during the Holocaust and the struggles of the recently created State of Israel.
But 2004 was a different story. American Jewry was a secure, affluent, and well-educated community, perhaps the most secure, affluent, and well-educated community in all of Jewish history. American Jewry was less inner-directed and the call in 2004 was for all Americans to celebrate the history of the American Jewish experience.
The history of American Jewish archival institutions also reflected the politics of American Jewish life and identity.
In 1892, a small group of American Jews, already concerned with the negative reactions of many Americans to the growing immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe, created the American Jewish Historical Society (ajhs) in New York. The society was unabashedly "filiopietistic" in its celebration of American Jews as "soldiers and patriots." Its collections and its historical publications reflected the contributions of Jews to the development of the American colonies, the American Revolution, and all the major events of the American experience.
In 1947, Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus, the "father of American Jewish history," founded the American Jewish Archives on the campus of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati with a determination to collect and write the history of the Jewish experience in America in a scholarly, unbiased manner, "warts and all."
For nearly 50 years, these two institutions, along with the Leo Baeck Institute, founded in 1955 in New York to chronicle the history of German-speaking Jewry until 1933, and the yivo Institute, founded in Vilna, Lithuania, in 1925 and moved to New York during World War ii, for the history of East European Jewish life and culture, were the foundations of Jewish archival institutions in the United States.
But 2005 not only found an American Jewish community that felt "at home" in the United States, but a much larger group of archival institutions devoted to the Jewish experience in America and beyond.
In 1995, the "feminist revolution" in American and American Jewish life led to the creation of the Jewish Women's Archive in Brookline, Massachusetts. The executive director of the Archive is Dr. Gail Twersky Reimer.
The archive is a leader in utilizing new technologies to transform the practice and knowledge of the history of Jewish women in North America and utilizes an award-winning website to "remember the women who came before us, honor the women among us, and inspire those who will follow us."
On October 26, 2000, the American Jewish archival world witnessed a virtual revolution with the founding of the Center for Jewish History in New York. Called the "Library of Congress of the Jewish People," a consortium of five Jewish archival and cultural organizations joined together to house more than 100 million archival documents and 500,000 books, easily the largest and most important institution of its kind outside of the State of Israel.
The five institutions, the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institue, the yivo Institute, and the Yeshiva University Museum, seek to create a seamless archival, library and art collection of world-class standards without giving up their individual institutional identities.
The $50 million facility has a state of the art reading room, museum exhibit spaces, and a Jewish genealogy institute. Ultimately, many of the Center's holdings will be digitalized for home access.
Finally, in June 2005, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives dedicated a $7 million renovation and expansion of its facility and the opportunity to showcase its collection of documents on the American Jewish experience, including the papers of Jacob *Schiff, Louis *Marshall, and Felix *Warburg, outstanding communal leaders of early 20th-century Jewish life in America, and the papers of the World Jewish Congress (wjc) including the chilling telegram sent by the wjc's Gerhard Riegner in 1942 informing the world of the Nazi plans for a "final solution" to the destruction of Jewish life in Europe.
Other institutions of note that house significant Jewish archival collections in the United States include The Magnes Archives in California, The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society in Colorado, The Jewish Museum of Florida, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven in Connecticut, the Bloom Southwest Jewish Archives in Arizona, the Cleveland Jewish Archives in Ohio, the Chicago Jewish Historical Society in Illinois, the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center in Pennsylvania, the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History in Pennsylvania, the Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism in New York, and the Southern Jewish Archives at Tulane University in Louisiana.
[Abraham J. Peck (2nd ed.)]
The Library of the jtsa published Preliminary Listing of Holdings, a list of its rare archival collections. Among the items cited in it are some 5,000 prints and photographs from the 17th to the 20th centuries, personal papers of many major Jewish community leaders and scholars, and communal records from Germany, France, Italy, Morocco, Algeria and Palestine.
A special significance is attached to archives dealing with the Holocaust period. Even during the war special institutions were established by Jews in the Nazi-occupied territories, such as the Oneg Shabbat Archives by Emmanuel *Ringelblum in Warsaw, whose purpose was to collect evidence on the Holocaust. Similar institutions of this kind were set up after the war. They had both the practical aim of exposing the crimes perpetrated by the Nazi criminals and bringing them to justice, and the scientific-historical aim of preserving as complete as possible a record of this decisive era in the history of the Jewish people.
A great deal of material relating to the persecution and extermination of the Jews during the Nazi period can be found in the archives of the countries directly or indirectly involved and of the Jewish organizations that sought to help the Jews. Of the greatest importance are the archives maintained by the Nazis themselves. The Nazi archives which had fallen into the hands of the Western Allies were, for the most part, returned to Germany – the Foreign Ministry Archives in Bonn and the Bundesarchiv in Coblenz – after most of the files had been microfilmed. Only the Berlin Document Center, made up primarily of the archives of the Nazi Party and its institutions, is still held by the American State Department, and it intends to hand them also back to the Bundesarchiv when they have been microfilmed. Of the archives held by the Russians, important parts have been handed over to the Central East German archives in Potsdam and Merseburg.
Two other (non-Jewish) institutions should be mentioned in this context: (a) The first is the *International Tracing Service (its) at Arolsen, established after the war by Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force to facilitate the search for missing persons. Its files and 16 million cards contain information on seven to eight million persons. All the its material was microfilmed for Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. (b) The Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie in Amsterdam, established by the Netherlands government in May 1945 and which contains a comprehensive documentary collection, deals primarily with the fate of Dutch Jews during the Holocaust period.
The following are the important archives on the Holocaust period in Jewish hands: (a) The Institute of Jewish Affairs of the *World Jewish Congress in New York, founded in 1940, has built up a systematic collection of documents concerning the Holocaust and related issues. Most of its material, in manuscript and in print, has been transferred to the Institute of Jewish Affairs established by the World Jewish Congress in 1966 in London, to the cza in Jerusalem, and Beth Hatefutsoth ("House of the Diaspora") at Tel Aviv University. (b) The Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library (formerly called simply *Wiener Library) in London founded in 1934 in Amsterdam for contemporary Jewish history, antisemitism, and Nazi persecution, in particular. (c) The *Centre de Documentation Juive Contem-poraine in Paris founded clandestinely during the Nazi rule in 1942; this contains a wealth of material, original and photostatic, on the history of Nazi anti-Jewish activities, and of the persecution of Jews in France. Among the significant units held by the Centre are the archives of Alfred *Rosenberg; copies of the documents of the Nuremberg trials; the archives containing the records of the anti-Jewish operations of the German command in France; the archives of the German embassy in Paris and the Gestapo in France; and the archives of various French non-Jewish and Jewish institutions. (d) The archives of the *Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw include a great amount of documentation on the fate of the Jews in Poland, including the Ringelblum archive. The institute was closed down in 1968 and its archives transferred to Polish government and municipal archives. (e) The archives of the Va'ad ha-Haẓẓalah ("Rescue Committee"), which the Jewish Agency set up during the war for the rescue of Polish Jewry, collected a great deal of information and reports on the history of the Holocaust, much of it in Poland itself. It is now part of the cza. (f) The central archives of *Yad Vashem is the major and most comprehensive Jewish archive devoted to the Holocaust era. (g) The Isaac Katznelson Ghetto Fighters' Museum commemorating the Holocaust and the Resistance was established in 1950 at kibbutz Loḥamei ha-Getta'ot in the western Galilee (further information and a comprehensive bibliography of Holocaust documentation and study centers can be found in the Guide to Jewish History under the Nazi Impact by J. Robinson and P. Friedman, 1960).
Jews are a people of memory. They did not forget the exodus from Miẓrayim, from Egypt, and remember it three thousand years later. Jews did not forget those who died in the Holocaust, but it took the better part of several decades before those Jews who had lived in freedom and safety during those years would understand that it was important for all Jews to remember.
In many respects, the 1980 and the 1990s were the "decades of the Holocaust survivor."
From outsiders, on the periphery of American Jewish communal life for the first 25 years after their arrival in America, survivors of the Holocaust became overnight "insiders" as American Jews and America in general became aware of the meaning of the Holocaust for American Jewish and non-Jewish identity.
Suddenly, the Holocaust, and the survivors who were its moral voice, was commemorated in nearly every state capitol and in the Rotunda of the American Congress.
A national Holocaust museum stood on the sacred space of American memory in Washington, d.c., and survivors were the focus of video tapings and participants in countless school lectures.
Even in the Jewish Displaced Persons' camps of Germany, Austria, and Italy telling the story of the Holocaust was a passion that was shared by most survivors.
To tell and to remember: That was a great part of what drove survivors onward. The State of Israel understood this as early as 1942, in pre-State Palestine when the first proposal was made to create a place of commemoration for those Jews who had already died at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. The proposal also carried with it the suggestion that it be called Yad Vashem, a "monument and a name."
In 1953, the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed the Yad Vashem Law, establishing the Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, and mandating that the authority establish an institution devoted to the murder of six million Jews and the issues that surrounded those murders.
