In keeping with the theme of this week’s class, I found myself getting lost in story after story of archives in the news until one piece in particular caught my attention.
One week ago, archivists at the Shoah Memorial in Paris announced the completion of a two-year long project to digitize the audio recordings of the Nuremberg Trials. The announcement came just days after a shooting in Germany, outside of a synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. The timing of this anti-semitic incident coinciding with the increasing accessibility of these records, emphasizes the pressing importance of making this history more accessible to a broader public.
While transcripts of the court trials have long been available, the audio recordings give new life to this history. The head archivist of the project, Karen Taieb, argues that hearing the actual voices of the people on trial adds new emotion and weight to understanding the power of the history.
In addition to digitizing hours of auido files — previously stored on “2,000 large discs housed in wooden boxes” for the past fifty years — the files will now be accessible in three different institutions: the Shoah Memorial in Paris, the International Court of Justice library in the Hague, Netherlands, and the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
Herein lies one of the primary advantages of digitization and the power of this particular project. Sending the files to three different institutions further increases accessability and also places the materials within different insitutional and historical contexts. Hopefully, more people are able to interact with this moment of history, connect with it emotionally, and learn from it more effectively.
Parker, Claire. “Public to get access to Nuremberg trails digital recordings.” Associated Press. October, 12, 2019. https://wapo.st/2OWMiip.