Herzog in the News

Memorializing Lost Communities Online

Herzog College is leading a worldwide project to memorialize the Jewish communities that were lost in the Holocaust on WikiShtetl, with prizes for the best submissions.


To mark Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel (Yom HaShoah), Herzog College announced a competition for the best submissions to its WikiShtetl project. The goal is to encourage individuals and schools to get involved by contributing photos, articles, and translations to the online database of Jewish communities destroyed during the Shoah. Families can share photos of family members that are relevant to online encyclopedia entries about their communities, and short extracts from diaries and letters that contribute to the history of their shtetl.

The WikiShtetl Project was established in 2016 in order to memorialize the Jewish communities that were lost in the Holocaust. The goal of the project is to create a communal mosaic of life in the shtetls, preserving them in digital format for historians and the public to access. The project is integrated into Wikipedia – the internet’s largest collaborative encyclopedia – in order to interconnect the theoretical study of history with today’s collaborative platforms. The Herzog College Library has offered its resources to help participants with their research, and the project is supported by Wikimedia Israel.

Dr. Tehila Hertz, founder and director of the WikiShtetl project, is a lecturer in education at Herzog College.  She says: “We hope that schools will also get involved in our campaign to memorialize lost communities and write about them for the WikiShtetl project, because students can acquire valuable research and writing skills as well as learning in more depth about the Jewish communities that were destroyed in the Shoah.”

To encourage participants, the competition offers three prizes: for writing new entries about communities with which they have a personal or family connection, or expanding existing entries and adding new information; for adding visual or audio material to entries on the various communities; and for translating entries in other languages into Hebrew.

Herzog College is also offering a service to people who wish to support the project financially. The WikiShtetl team can compile a personal commemoration document dedicated to the history of their loved ones, incorporating testimonials, personal photos and memorabilia, and this document can be included on the WikiShtetl website.

For details of the WikiShtetl competition (in Hebrew), visit https://bit.ly/2VK9RwY, and for more information about memorializing family members and supporting the WikiShtetl project, contact dev@herzog.ac.il

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