It was not until 1979 when a Jewish media specialist, Laurel Vlock, and a Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, Dr. Dori Laub, decided that the medium of video was the best instrument to document the personal testimonies of Holocaust survivors at a time when survivors were aging and beginning to die in large numbers. It was also the same year that Americans for the first time learned the extent of the individual and collective evil that led to the destruction of European Jewish life as portrayed in the film "Holocaust."
The Holocaust Survivors Film Project, Inc., located in New Haven, Connecticut, became the grass roots organization that produced the first 200 survivor testimonies.
In 1981, the tapes were deposited at Yale University and, through the generosity of Alan M. Fortunoff, the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies became a part of Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library.
Today, the Archive has a collection of over 4,300 videotaped interviews with witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust.
The creation of the Fortunoff Archive coincided with the beginning of an "Americanization of the Holocaust" that linked the events of the Holocaust: the murder of six million Jews, the world's inaction in seeking to save Jews from the Nazi vise, the loss of democratic and human values before and during the Holocaust in large parts of Europe, with the need for Americans to understand their own democratic values and the importance of protecting them against forces similar to those that gave rise to National Socialism.
Not only was the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and its Research Institute a reaction to such an "Americanization," but the premiere of the film Schindler's List, directed by Steven *Spielberg, allowed American's a glimpse of one of the "Righteous" non-Jews who put their personal safety and careers on the line to save Jewish lives.
A year later, Spielberg financed the creation of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation to gather videotaped testimony of Holocaust survivors around the world. Again, Dr. Michael *Berenbaum, so instrumental in the creation of the ushmm's Research Institute, was asked to direct the institution as its president and ceo.
To date, the Shoah Foundation, relying on local staff members and volunteers, has collected nearly 52,000 testimonies in 32 languages in nearly 60 nations around the world.
The phenomenon of the "Americanization" of the Holocaust took on an even greater significance in January 2000, when the first ever "International Forum on the Holocaust" took place in Stockholm, Sweden.
Forty-eight nations along with several multilateral organizations took part in the conference. A total of 600 delegates attended, and most countries sent official delegations comprising official representatives as well as representatives of research and educational communities, staffs from museums and archives, and other experts.
The conference focused on the following fundamental questions: What can politicians and other community forces do to support Holocaust education, remembrance, and research? What lessons can be learned from the Holocaust to alert contemporary society to the dangers of antisemitism, racism, and ethnic conflict, among other expressions of hatred, injustice, and discrimination?
While progress was made in beginning to formulate answers to such questions, the more telling impact of the Conference was that a "globalization of the Holocaust" had now become an established fact. This conclusion was crystallized by the growth of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, headed by Dr. William L. Shulman, established in 1985, and whose membership 20 years later consisted of Holocaust research centers and museums in 39 American states and the District of Columbia as well as 24 other nations as diverse as Japan and South Africa.
In the era of the "globalization of the Holocaust," one research facility stands out among all others in terms of how quickly it has risen to the very top of all institutions devoted to Holocaust-related research.
In 1993, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (ushmm) opened its doors on the sacred ground of American history in Washington, d.c. and reflected the "Americanization of the Holocaust" and the phenomenon of Holocaust memory and memorialization.
Its most important scholarly division was the Research Institute of the ushmm directed by Michael Berenbaum. For a number of years before the Museum's opening, teams of microfilmers and researchers from the Research Institute gained access to numerous archives across the length and breadth of Central and Eastern Europe in order to document and ship back to Washington the most important records on the destruction of European Jewry. In 1998 it was restructured as The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, directed by Paul Shapiro, to address the critical challenges affecting the scholarly study of the Holocaust.
Among its many activities, the center has taken the responsibility for collecting and preserving Holocaust-related archival materials on a worldwide basis, making many previously inaccessible sources available to the scholarly community. This project began in the late 1980s at the initiative of the then-unopened United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as the imminent collapse of the Communist regimes presented a unique opportunity and openness toward the microfilming of archival holdings related to World War ii and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. As an American government institution working with governments anxious to improve their relationship with the United States as Soviet-power was waning, the museum used its status to pry open for Western scholars hitherto inaccessible archives, to microfilm their holdings and bring them to the West. Independent projects were undertaken as were joint efforts with Yad Vashem and by the turn of the 21st century, the principle of the exchange between Jerusalem and Washington of Eastern European archival microfilms was firmly established.
As such, the archival branch of the ushmm is today one of the largest and most comprehensive repositories of Holocaust-related records in the world. The collection consists of nearly 20 million pages of records, especially important microform reproductions of materials held by most of the European nations occupied by the German armed forces, including those of the former Soviet Union.
Especially important are the microfilmed holdings of the so-called Osobyi or "Special" Archive that were inaccessible to Western scholars until the end of the Cold War. The ushmm has copied large numbers of files in this archive pertaining to Holocaust-related and other topics. Nearly 400 microfilm reels are available to researchers dealing with previously unknown or missing materials including those on Jewish organizations, both communal and private, in Germany and Austria. The finding aid for the Osobyi Records can be accessed via the catalog of the ushmm.
Online catalogs available to researchers include the Library and Archival Collections (including oral history and film); an Archival Guide to the Collections, which act as an overview of textual records; and a select group of Archival Finding Aids that are detailed inventories and descriptive tools created to help scholars understand the scope and detail of collections.
In addition, the Collections Division of the ushmm contains an oral history collection that is one of the largest and most diverse on Holocaust testimonies. The collection contains over 7,000 interviews, 4,500 of which are video and 2,500 are audio.
The Photo Archives contains 85,000 historical photographs and nearly 14,000 of them are available through an online catalog. The online catalog also contains a small sampling of the more than 10,000 artifacts in the Museum's possession.
[Abraham J. Peck (2nd ed.)]
The nucleus of these archives are the Jewish Historical General Archives, founded in 1939 by Joseph *Meisl and taken over in 1944 by the Historical Society of Israel. In 1957 D.J. Cohen became their director. They were set up formally in Jerusalem in 1969 under a resolution of the government of Israel in January 1968, in cooperation with other interested institutions. Only with the establishment of the State of Israel and with the "ingathering of the exiles" was it possible to attempt an "ingathering of the nation's records" in order to perpetuate the collective memory of the Jewish people. Special attention was given to the archives of communities and organizations which had been destroyed or were in the process of disappearing. Thus, all the community records remaining in West Germany after World War ii, a large portion of the Gesamtarchiv der deutschen Juden (see above) among them, were brought to Jerusalem.
The archives are engaged in three main activities: the transfer to Israel of community and organizational archives and private collections of prominent Jews, and the preserving, classifying, and placing of them at the disposal of historians and students; photographing documents relating to Jewish history in archives abroad; and compiling a central catalog of all the archival material relating to Jewish history which exists in Jewish and non-Jewish archives all over the world. Accordingly there are three main departments in the cahjp:
This department contains complete archives and fragments, registers (pinkasim), charters and deeds from about 1,300 communities on five continents – mainly from Europe, the Americas, and North Africa – as well as records of many organizations and private papers of families and personalities. The material dates from the 15th century to the present and is arranged according to territorial divisions, following the political borders between the World Wars, with every territorial division preserving, in turn, the original structure of its segments (i.e., archives of communities, organizations, etc.); it also includes a collection of single documents, Memorbooks (e.g., Halberstadt, Coblenz, and Kreuznach), and files not necessarily connected with any archival unit.
The following community archives are worthy of special mention:
Austria, Vienna (1812– ); Czechoslovakia, pinkasim from Boskovice, Konice, Mikulov (Nikolsburg), Prostějov, and Trebič (some of them dating from the beginning of the 17th century); France (dating from the 16th century), Alsace, Avignon, Bordeaux, Carpentras, Cavaillon, Metz, Nancy, and Paris; Germany, Altona-Hamburg-Wandsbeck (from 1669, including the archives of the rabbinical court in Altona, and of the talmud torah), Ansbach (1616– ), Bamberg (1748– ), Bayreuth (1709– ), Berlin (1755– ), Bingen (1674– ), Danzig (1694– ), Darmstadt (1663– ), Floss (1682– ), Frankfurt on the Oder (1736– ), Halberstadt (1613– ), Koenigsberg (1769– ), Mainz (1661– ), Offenbach on the Main (1716– ), Regensburg (1788– ), Worms (1552– ), Wuerzburg (1684– ), and Zuelz (1627– ); Italy, the M. and U. Morpurgo and N. Rossi collection (material from Padua and Rovigo), the H.E. Sereni collection (Modena, Pisa, and Rome), the Alliance Israélite Universelle in northern Italy; and Poland, Grodzisk, Katowice, Krotoszyn (1747– ), Poznań (1595– ), and Rawicz.
