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The Jewish Historical General Archives / הארכיון הכללי לתולדות ישראל

דניאל י. כהן and D. J. Cohen
Zion / ציון
Vol. כ‎, חוברת ג/ד‎ (תשט"ו / 1955), pp. 182-191
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23548527
Page Count: 10
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The Jewish Historical General Archives / הארכיון הכללי לתולדות ישראל
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Abstract

Thirty years ago the Jewish Historical Society of Israel laid down in its statutes the following aim: to establish the Central Jewish Historical Archives. At the end of the thirties Dr J. Meisl founded the Jewish Historical General Archives of which he is still the director. In 1944 they were handed over to the Historical Society. The purpose of the Archives is to collect, preserve, and classify scientifically Jewish historical documents from all countries and all periods. The Archives regard themselves as the heirs of the destroyed Jewish communities, and also aim to assemble the material not needed any more in the current administration of existing Jewish communities. The Jewish Historical General Archives subsist on a modest budget contributed by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Hebrew University, the Historical Society, municipalities, institutions and individuals. The Archives work in cooperation with "Yad va-Shem". The Central Zionist Archives, YIVO, The American Jewish Archives, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the Unione delle Comunitá Israelitiche Italiane, the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, the "Society for Russian Jewry", the Leo Baeck Institute of Jews from Germany and other research institutions. The first concern of the Archives is to salvage original documents, especially from Europe. In cases where the original material cannot be obtained, the Archives either order or make microfilm — copies according the lists of Jewish material in foreign governments' archives. Until now many thousands of documents have been microfilmed for the Archives. The Archives cooperate closely with the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz and the archives of the various German Länder. Several delegations have been sent (sometimes jointly with other institutions) to Germany, Austria, England, France, Holland, Italy and Denmark, with the purpose of collecting, surveying and photographing archival material. In their activities the Archives enjoy the understanding and sympathy of the Foreign Ministry, the Jewish Agency, and their representatives abroad. The collections of the Archives comprise i.a.: From Germany: About 15,000 files from about 800 communities from all the Länder covering the last 250—300 years, and the private collections of Moritz Stern, M. Isler, J. Böhm, Rabbi Chone, Eugen Mittwoch, the heirs of the artist E. M. Lilien, G. Feldmann, Wassermann and J. Jacobsohn. From Austria: The archives of the Vienna Community from the forties of the 19th century until 1944. These archives have been handed over as a trust out of an appreciation of the aims of the General Archives, by Dr. Herzberg, Dr. Maurer, Mr. Krell and Mr. Singer. A detailed description of the German and Austrian files is due to appear shortly in the first yearbook of the Leo Baeck Institute of Jews from Germany. Italy: A collection in memory of Enzo Sereni, and about 100,000 frames of microfilms of the Mantua Archives. Also 35,000 frames of microfilms of the archives of Pisa, Siena, Ancona, Modena and Florence communities. Poland: Files and Pinkassim from the communities of the western parts which were German territory until 1919. Photocopies of the Ossolinski collection, Wroclaw; the Lopaczinski Library, Lublin; and the Czartoryski Library, Cracow. Also the Jacob Tugendhold collection, Warsaw. Latvia: Material on Jewish organizations and Hebrew education. Russia: Collected material on Petliura's assassination and the Schwarzbard trial (1926-7), the archives of the famous historian S. Dubnow, photocopies of the material on Russian Jewry from the Public Record Office and the archives of the U. S. State Department. Hungary: Supplementary material to the Monumenta Hungariae Judaica, and photocopies of documents related to the part played by the Jews in the 1848 revolution. Rumania: Original Charters in Kyrillic script from the 17th and 18th centuries, and material from Bucharest, Jassi and Grosswerdein. A collection of newspaper cuttings on the position of the Jews at the end of the 19th century. Czechoslovakia: Pinkassim of various communities from the 17th and 18th centuries, and photostats of other material. Jugoslavia: Documents in Latin, Italian and Ladino from Dubrovnik. France: A collection of documents on the Jewish struggle for emancipation in 1789-90. A collection of documents pertaining to the Dreyfus Affair. Material on the communities of Bordeaux, Nancy and Metz from the 16th—19th centuries. North Africa: Various original documents. U.S.A.: The J. L. Magnes archives, which include inter alia material on the Jewish Community of New York (Kehilla), and the collection of S. Broches of Boston on New England Jewry. South America: Photostats of documents on the Inquisition. The archives also contain a unique collection of statutes of Jewish organizations and institutions from all over the world, and rich material for the study of Jewish genealogy in various countries, including much material collected by the Nazis in Germany.

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