Preserving and Rebuilding the Archive of the Jewish Community Vienna

During a routine inspection in 2000 of one of its older buildings, Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien (IKG) officials found a cache of approximately 500,000 Holocaust-era pages of reports, letters, emigration and financial documents, deportation lists, card files, books, photographs, maps, and charts detailing the final years of what was once the largest German-speaking Jewish community in Europe and representing a substantial and long-forgotten part of the archive of the Viennese Jewish community. Coincidentally, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum contacted the IKG about locating and microfilming its surviving Jewish-community records.

As a result, the Museum and the IKG agreed in 2002 to cooperate in microfilming the entire collection. Materials and Documents were organized, categorized and removed from harmful components. The IKG and Museum staff also developed a bilingual, descriptive archival scheme and entered record groups into a preliminary database. Microfilming began in July 2002 and continues today.

The Museum and the IKG also signed a trilateral agreement with the CAHJP in November 2003 to microfilm the 1.5 million pages of Holocaust-relevant records of the Jewish community of Vienna stored in Jerusalem.

Once the component projects in Vienna and Jerusalem are completed, the entire Holocaust-relevant archival collection of about two million pages will be made available for research at the Museum in Washington. Without a public archive, the IKG is currently not able to make the materials accessible in Austria. Plans exist, however, to make these records available in the future at the proposed Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies.

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