Special interterritorial subdivisions contain private collections and archives of international organizations. Among them are the records of the Schwarzbard Defense Council set up by the Comité des Délégations Juives in Paris (1926–28); the files of the Jewish Palestinian League of Nations Society (1926–39); Reuben Brainin's diaries; the papers of S. Dubnow; Ismar Freund, (emancipation and legal status of German Jewry); J.L. Magnes (including the records of the kehillah of New York City, part of these papers are in the Museum at Berkeley, California); and the following collections: Z. Broches, New England Jewry; P. Diamant, genealogy; N.M. Gelber, Polish Jewry; L. Lamm, Ginsburg family, and the Jews of Swabia; I. Prins, Jews of Holland and Belgium; L. Motzkin, Russian pogroms and emigration; and M. Stern, German and Italian Jewry. A division of special collections – statutes, reports, etc., in print; genealogy; newspaper clippings; photographs; and tape recordings
This contains over three million frames from Jewish and non-Jewish archives abroad, beginning with the 12th century: communities of Yugoslavia, Amsterdam (Sephardi and Ashkenazi Congregations, and the pinkasim of outgoing letters of the Pekidim ve-Amarkalim); Copenhagen; Leghorn; Mantua; Reggio-Emilia; Rome; Venice; Consistoire Central and Alliance Israélite Universelle in Paris; and records from scores of state and municipal archives in Austria, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.
This department contains lists of material in archives abroad. Systematic surveys are being carried out in archives of Jewish communities and organizations, which are still located in the places of origin, as well as in state, municipal, ecclesiastical, and private archives in all the European countries in which it has been possible for the Central Archives to operate; mainly Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Yugoslavia. There are altogether some 200 catalogs.
An auxiliary library contains reference literature, monographs, and published documents relating to communities and institutions, the records of which are kept in the cahjp.
[Daniel J. Cohen]
The Central Zionist Archives (cza) are the historical archives of the Zionist Movement and the Zionist Organization which were founded in Berlin in 1919 by G. *Herlitz, who was director of the archives until 1955. In 1933 they were moved to Jerusalem. A. *Bein joined the archives in 1936 and succeeded Herlitz as director in 1955. The 24th Zionist Congress (1956) recognized the cza as the official historical archives of the Zionist Movement and the Jewish Agency, as well as all their affiliated institutions.
The archives consist of the following major divisions: (a) the official files of the Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency, and their various institutions from the founding of the Zionist Organization in 1897 to the present day, including those of the national Zionist Federations, the Zionist funds (Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod, etc.), and the Land Development Co., Bank Leumi, etc.; (b) archives of the yishuv prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. This division includes the archives of the *Va'ad Le'ummi and of its predecessor, the Provisional Council of the Jews of Ereẓ Israel; of the Jewish communities of Jerusalem, Haifa, Aḥuzzat Bayit, and Tiberias; important parts of the *pica archives, and the archives of various settlers' associations, organizations, and settlements; (c) the archives of the *Ḥibbat Zion movement, of non-official bodies, and various other Jewish national organizations; these include the archives of the central committee of the Ḥovevei Zion society, the British Ḥovevei Zion society, the *Benei Moshe Society, and the Jewish Territorial Organization; Zionist youth and students movements, such as Blau-Weiss, Kadimah, kjv, etc.; and (d) official archives containing only part of the historical documentation and important material being preserved in the private archives of leading Zionist personalities. The cza have systematically endeavored to acquire such private archives, now about 300 in number, from the Ḥibbat Zion period up to the present. A very significant unit in this collection is the literary and political archive of Theodor *Herzl, a collection of some 5,000 of his letters in original, facsimile, photostat, or transcripts, as well as other documentary material. Other private archives in this division are those of presidents of the Zionist Organization – David Wolffsohn, Otto Warburg, Nahum Sokolow (including his library), Nahum Goldmann – and of other prominent Jews such as: C. Arlosoroff, E. Ben-Yehuda, I. Ben-Zvi, M. Buber (Zionist material only), Z.H. Chajes, F. Frankfurter (Zionist material only), H. Friedenwald, R. Gottheil, M. Hess, Zadoc Kahn, Ẓ. H. Kalischer, S. Levin, M.L. Lilienblum, L. Motzkin, M. Nordau, S.P. Rabinowitz, A. Ruppin, H. Shapira, M. Sharett, H. Struck, H. Szold, J. Trumpeldor, M. Ussishkin, I. Zangwill.
The library of the cza contains about 60,000 books and booklets in every language and is the most comprehensive collection on Zionism and the yishuv. The collection of periodicals and bulletins consists of most of the Zionist newspapers that appeared in Israel and abroad, especially since 1918. The collection of nonperiodical printed items contains many thousands of announcements and placards, leaflets, circulars, etc. The collection of photographs has about 75,000 photographs and negatives of personalities, events, settlements, etc., including the collection of Oron (Oroshkes), the Jerusalem photographer. The microfilm section contains many files and documents on the history of Zionism, photographed in various archives and relevant files of various foreign ministries. The audio division is made up of tape recordings of Zionist Congresses, the Zionist "Actions Committee," etc.
The Herzl Museum, established in 1960 on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, forms a special division of the Archives. Utilizing the documents in their possession, the cza are publishing a comprehensive edition of Herzl's letters and writings in Hebrew translation, and assisting in the publication of his writings in other languages. The material for the publication of Moshe *Sharett's writings is also being collected in the Achives.
The cza publish a bibliographical bulletin, which lists the publications of Zionist institutions and newly published Zionist literature. Other regular publications are its reports to Zionist Congresses, and an annual report on its operations.
Little information is available concerning the archives of the Jewish communities in Ereẓ Israel after the mishnaic period down to modern times (for ancient times see above [Biblical Period]). Nevertheless, large communities such as Safed and Hebron must have maintained an archive of important documents, such as title deeds and correspondence with the authorities. From the archives of the communities and kolelim only a few remnants have been preserved in libraries and private collections. Most of the material was destroyed by fire, lost through negligence, or was otherwise dispersed. Collections of letters addressed to them by the Jewish communities in Ereẓ Israel, especially after the beginning of the 19th century, are extant in community archives abroad, as well as in the private archives of outstanding personalities such as Moses Montefiore (see I. Ben-Zvi's publications on the subject, collected in volumes 2 and 3 of his writings, Meḥkarim u-Mekorot ("Studies and Sources") and She'ar Yashuv).
A decisive change took place in the last quarter of the 19th century, when the first self-supporting Jewish settlements were established. The new situation in which Ereẓ Israel Jews found themselves was mirrored in the structure, contents, and organization of their archives. From the beginning the new settlements took care to preserve the documents, and these reflect not only their community life – as was the custom of the communities in the Diaspora – but touch upon all aspects of the yishuv's life. Many settlements have succeeded in preserving a large part of their files, and documents, including the minutes of the meetings of their administrative bodies from the day of their establishment; nearly all of them have in their archives the files which have accumulated since the end of World War i (during which a great many documents were lost). These archives, however, are only in the first stage of their preparation for scientific study.
The establishment of scientific historical archives, in the modern sense, in Ereẓ Israel, each relating to a well-defined area of interest, dates back to 1933. In that year the Central Zionist Archives (cza; see above and below), founded in Berlin in 1919, were transferred to Jerusalem, and at about the same time a special archive of the Labor Movement was established in Tel Aviv (see Labor Archives below). In 1939 the General (now Central) Archives for the History of the Jewish People (cahjp) were set up in Jerusalem.
The establishment of the State of Israel influenced the development of archives in several ways. Since the yishuv had now assumed full authority for the conduct of its affairs, the current archives (registries) which were set up by the government ministries and the authorities, reflect the entire range of the country's life. The great aliyah movement – "The Ingathering of the Exiles" – also created the demand to gather the documents telling of their past history. An article by A. Bein, "Sources of Jewish History – a National Need" (in: Zion-New Judea, no. 1 (1951), 20ff.), inaugurated a systematic effort in this field. New state or public archives were created and existing ones put on a firmer basis. In 1948 the Army Archives were founded, in 1949 the State Archives, and in 1953 the Yad Vashem archives. The enactment of an "Archives Law" by the Knesset in 1955, followed by a meeting of the Supreme Archives Council and the appointment of a State archivist, A. Bein, in August 1956, provided a new legal and operational basis for the functioning of an organized archives system. This was complemented by the establishment, in 1956, of the Israel Archives Association, a voluntary organization designed to promote cooperation among the country's archives.
The Archives Law had the following purposes: to provide the legal basis for the State Archives, which in fact had been created six years before, and to define the scope of its authority; to regulate the function of the registries in the government ministries, with special emphasis on the preservation or disposal of files; to organize and regulate the functioning of registries and archives by the local authorities; to supervise the work of historical archives maintained by nongovernmental organizations, recognized by the government as "public archives"; and to ensure the proper maintenance of historically valuable archives in private possession. The archives system is headed by the State archivist, who is also the head of the Supreme Archives Council, a body composed of representatives of government ministries and the public archives, and of experts in the field; the Council is a consultative body and, in certain instances, also serves as an appeals board. There are also various permanent committees assisting the State archivist and the Council, the most important of which are: the permanent committee on the disposal of archival material in government offices and in those of local authorities; the committee on professional terminology (relating to archives); and the coordination committee for public archives.
The following archives fall under the law:
The State Archives (see below) and the Army Archives (see below) are government controlled, with the latter being legally part of the State Archives, but administratively an independent unit under the Defense Ministry.
