Jewish archives and archival documents: Israel and the Diaspora

Silvia Schenkolewski-Kroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Throughout 2000 years of exile, Jews amassed documentation reflecting their creativity and organization wherever they lived. Communal archives dating since the Middle Ages have survived. In addition, documentation about Jews is found in archives of rulers, governments, and cities. Conditions changed in the twentieth century due to new developments: the rise of the Jewish national movement, leading to the establishment of the State of Israel, and the destruction of thousands of communities and their cultural possessions in the Holocaust perpetrated against European Jewry by the Nazis. The centrality of Eretz Israel and Israel in Zionist ideology led to the concept that it should be the locale for Jewish archives. Thus, for example, in 1933 the archives of the World Zionist Movement were transferred from Berlin to Jerusalem. The situation became more acute after WWII: If entire or partial archives of destroyed communities survived, to whom do they belong—the states in which they were created or the Jewish people? This dilemma also faces existing communities without archival consciousness. Should everything be concentrated in Israel? In recent years, there has been a change in the paradigm of Israel–Diaspora relations. In a global transnational world, with constantly developing technical means, archives can remain in the communities that created them, provided they are maintained and made available to the public in accordance with accepted archival practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-326
Number of pages18
JournalArchival Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Archives migration
  • Archives plunder
  • Archives restitution
  • Israel–Diaspora
  • Jewish archives
  • World War II


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