Visual History of the Holocaust

Rethinking Curation in the Digital Age

The Visual History of the Holocaust (VHH) project breaks new ground in the digitization, indexing and curating of film, text and audio materials on the Holocaust. It is primarily concerned with film documents that were produced during the liberation of the concentration and extermination camps by the Allies. Since the National Socialist crimes were unprecedented in their extent and cruelty, the Allied armies recorded testimonies and traces of the Shoah in order to use them as evidence in later war crimes trials. Individual motifs from the film material circulate as now iconic images in documentaries, feature films, and popular culture, though largely detached from the context of their creation. Large parts of the filmed material, however, which is kept in the archives of Great Britain, the USA, Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union, are still largely unknown to the public.

In the VHH project, the digitized film material will be indexed, annotated and contextualized according to scientific criteria. On this basis, curated access for different user groups will be offered via an online environment set up in the course of the project.

The VHH project is coordinated by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History, Vienna and the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna. The DFF is one of twelve partners in the international project consortium, which includes universities, memorial sites and archives. Launched in January 2019, the project will run for four years and is funded by the EU Horizon2020 programme:

New launch of the database “Cinematography of the Holocaust”

As a partner in the Visual History of the Holocaust project, the DFF is creating the technical database for the indexing of the film material: Currently, the Cinematography of the Holocaust (CdH) – the most comprehensive filmographic resource on the Holocaust with almost 4,000 registered works – is being fully integrated into the Central Filmographic Database (ZDB) of the DFF in order to make it available for the VHH project. In addition, the DFF and the Fritz Bauer Institute in Frankfurt have decided, as part of a long-term cooperation agreement, to create a new website for the CdH and to jointly guarantee the future operation and expansion of the CdH. In doing so, the cooperation partners are continuing the fundamental work of film historian Ronny Loewy, who died in 2012 and who, as an employee of the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum and the Fritz Bauer Institute, originally built up the cinematography of the Holocaust.


Contact DFF
Kerstin Herlt and David Kleingers
Phone: +49-69 961220-621