Archives of Local Authorities (municipal archives)
As mentioned above, a great amount of files and documents have been accumulated in the various municipal units, which came into being as a result of their current operations; these archives represent valuable historical records, but thus far only a few have been organized into modern archives. Municipal archives have been established in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and beginnings have been made in Petaḥ Tikvah, Reḥovot, Afulah, Netanyah, and Ramat ha-Sharon. More substantial progress has been made in the organization of local archives in the kibbutzim. Also envisaged is the establishment of district archives. These would function as branches of the State Archives and would serve as the repository of the archival material from settlements which do not maintain any historical archives of their own.
These consist of the following: (1) the Central Zionist Archives (cza) in Jerusalem; (2) the Labor Archives and Museum, Tel Aviv – the central archives of the *Histadrut, and its affiliated institutions; (3) the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (cahjp); (4) the Yad Vashem archives; (5) the *Weizmann Archives, Reḥovot, established in 1951 as a part of Yad Chaim Weizmann (of special significance for the collection of Weizmann's letters now in the course of publication); (6) the Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv, founded in 1933 as the Betar Museum, which took its present name in 1947, and whose task it is to collect material on the life and work of *Jabotinsky, youth movements and underground organizations founded or inspired by him; (7) Bet Aronson in Zikhron Ya'akov, which contains the private and public archives of Aaron *Aaronsohn, his brother Alexander, and his sister, Sarah; (8) the Archives of Religious Zionism, Jerusalem, which were established in 1953 as a part of the Mosad ha-Rav Kook (among its collections: the archives of the Mizrachi World Organization (1919–48), the archives of the Jerusalem branch of Ha-Po'el ha-Mizrachi (1930–48), and the private archive of Rabbi J.L. *Maimon); (9) the archives of Ha-Kibbutz ha-Arẓi of *Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir, Merḥavyah, which were established in 1937 as the first archive of a political movement in Ereẓ Israel and serves as the historical archive of Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir kibbutzim in Israel and of the Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir world movement (from 1911); (10) the archives of Ha-Kibbutz ha-Me'uḥad, in En-Harod, which were established in 1957; (11) The Isaac Katznelson Ghetto Fighters Museum Commemorating the Holocaust and the Resistance, which was founded in 1950 (includes the archives of the world He-Ḥalutz movement); (12) the archives of the Teachers' Association, Tel Aviv, which were established in 1959 to collect information on Hebrew education abroad and education in general in Israel; and (13) the Israel Film Art Archives, Haifa, which were founded in 1961 and collect significant Israel and Jewish films, as well as films that were inspired by Jewish life or are based on Jewish literary works.
The Archives Law provides for the listing by the State archivists of all private archives that are of value to the public. Some 200 such archives have been listed (numerous private archives, as well, have been deposited in government and public archives, esp. in the cza). The archives maintained by political parties are also regarded as "private" archives (such as those of Mapai at Bet Berl, Tel Aviv, on its way to becoming a proper historical archive).
Important archival material is also at the National and University Library in Jerusalem, which before the establishment of special archives also served as the repository of the archives of public institutions and personalities. The material stored in the library is divided into the following groups: a section containing over 150 pinkasim of communities and institutions in Israel and abroad; the archives of outstanding personalities, especially scholars and writers, and which include the archives of Aḥad Ha-Am, Simḥa Assaf, Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, M.D. Gaon, J.L. Gordon, Eliahu Gutmacher, Joseph Klausner, J.L. Landau, Moritz Lazarus, Joseph Popper-Lynkeus, Stefan Zweig (letters he received from other authors), and Leopold Zunz; collections of letters of David Oppenheim, Akiva Eger, and J.L. Dukes, and of the early protagonists of the Wissenschaft des Judentums, as well as collections of letters concerning the history of Jewish settlement in Jerusalem; and a comprehensive collection of *autographs and portraits, founded by Abraham Schwadron-Sharon, which contains letters and documents of prominent Jews.
The Asher Barash bio-bibliographical institute in Tel Aviv, was founded in 1953 by the Hebrew Writers' Association and contains the archives, manuscripts, and correspondence of Hebrew writers. There are also archives devoted to famous authors, such as Bet Bialik and Bet Shalom Aleichem in Tel Aviv (the latter also contains the archive of Y.D. Berkowitz, Shalom Aleichem's son-in-law and the Hebrew translator of his works).
A significant feature of the Israel Archives is the demarcation of the respective spheres of interest of the various archives and the coordination of their activities in order to avoid duplication and competition in the acquisition of material. The Israel Archives have organized professional courses at the Hebrew University, the graduates of which are awarded the designation of "archivist"; in addition, there are extension courses for the training of archives personnel. All the existing archives operate on the basis of approved statutes and are open to the public. Most of them follow the practice of the State Archives, whose files are made available for study after 20 years in the case of administrative files; 30 years, political files; or 50 years, security files and personal papers. In 1966 the Israel Archives Association published a guide (in Hebrew) to the historical archives of the country, which contains detailed lists of their contents.
The State (of Israel) Archives
These archives were established in 1949 as part of the prime minister's office and were initially designed to collect documentary material – in manuscript, print, picture, and sound – relating to the history, organization, and operations of the state, and to conserve archival records of the Mandatory government departments which had remained in the country after its evacuation by the British. Even before the official establishment of the archives, the secretariat of the provisional government had taken care to assemble the files of the Mandate administration which had been found in the abandoned government offices. When the first archives director, Sophia Udin, was appointed in August 1949, the work of classifying and listing the large quantity of archival material was taken in hand. Special care was taken to collect the official publications of all state and local authorities. In 1953 the Knesset passed a law amending the Press Ordinance of 1933, which provided for the deposition in the State Archives of one copy of every publication appearing in Israel. In 1955 the Knesset passed the Archives Law, which provided the legal basis for the operation of the State Archives and the safeguarding of public records in the country. The law designates the State Archives as the sole repository of the historical records of all government departments and institutions, including the office of the state president, the Knesset, the Foreign Ministry and its missions abroad, and the police and the courts. In 1955 the State Archives were transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; this marked the conclusion of the first stage in their development. In 1957 P.A. Alsberg was appointed director of the State Archives.
The application of the Archives Law required certain changes in the definition of the State Archives' functions. Only such documentary material as is of sufficient value to be kept indefinitely would be deposited in the State Archives. A special unit was established to supervise filing and archive operations in the government ministries and local authorities. Rules and regulations were published regarding the disposal of insignificant files, a prerequisite for the preservation of important archival material. In 1964 the Archives Law was amended to extend to governmental companies, and a Cabinet resolution (dated Nov. 22, 1959) charged the State Archives with the task of ensuring the exchange of official publications with foreign countries, as provided by the 1958 unesco convention. At the beginning of 1969, the State Archives contained deposits extending over approximately seven kilometers of shelf space (20,000 cu. ft.). Very little official material relating to the period of Ottoman rule is available; it consists of the lists of the censuses carried out between 1869 and 1917, and a limited amount of documents and registers from the office of the Jerusalem district governor relating to the period 1907–13. On the other hand, a great deal of material from the Mandatory period has been preserved; it consists of most of the files of the chief secretariat, the attorney general's office, the offices of the district commissioners, and a large part of the files of the various government departments. The number of files of Israel state and government institutions, which are deposited in the archives, has shown a steady rise. The president's office, the Knesset, and all ministries have made their first deposits of old files and documents of a special nature, such as credentials presented to the president, laws bearing the state seal, and special agreements. They are currently deposited with the archives. Large numbers of court files, dating back to the Mandatory government, are also stored because of their legal, sociological, and historical value.
These include the proceedings of trials that aroused special public interest and the proceedings of trials under the Law on the Punishment of Nazis and their Collaborators, including the files of the *Eichmann trial. Of special interest, from the point of view of historical research, are private archives and nongovernmental files. Among these are a great number of files from the German Consulate in Jerusalem (1839–1939), which were acquired by the State Archives when they were about to be disposed of as waste paper. Valuable Arab archives were found in abandoned houses and offices during the *War of Independence (1948), the *Sinai Campaign, and the *Six-Day War. In order to facilitate the use of its deposits, the State Archives publish series of reference guides. The first are: Herbert Samuel, a register of his papers; records of the chief secretary's office, 1918–1925; records of the Emergency Committee, 1947–1948; and records of the Prisoners' Welfare Society "Le-Assirenu," 1947–1949. The State Archives also publish "List of Government Publications" (Heb., from 1956 to 1965, quarterly, and since then annually). Other publications are designed to serve as instructions for operation of archives by the ministries and local authorities.
[Paul Awraham Alsberg]
Labor Archives (and Museum)
They were established in 1932 by S. Eisenstadt, who was their director until 1941, and confirmed in 1962 by the Central Committee of the Histadrut as the central archives of all Histadrut institutions. The Labor archives contain complete or partial archives of various institutions, parties, and organizations in the Zionist labor movement in Israel and abroad, including those of the Agricultural Center, the Labor Councils of many towns and settlements, and the private archives and collections of the leading figures in the labor movement. Of special importance are the collections of periodicals published by the Labor movement in Israel and abroad.
Periodically, the archives issue Asuppot, which contains documents and articles; they have also published the anthology Ha-Shomer (1938).
