Holocaust Edition: 'The Sources Speak'

January 29, 2013

A collection of historical documents from a major project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will be made publicly available over the next several months and years. On 25 January 2013, German radio broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk will launch a 'documentary audio edition' entitled Die Quellen sprechen ('The Sources Speak'). The series of 16 episodes, to be broadcast on radio and made available online, will present hundreds of letters, diary entries, decrees, orders, newspaper reports and other texts documenting the persecution and genocide of European Jews between 1933 and 1945. The documents, read by contemporary witnesses and actors, are part of the Holocaust Edition, a project funded by the DFG since 2004.

The Holocaust Edition is the most comprehensive and representative collection and scholarly review anywhere in the world of documents relating to the persecution and genocide of Jews by National Socialist Germany. The project is supported by four research institutions: the Department of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Freiburg, the Institute of Contemporary History based in Munich, the German Federal Archives, and the Department of Central and Eastern European History at the Freie Universität Berlin. The DFG is funding this undertaking as one of its long-term projects, which allow individual research projects in the humanities and social sciences to be funded for a longer period than would be possible through individual grants.

From a scholarly point of view, the Holocaust Edition is particularly significant in several ways: most of the documents are being made available for the first time, and the project brings together many well known but previously scattered published testimonies. The selection of documents does not concentrate on the perpetrators but focuses primarily on the victims. The full geographic extent of the Holocaust is covered, including the countries of eastern and southern Europe. The Edition consists of 16 volumes, of which six have been published so far by the Oldenbourg-Verlag. There are also plans to produce an English version, which will be published as part of the Holocaust studies of the Yad Vashem.

In addition to the importance of the project to research, the researchers involved were committed from the beginning to making the documents available to a wider audience, for example through public readings and events. This was one of the reasons for the 'documentary audio edition', which was produced by Bayerischer Rundfunk in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary History and will be broadcast in four seasons between now and 2017.

The first season will include documents from the German Reich (1933-1941), the Reich Protectorate (1939-1941) and Poland (1939-1941). Most of the texts are presented by actors Matthias Brandt and Bibiana Beglau, with some documents being read by Holocaust survivors such as literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki and author and painter Max Mannheimer. The readings will be accompanied by additional broadcasts in which researchers from the project and a large number of contemporary witnesses tell their stories. All the broadcasts will be permanently available on the internet along with additional material.

To mark the launch of the series, a special event will be held at the Jewish Community Centre in Munich on 24 January 2013 and include a reading of selected documents. Guests will include the President of the DFG, Prof. Peter Strohschneider. He describes the Holocaust Edition as "both a first-class scholarly achievement and a contribution to the attempt to restore to the victims of the Holocaust their identity and thus their dignity. As a research funding organisation we are very pleased that this attempt is receiving such unusual media attention and coverage."
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Further Information

Detailed information about the series and broadcast dates is available at: www.br.de/radio/bayern2/sendungen/hoerspiel-und-medienkunst/schwerpunkte/die-quellen-sprechen-116.html

The radio programmes and documents can be downloaded from a website from 25 February 2013: http://die-quellen-sprechen.de/

Detailed information about the project 'The Persecution and Genocide of European Jews by National Socialist Germany 1933-1945' (the 'Holocaust Edition') is available at: www.edition-judenverfolgung.de/neu/

DFG programme contact for the Holocaust Edition:
Dr. Guido Lammers, Humanities and Social Sciences Division, Tel. +49 228 885-2295, Guido.Lammers@dfg.de

Media contact:
Marco Finetti, Head of DFG Press and Public Relations, Tel. +49 228 885-2230, Marco.Finetti@dfg.de

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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