Israel Defense Forces
The archives of the Israel Defense Forces (idf), in Givatayim were established in 1948 on the instructions of the then defense minister David Ben-Gurion to R.R. Lev, who was its director until 1953. These archives developed rapidly under their second director M. Shilo who retired in 1968. Their task is to receive and preserve the documentary material of the Israel Defense Forces and the defense establishment and to prepare it for historical study. Owing to the special circumstances under which the various branches of the Army perform their function, the archives also have to receive and store comparatively recent files which are no longer in current use, even if they are not intended for permanent storage. They therefore serve both as a records center and as historical archives. When the Archives Law was passed, the Army archives were declared a part of the State Archives, but they have remained an administrative unit of the Ministry of Defense.
The voluminous documentary material in the Army archives covers the entire operations of the idf and the defense establishment from their beginning. In view of the security classification of the material, the Army archives are, for the time being, not open to the public. A multi-storied building in Givatayim houses the archives.
The Haganah Archives, kept until 1969 at Bet Eliyahu, in Tel Aviv, the Haganah Museum, are now also attached to the Army archives. Their collection includes originals and photocopies of material pertaining to the Haganah organization in Palestine, its operations, and personalities, as well as the records of the Aliyah Bet (illegal immigration) organization. This collection will provide the basic material for a history of the Haganah.
ancient period: B. Meissner, Babylonien und Assyrien, 2 (1925), passim; G.R. Driver, Semitic Writing (1954), passim; Schneider, in: Orientalia, 9 (1940), 1ff.; Weitermeyer, in: Libri, 6 (1955–56), 217ff.; Burr, in: Zeitschrift fuer Bibliothekwesen und Bibliographie, 14 (1967), 154ff.; Goosens, in: ra, 46 (1952), 98; Otten, in: Das Altertum, 1 (1955), 67ff.; Papritz, in: Archivalische Zeitschrift, 55 (1959), 11–12; Handbuch der Bibliothekwissenschaft, 3, pt. 1 (1955); Leemans, in: ra, 48 (1954), 57ff.; Offner, in: za, 40 (1950), 133ff.; Kraus, in: jcs, 3 (1951), 122ff.; Weidner, in: afo, 16 (1952–53), 198ff. general: Baron, Community, index; jsos, 8 (1946), 5–103 (supplement); 10 (1948), 3–16 (supplement); Schwarzfuchs, in: Archivum, 4 (1954), 165ff.; Zivier, in: mgwj, 49 (1905), 209ff.; A. Bein, Al Atido shel Avarenu (1963); Jones, in: Archaeology, 9 (1956), 16ff. england: C. Roth, Archives of the United Synagogue (1930). france: Cahen, in: Gazette des Archives, 39 (1963), 177ff. austria: A.F. Pribram, Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Wien, 2 vols. (1918); B. Wachstein, Urkunden und Akten… (1926). On Holocaust, see *Holocaust, Sources and Literature. cahjp: D.J. Cohen, in: ylbi, 1 (1956), 331ff.; 3 (1958), 3ff.; Ha-Ḥevrah ha-Ereẓ-Yisre'elit le-Historyah ve-Etnografyah, Ha-Arkhiyyon ha-Kelali le-Toledot Yisrael (1964), with selective list of archives and collections in Hebrew and English; Ha-Iggud ha-Arkhiyyoni be-Yisrael, Madrikh la-Arkhiyyonim ha-Historiyyim be-Yisrael (1966) 9ff.; Archivum, 15 (1965), 207ff.; Accounts of the archives' current acquisitions and activities are regularly appended to Zion, published by the Historical Society of Israel. cza: Central Zionist Archives, List of Archives and Collection of Documents… (1965); Herzl Museum, Guide and List of Exhibits. archives in ereẒ israel: Bein, in: Archivum, 11 (1961), 171ff.; Alsberg et al., ibid., 9 (1959), 101ff.; Bein, in: Israel Archives Association, Archives in Israel (1959); idem, Ḥok ha-Arkhiyyonim u-Mashma'uto (1957); idem, in: Early History of Zionism in America (1958), 109ff.; Bein and Heymann, in: Zionist Year Book, 8 (1959), 1ff.; idem, Eser Shanim le-Viẓu'o shel Ḥok ha-Arkhiyyonim (1967); Israel Govt., Laws of the State of Israel, Archives Law (1955) and Archives Regulations (1967); Brilling, in: Der Archivar, 20 (1967), 399ff.; Karmish, in: Yad Vashem Bulletin, 16 (1965), 17ff. state archives: igyb, 3 (1951– ). labor archives: Histadrut ha-Ovedim…, Shenaton ha-Histadrut, 1 (1963– ). arkhiyyon Ẓahal: igyb, 2 (1950– ).
ArchivesTHE NECESSITY OF ARCHIVES
THE FIRST GENERATION
THE PROFESSIONALIZATION OF FILM ARCHIVES
MOVING IMAGE ARCHIVES AND HISTORY
Film and television history can only be written, evaluated, and rewritten with the cooperation of archives, since most primary materials in the public domain—that is, not in the hands of collectors—are housed in archives and libraries. For scholars of media, knowledge of the archives and their holdings are essential for their work. Film and television archives were established to preserve the objects that document the history of these media; they collect both the actual software or products (films, videotapes), as well as the material culture of these media. Such material culture includes production and distribution documents, stills, production photos, sets, props, costumes, theater programs, trade periodicals, fan magazines, personal papers of filmmakers, call sheets, financial documents, production schedules, awards, technical manuals of equipment manufacturers, cameras, projectors, window and theater displays, and other related items.
Of all the films produced during the silent era (1895–1930), approximately 95 percent have been lost. Of all films produced during the nitrate sound film era (1930–1955), only about 50 percent survive in any form. Even many films from the most recent years of film history have failed to survive, due to color fading, marginal status (industrial films), and archaic formats (for example, Cinerama). Probably as much as 60 percent of all television production has been lost.
Films from the entire nitrate era (1895–1955, silent and sound) have decomposed due to poor storage conditions. In the first stage of decomposition, the film turns sticky, while the image disappears in a gelatinous mass. In the second phase, the film roll solidifies into a hard disk, making the retrieval of any images virtually impossible. Finally, the material turns into a brown powder. Since nitrate film is highly flammable, many films were lost in fires. In fact, it was not uncommon for commercial film companies to burn their vault holdings because they saw old films as merely a liability and an expense once they had made their initial theatrical runs. Not until the advent of television and later consumer video were rereleases of economic interest to the major corporate studios.
Other problems of film stability appeared with time. In the 1970s, it was discovered that newer acetate films decomposed through what was termed the "vinegar syndrome." Rather than turning gooey, the films became brittle and buckled, making them unprojectable. Color film was also subject to decay. While the old Technicolor films have remained relatively stable, color film stocks from the 1950s (Eastmancolor) have been subject to extreme fading, leaving prints and negatives looking pink after only two decades or less. Finally, the advent of television and video brought with it more than three dozen television and video formats that appeared and disappeared over the last forty years, making it necessary to preserve not only the electronic moving images in these formats but also the equipment that played them. For example, many two-inch quad tapes (the first videotape format from the late 1950s) can no longer be accessed because the large and cumbersome machines used to play such tapes no longer exist. Unlike film material, which can be viewed with the naked eye or with standardized projectors, videotapes are encoded and decoded by machines from specific manufacturers and are usually incompatible with machines from another manufacturer.
The whole area of digital information preservation and access, whether on the Internet or on DVDs and other new digital media, compounds issues of format migration and is only now being confronted by moving image and sound archivists. For film and television archivists, these new media present ever greater challenges, given a lack of standardization on the one hand and the ephemeral nature of the media on the other. Formats are appearing and disappearing even more rapidly than was the case with analog video, making preservation a complex issue, indeed. Furthermore, many classic films still held by copyright holders are being digitized and often manipulated in ways not intended by the original producers, making them more commercial but no longer true to their original content and form. For example, recent DVD "restorations" of some classic Technicolor musicals no longer look like the original Technicolor, which is characterized by garish color and a slightly soft focus, because it is now possible to eliminate these "defects" digitally.
The first generation of film archivists were essentially collectors interested in showing their treasures. Before the age of television, old films were virtually impossible to see, since producers had little interest in saving material that had outlived its economic usefulness. Furthermore, mainstream cultural institutions and governments considered the cinema a crass commercial enterprise, a form of communication not worthy of serious intellectual consideration. Having what Roland Barthes has called "bad object" status, the cinema was mistreated by governments, institutions of education, and commercial interests alike.
In the 1920s, a minority of intellectuals began championing the cinema as a new art form, advocating the creation of noncommercial screening spaces and the establishment of archives for the preservation of old films. Once sound film was introduced between 1927 and 1931, however, the matter of the medium's survival became critical, since silent films were considered obsolete. Yet in that era many critics, historians, and cinephiles believed that silent film was a superior art form, one that deserved to be preserved. The first film archive in the world was established at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, New York) in 1935 by Iris Barry and her husband, John Abbott—both cinephiles who understood that the cinema was potentially a modern art. A year later, two young Frenchmen, Henri Langlois (1914–1977) and Georges Franju (1912–1987), founded the Cinémathèque Française in Paris as a private initiative. Before the decade was out, two more archives were founded in London (the National Film Library) and Berlin (Reichsfilmarchiv). While the latter two were national in scope, the MoMA Film Library and the Cinémathèque collected internationally. Together, these archives established the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF) in 1938. After World War II, FIAF expanded considerably with the founding of film archives in Switzerland, Prague, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Rochester (New York), and Moscow. By 1959, FIAF consisted of thirty-three members and by the turn of the millennium had over 120 archives associated with the organization.
The priority of the members of FIAF, then, was to collect films. Not without some justification, it was thought that the very act of collecting prints also contributed to their preservation. Just as important as collecting films was the act of screening them, making them live again on the screen for a new generation of filmgoers. Most of the first generation of film archivists, including Henri Langlois (Paris), James Card (Rochester), Maria Adriana Prolo (Turin), Jan de Vaal (Amsterdam), Jacques Ledoux (Brussels), Einar Lauritzen (Stockholm), and Freddy Buache (Lausanne), were indeed film collectors rather than film archivists. Films were stored in vaults that often did not meet standards for archival security, and catalogs consisted more often than not of lists printed in loose-leaf notebooks.
On the positive side, many films were indeed saved from destruction because the mentality of the film collector precluded throwing anything away. In other words, most of the first generation believed in saving every film they could get their hands on, legally, semi-legally, or illegally. Indeed, until quite recently film archives often operated without the blessing of film companies and rights holders; according to the strict letter of the law, only the rights holders could acquire films, making the very act of collecting illegal.
Finally, by the end of the 1960s, numerous countries around the world had established film and television archives, often funded by their governments. This was the case in Canada, for example, where, after numerous government and private initiatives, a national film archive was established in 1969. In the United States, however, moving image archives remained for the most part private affairs. At the same time, film companies soon realized that they had lost many films, which now only existed in the archives—films that could not be resold to television and later remarketed as videos.
b. Smryna (Izmir), Turkey, 13 November 1914, d. Paris, France, 13 January 1977
The cofounder of the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, Henri Langlois belonged to the first generation of film archivists, most of whom were dedicated cinephiles rather than trained archivists. Over a forty-year period he amassed one of the largest cinema collections in the world, but unfortunately a significant percentage decomposed due to poor storage conditions.
In 1934, already mad about movies, Langlois started a film club, the Cercle du Cinéma, with his friend, the filmmaker Georges Franju. With a 10,000-franc donation from the publisher of La Cinématographie Français, the Cinémathèque Française was officially established on 2 September 1936.
Although extremely disorganized, Langlois was a rabid collector, taking in any and all films. According to Langlois, films were to be preserved by showing them, not by placing them in an archive. He is quoted as saying: "Order? That is for the Germans." In 1938, Langlois joined forces with Iris Barry (Museum of Modern Art), Olwen Vaughn (British Film Institute), and Frank Hensel (Reichsfilmarchiv) to form the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF). Thanks to excellent relations with the Reichsfilmarchiv, Langlois could protect the Cinémathèque's holdings during the German occupation of France during World War II; indeed, Langlois's first office was at the Nazi German film office in Paris. After World War II, the Cinémathèque became the epicenter for the French New Wave. By the early 1960s, the forty programs a week in two cinemas (Ulm opened in 1955 and Chaillot in 1963), functioned as a film school for aspiring filmmakers . Retrospectives were organized around directors or countries; there, Alain Resnais, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, among others, discovered the work of Louis Feuillade, Jean Renoir, and Erich von Stroheim.
In 1962, Langlois dropped out of FIAF, apparently on a whim, but by then the Cinémathèque's fame was so great that he continued to deal with most archives, also curating series at the Cannes and Venice film festivals. However, with increased funding from the French government, the state demanded an end to the chaos in the archive and in 1964 appointed an administrative council and director over Langlois. On 9 February 1968, Langlois was fired and Pierre Barbin was named the new director of the Cinémathèque, leading to a firestorm of protest in the press and on the streets as dozens of well-known film directors came to Langlois's defense while police bloodied protestors. On 22 April, Langlois was reinstated by the administrative council, but it was a pyrrhic victory because the government withdrew almost all of its funding. While Langlois was able to open the MuséeduCinéma in June 1972, thémathèque's finances remained chaotic. Today, Langlois remains a controversial figure in the film archives world.
Card, James. "In Memoriam: Henri Langlois." Film Comment 13, no. 2 (1977): 33.
Myrent, Glenn, and Georges P. Langlois. Henri Langlois: First Citizen of Cinema. Boston: Twayne, 1994.
Roud, Richard. A Passion for Films: Henri Langlois and the Cinémathèque Française. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
In the late 1960s, with the development in the United States of government funding sources for preservation through the National Endowment for the Arts and the growth of local, regional, and television archives, a sea change occurred in the US archival community. While moving image preservation had previously been handled by only a few nitrate-holding archives, including George Eastman House, UCLA Film and Television Archives, MoMA, and the Library of Congress Motion Picture Division, literally dozens of new archives were founded in the following years, making the need for a North American organization apparent. Suddenly a host of regional archives, archives of special collections (dance film, for example), and television news archives appeared on the scene. What had been a loose organization of film and television archives at the end of the 1970s, the Film Archives Advisory Committee/Television Archives Advisory Committee (FAAC/TAAC) was formalized into a new organization, the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), founded in 1990. Unlike FIAF, which was based on institutional membership, AMIA
became an organization of individual archivists and other persons engaged in film and television preservation, including commercial laboratories, the major studios, and stock shot houses. By 2003, membership had grown to nearly one thousand, with yearly conferences, a newsletter, archival education, scholarships, a journal, and an Internet Listserv as a part of its mandate. The organization has also expanded from a strictly North American organization of archivists to one with members from all over the world. As a result of these structural changes, the field of film and video preservation has matured from a group of individual collectors into a discipline with standards and sanctioned practices.
While films and videos were often stored in substandard environments, film/video archivists now attempt to maintain strict standards for climate control and vault safety. By the late 1980s, it became increasingly clear that both acetate and nitrate materials benefited from extremely low humidity and very cold environments. The lifespan of nitrate film, for example, could be doubled by lowering the ambient temperature in a vault by 5 degrees and the humidity by 5 percent. Storage suddenly became the first line of defense for preservation, not the transfer of images to newer film stocks, making the 1970s slogan "Nitrate Can't Wait" an anachronism. At the same time, the Library of Congress and other institutions developed cataloging standards for moving image materials, while the archives themselves began the massive project of properly cataloging their holdings. Finally, most archives discontinued the old policy of sending out "unprotected" prints (materials that had not been preserved) for screenings. Instead, preservation priorities were often formulated based on the need for public access to given titles.
Making all this possible was regularized funding. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was created in the United States in September 1965 through an act of Congress. Based on a recommendation from the Stanford Research Institute, in June 1967 the NEA formally awarded a 1.3 million dollar grant for the establishment of an American Film Institute (AFI), which furthermore received matching grants from the Ford Foundation and the Motion Picture Association of America. Based on the model of the British Film Institute, the AFI's mandate was to support the production of quality films, train filmmakers, and foster the preservation of American film. From the start, the AFI's role was not actually to preserve film, but to act as a conduit for collecting films and funding archives, such as the Library of Congress and George Eastman House. Essentially, the AFI became a regrant agency for NEA film preservation funds, while taking an allowable 30–35 percent cut for administrative overhead. And while the archives received a total of more than 10.5 million dollars for film preservation between 1968 and 1972, the AFI's overhead costs took an ever bigger bite out of funding so that by 1972 film preservation accounted for a mere 9 percent of its expenditures. The NEA continued funding the archives through the 1970s and 1980s, but its funding levels remained at about 350,000–450,000 dollars despite inflationary costs for film preservation due to increased laboratory costs.
While the NEA discontinued funding moving image archives in the early 1990s, other organizations took up the challenge. As early as the late 1980s, the American Film Institute's campaign "Nitrate Won't Wait" had increased public consciousness about the need to save and preserve the precious moving image heritage. Through the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, Congress established a National Film Preservation Board and created a National Film Registry (twenty-five titles are added each year by the Librarian of Congress), which identifies "national film treasures." The initial impetus for the act was the concern over the commercial treatment of classic films, including re-editing to fit television time slots, panning and scanning to fit the television screen, and electronic colorization of black-and-white materials.
The National Film Preservation Board consists of appointed representatives from virtually all of the medium's professional organizations, including the Society of Cinema and Media Studies, the Screen Actors Guild, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the National Society of Film Critics. The reauthorization of the board in 1992 asked the Library of Congress to complete a study of the state of film preservation, Film Preservation 1993, which in turn led to the founding of the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) in 1999. The NFPF, which was reappropriated by Congress in April 2005, is now funding film preservation projects at a national level through direct government monies and grants from private foundations and companies. While the National Film Registry's titles are overwhelmingly culled from mainstream Hollywood's output, the NFPF mandate is to fund only so-called orphan films (films that were never copyrighted or have entered the public domain). As a result, many previously marginalized films and film genres, including amateur films, industrial films, educational films, medical films, avant-garde films, and silent films are being preserved.
The 1990s also saw a number of private foundations become involved in the preservation of films, including the Film Foundation (founded by Martin Scorsese [b.1942] in 1992), and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, both of which have shown a preference for classic Hollywood cinema. Meanwhile, the major film studios, including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros. and Universal Studios have redoubled their own preservation efforts, at least of materials on which they own copyright or which they are planning to rerelease in digital formats. In 1997, the Librarian of Congress commissioned another study to look at the state of television preservation, Television and Video Preservation 1997: A Report on the Current State of American Television and Video Preservation. Seven years later, the National Television and Video Preservation Foundation (NTVPF) was finally established, albeit without the participation of Congress or the Library of Congress, which had initially funded the NFPF. Instead, Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), and Jim Lindner, a video preservationist, have made initial cash donations, while video laboratories have offered in-kind services. The NTVPF has thus secured preservation services valued at over 350,000 dollars from preservation sponsors for an initial round of grants.
In Europe, major national archives have continued to dominate film preservation of fiction features, but smaller regional archives have developed in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany that target amateur, newsreel, and documentary films. In the UK, for example, while the British Film Institute Film Archive has floundered due to four major reorganizations in less than a decade, North West Film Archive, the Scottish Screen Archive, and the East Anglian Film Archive, among others, have taken the initiative, establishing the Film Archive Forum in 1987.
Meanwhile, in 1991, several European film archives founded the Association des Cinémathèques de la Communauté Européenne (ACCE) and launched the Projet LUMIÈRE (LUMIERE Project) with support from the European MEDIA I Program. Projet LUMIÈRE focused on three main activities: the restoration of European films, the search for "lost" European films, and the compilation of a European filmography. More than one thousand films, mostly dating from the silent era, were restored through interarchival cooperation. The national filmographies of all European Union countries, which in some cases had to be created from scratch, were compiled in a single database. That was followed by the establishment of the Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (ACE) through MEDIA II in 1996, as well as of Archimedia, which was initiated the same year within the framework of the European MEDIA Plus program. Archimedia aims to establish a network of archives and universities throughout the European Union and has funded seminars and symposia on new digital media, film archives training programs, film festivals, and preservation. Meanwhile, film festivals, like the Giornate del Cinema Muto (Pordenone, Italy) and Cinema Ritrovato (Bologna) have focused attention on film archives and preservation.
The professionalization of moving image archives has been accompanied by changes in film studies, which have precipitated a new consciousness not only in media historians but also in the archivists themselves. While the previous generation of film historians perceived film history in a teleological fashion, as a progressive evolution toward film art, the new film historians have been much more interested in contextualizing film and television history in the broader arena of cultural studies and cultural critique. They have attempted to ground film history in an empirical methodology, based on academic conventions of evidence gathering and presentation. No longer is film history a matter of connoisseurship and the analysis of individual examples of film art or the oeuvre of so-called film auteurs; rather, the new historians see film and television as one form of evidence in a historical discourse. While the goal of standard film histories of the past was to establish aesthetic norms of quality for cinema history, the new film history is interested in describing and analyzing the technological, economic, social, political, ethical, and aesthetic development of the medium of film and the institution of cinema. The new methodologies, furthermore, have shifted the focus from a critic's reading of the artifact to a reconstruction of the historical audience's readings and usage of cinema and television.
Such an agenda means that virtually any form of moving image can function as historical evidence, whether fiction feature film or short, documentary or avant-garde film, advertising film or ethnographic film, industrial or medical film, amateur film or newsreel. It also means that the material culture of moving image media has become a much more important factor in the construction of history. The inevitable conclusion for moving image archivists must be that they should neither exclude material from their archives nor actively participate in the judgmental game of deciding what is important and what is not. Finally, it means that a symbiotic relationship now exists between archivists and historians: new academic research leads to the formulation of new preservation priorities. For example, a new sensitivity in the archives to amateur film was brought about by academic research concerned with the cultural value of such material. Conversely, the preservation of materials outside of the classical canon has led to further reevaluation of moving image history. For example, the FIAF Brighton Conference in 1978 led to the creation of a whole new subfield of early cinema studies; previously academics had relegated cinema from the first fifteen years to the arena of the "primitive." Only the continual interplay between archives and academics will lead to increased knowledge of these media that have had such a vital impact on our perceptions of the world.
Bigourdan, Jean-Louis. "From the Nitrate Experience to New Preservation Strategies." In This Film Is Dangerous: A Celebration of Nitrate Film, edited by Roger Smither, 52–73. Brussels: International Federation of Film Archives, 2002.
Horak, Jan-Christopher. "Old Media Become New Media: The Metamorphoses of Historical Films in the Age of Their Digital Dissemination." In Celluloid Goes Digital, edited by Martin Loiperdinge, 13–22. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2003.
Lemieux, David. "A Film Archive for Canada." The Moving Image 2 (2002): 1–23.
Mann, Sarah Ziebell. "The Evolution of American Moving Image Preservation: Defining the Preservation Landscape." The Moving Image 1 (2001): 1–20.
McGreevey, Tom, and Joanna L. Yeck. Our Movie Heritage. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997.
Melville, Annette, and Scott Simmon, eds. Report of the Librarian of Congress: Film Preservation 1993: A Study of the Current State of American Film Preservation. 4 vols., Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1993.
Murphey, William T., ed. Television and Video Preservation 1997: A Report on the Current State of American Television and Video Preservation. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1997.
Research access to and knowledge about archives in the Russian Federation since 1991 have been key factors in the opening of historical and cultural inquiry in what had previously been a predominantly closed society. Yet the opening of archives would have had much less impact on society and history had in not been for the central attention given to archives under Soviet rule. And Russian archives would hardly be so rich in the early twenty-first century had it not been for the early manuscript repositories in the church and the long tradition of preserving the records of government and society in Russian lands. For example, the "Tsar's Archive" of the sixteenth century paralleled archives of the government boards (prikazy ) of the Muscovite state. Peter the Great's General Regulation of 1720 decreed systematic management of state records. During the late nineteenth century, the Moscow Archive of the Ministry of Justice became the most important historical archive. Before the revolutions of 1917, however, most recent and current records were maintained by state agencies themselves, such as the various ministries, paralleled, for example, by the archive of the Holy Synod, the governing body of the Orthodox Church. The Imperial Archeographic Commission, provincial archival commissions, the Academy of Sciences, major libraries, and museums likewise contributed to the growth of archives and rich manuscript collections.
The Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917 had as revolutionary an impact on archives as it did on most other aspects of society and culture, and stands as the single most important turning point in the history of Russian archives. To be sure, the turmoil of the revolution and civil war years brought considerable disruption, and indeed destruction, to the archival and manuscript legacy. Yet it brought with it the most highly centralized state archival system and the most highly state-directed principles of preservation and management of documentary records that the world had ever seen. Deeply grounded in historical theory and committed to its own orthodoxy of historical interpretation, Marxism-Leninism as an ideology gave both extensive philosophical justification and crucial political importance to documentary control. As the highly centralized political system established firm rule over of state and society, the now famous archival decree of Vladimr Lenin (June 1, 1918) initiated total reorganization and state control of the entire archival legacy of the Russian Empire.
One of the most significant Soviet innovations was the formation of the so-called State Archival Fond (Gosudarstvennyi arkhivnyi fond —GAF), a legal entity extending state proprietorship to all archival records regardless of their institutional or private origin. With nationalization, this theoretical and legal structure also extended state custody and control to all current records produced by current agencies of state and society. Subsequently a parallel Archival Fond of the Communist Party emerged with proprietorship and custody of Party records.
A second innovation was the establishment of a centralized state agency charged with the management of the State Archival Fond, enabling the centralization, standardization, and planning that characterized Soviet archival development. Indicative of the importance that Stalin attributed to control of archives and their utilization, from 1938 through 1960 the Main Archival Administration of the USSR (Glavarkhiv SSSR) was under the Commissariat and later (after 1946), Ministry of Internal Affairs (NKVD, MVD). Subsequently it was responsible directly to the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
A third innovation saw the organization of a network of archival repositories, although with substantial reorganizations during the decades of Soviet rule. A series of central state archives of the USSR paralleled central state archives for the union republics, with a hierarchical network of regional archives, all controlled and adopting standardized organizational and methodological guidelines dictated by Glavarkhiv in Moscow. Strict disposal and retention schedules regulated what went into the archives. A parallel network of Communist Party archives emerged. Records of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remained separate, as did those of the security services and other specialized repositories ranging from geological data to Gosfilmofond for feature films. The Academy of Sciences maintained its own archival network, and archival materials in libraries and museums remained under their own controlling agencies.
Public research availability of the nation's documentary legacy was severely restricted during the Soviet era, although there was a brief thaw after 1956, and more significant research possibilities starting in the Gorbachev era of glasnost after the mid-1980s. But while limited public access to archives was a hallmark of the regime, so was the preservation and control of the nation's documentary legacy in all spheres.
In many ways, those three Soviet innovations continue to characterize the archival system in the Russian Federation, with the most notable innovation of more openness and public accessibility. Already in the summer of 1991, a presidential decree nationalized the archival legacy of the Communist Party, to the extent that the newly reorganized state archival system was actually broader than its Soviet predecessor. The Soviet-era Glavarkhiv was replaced by the Archival Service of the Russian Federation (Rosarkhiv, initially Roskomarkhiv). Russia's first archival law, the Basic Legislature of the Russian Federation on the Archival Fond of the Russian Federation and Archives, enacted in July 1993, extended the concept of a state "Archival Fond." Although it also provided for a "non-State" component to comprise records of non-governmental, commercial, religious, and other societal agencies, it did not permit re-privatization of holdings nationalized during the Soviet period. Nor did it provide for the apportionment of archival records and manuscript materials gathered in central Soviet repositories from the union republics that after 1991 emerged as independent countries. The latter all remained legally part of the new Russian "Archival Fond."
In most cases, the actual archival repositories that developed during the Soviet era continue to exist, although almost all of their names have changed, with some combined or reorganized. As heir to Soviet-period predecessors, fourteen central state archives constitute the main repositories for governmental (and former Communist Party) records in different historical, military, and economic categories, along with separate repositories for literature and art, sound recordings, documentary films, and photographs, as well as technical and engineering documentation. As a second category of central archives, a number of federal agencies still have the right to retain their own records, including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Internal Affairs, and the security services. Municipal archives in Moscow and St. Peteresburg comprise a third category. As there were in the Soviet period, there are also many archival repositories in institutes and libraries under the Russian Academy of Sciences, and libraries and museums under the Ministry of Culture and other agencies. The extensive network of regional state (including former Communist Party) archives for each and every subject administrative-territorial unit of the Russian Federation, all of which have considerable more autonomy from Moscow than had been the case before 1991.
The most important distinction between Russian archives in the early twenty-first century and those under Soviet rule is the principle of openness and general public accessibility. Significantly, such openness extends to the information sphere, whereby published directories now identify all major repositories and their reference systems. New archival guides and specialized finding aids reveal the holdings of many important archives (many with foreign subsidies). And since 1997, information about an increasing number of archives is publicly available in both Russian and English-language versions on the Internet.
Complaints abound about continued restrictions in sensitive areas, such as the contemporary archives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and the security services. Declassification has been all to slow in many areas, including more recent Communist Party records, and new laws governing state secrets often limit the otherwise proclaimed openness. Yet often the most serious research complaints stem from economic causes— closures due to leaking roofs or lack of heat, slow delivery time, and high copying fees. While Russia has opened its archives to the world, there have been more dangers of loss due to inadequate support for physical facilities and professional staff, leading to commercialization and higher service charges, because the new federal government has had less ideological and political cause than its Soviet predecessors to subsidize new buildings, physical preservation, and information resources adequately for the archival heritage of the nation.
See also: censorship; national library of russia; russian state library; smolensk archive
Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy. (1989). A Handbook for Archival Research in the USSR. Washington, DC,: Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies and the International Research & Exchanges Board.
Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy. (1998). Archives of Russia Seven Years After: "Purveyors of Sensations" or "Shadows Cast out to the Past." Washington, DC: Cold War International History Project, Working Paper, no. 20, parts 1 and 2. Electronic version: <http://cwihp.si.edu/topics/pubs>.
Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy, ed. (2000). Archives of Russia: A Directory and Bibliographic Guide to Holdings in Moscow and St. Petersburg. 2 vols. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy. (2003). "Archives of Russia—ArcheoBiblioBase on Line." <http://www.iisg.nl/~abb>.
Patricia Kennedy Grimsted
ARCHIVES are the records of an institution or organization that are no longer current but are preserved because they contain information of permanent value. They are the recorded memory, preserved for those who might find them useful in the future. Those who handle archival materials carry out several functions to preserve materials and make them accessible to potential users: appraisal, arrangement, description, and reference.
The beginnings of archives in the United States can be attributed to the Massachusetts Historical Society, the first of its kind, formed in 1791 "to preserve the manuscripts of the present day to the remotest ages of posterity." Similar local and national organizations soon followed, many of which collected the private papers and memorabilia of famous individuals in addition to official documents.
Systematic archival practice began in the United States in 1899, when the American Historical Association created the Public Archives Commission to investigate and report upon the historical character, contents, and functions of public repositories of manuscript records. This commission worked with thirty advisers across the United States to determine the character of the historical archives of the federal government and the individual states, as well as to report on the provisions made for their maintenance and accessibility. The purview of this commission did not include private and semipublic archives. The commission completed surveys for almost every state, resulting in Claude H. Van Tyne and Waldo G. Leland's Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington (1904), a compilation of archival resources.
As more historical societies and archival repositories arose, there began to be even more concern about the most efficient ways of preserving historical materials. By the early 1800s, an Ohio historical society developed a method of protecting its holdings in airtight metallic cases that were numbered and indexed so that the holdings of each case could be identified without opening it. The various archives across the country had their own systems of organization and storage, with varying degrees of success. By the end of the nineteenth century, archival theories and practices were shared among many societies and associations. This collaboration led to the formation of a distinct archival profession in the United States and the founding of the American Historical Association (AHA) in 1884. The AHA began with the development of standardized systems of archival organization. Various subgroups sprang from the AHA, including the Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Public Archives Commission, and, in 1909, the Conference of Archivists, which met annually to create new archives and to promote and improve archives already in existence. During the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration created the Historical Records Survey and the Survey of Federal Archives. In 1934, Congress established the National Archives as an independent federal agency.
In 1936, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) was founded "to promote sound principles of archival economy and to facilitate cooperation among archivists and archival agencies." The Conference of Archivists founded the SAA to differentiate between historians and scholars who use archival materials and archivists, who are responsible for the care, organization, and management of historical materials. A more democratic body than its predecessor, the SAA opened membership not just to directors of large archival institutions, but to all "who are or have been engaged in the custody or administration of archives or historical manuscripts," including archives of all sizes and orientation, from small private and business archives to large historical collections. The SAA was founded with 124 individual and four institutional members and doubled in size during its first year. A. R. New-some was elected to serve as the SAA's first president; a board of directors was also elected. The newly formed SAA proposed an annual convention at which professional papers would be delivered, information exchanged, and philosophies of archival organization discussed. At the first annual convention in June 1937, Newsome outlined a course for the SAA that has continued to be its policy into the twenty-first century. The SAA was "to become the practical self-help agency of archivists for the solution of their complex problems" and "to strive to nationalize archival information and technique."
The evolving information society challenges archivists to reexamine what it is they do and how they do it. The mechanisms for preserving information are changing as new technologies are developed, and others are rendered obsolete. Most archivists proceed with caution in adapting various technologies for archiving. With issues such as access versus ownership, digital storage, in particular, presents challenges to archivists' preservation efforts. The U.S. legal system has also been drawn into the issue of digital preservation, as archival organizations dispute the mandate that federal agencies maintain electronic versions of word processing and E-mail documents, even after electronic, paper, or microform records have been made.
Duranti, Luciana. "The Impact of Digital Technology on Archival Science." Archival Science 1, no. 1 (2001): 39–55.
Gracy, David B., II. An Introduction to Archives and Manuscripts. New York: Special Libraries Association, 1981.
Hodson, John Howard. The Administration of Archives. New York: Pergamon Press, 1972.
Menne-Haritz, Angelika. "Access—the Reformulation of an Archival Paradigm." Archival Science 1, no. 1 (2001): 57–82.
Posner, Ernst. Archives and the Public Interest: Selected Essays. Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1967.
Riberiro, Fernanda. "Archival Science and Changes in the Paradigm." Archival Science 1, no. 3 (2001): 295–310.
Van Tyne, Claude H., and Waldo G. Leland. "Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington." Papers of the Bureau of Historical Research. No. 14. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution, 1904.
Most systems retain information that the user can alter on magnetic disk. (Information that the user cannot alter may either be held on a nonwriteable form of storage such as a CD-ROM, or on a writeable form but with some form of hardware or system write-inhibit control.) Magnetic disks offer high performance, but the user may be prepared to use a slower medium such as magnetic tape, which has lower unit costs for storage. Users may do this on their own behalf by attaching a magnetic-tape subsystem to their workstation, and overseeing the transfer of files to the magnetic tape and their subsequent recovery when the information is required again. Alternatively, in a large multiuser multiserver environment, there may be a server set aside specifically for the purpose of allowing users to transfer their information onto shared magnetic-tape devices. This server will also cooperate with the system's file-access software in maintaining the modified directory entries that allow the overall system to keep track of the information held on the magnetic tapes, and to oversee its recovery on behalf of the user. See also memory hierarchy.
ar·chive / ˈärˌkīv/ (usu. archives) • n. a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. ∎ the place where such documents or records are kept. • v. [tr.] place or store (something) in such a collection or place. ∎ Comput. transfer (data) to a less frequently used storage medium such as magnetic tape. DERIVATIVES: ar·chi·val / ärˈkīvəl/ adj.
So archivist XVIII. — F.