Great news for an important cultural asset within the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area–
The Ukrainian Museum-Archives (UMA) in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland has signed a cooperation agreement with The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., to digitize the extensive collection of books, periodicals and other materials in the UMA collection from the post-World War II Displaced Persons Camps in Austria and Germany.
When the war ended, millions of refugees who had survived Nazi concentration camps were seized to work in the German government or were fleeing Soviet oppression. These included hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who established mini-societies in the camps during the five years that they were in operation.
In May 2016, a Holocaust Memorial Museum delegation visited the UMA to assess the scope and quality of their Displaced Person Camp collection, and in September proposed a cooperative digitization project. In its proposal, Jaime Monllor, International Outreach Officer for the Museum, indicated that one of the Museum’s collection goals is documenting non-Jewish victims of persecution by the Nazis and their collaborators.
“The UMA’s collection of Ukrainian Displaced Persons camp serials, of rare published victims’ memoirs, and of other related personal paper collections are of great importance for, and a significant complement to, the study of the Jewish Holocaust and we believe that to understand these events fully, this primary evidence should be preserved for future generations of scholars, students, genealogists, and others.”
The archival work on the collection will be conducted by Archival Data Systems (AIS), based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Over the past decade, AIS has digitized more than 10 million pages of cultural-historical documents, working with institutions like Ukraine’s Central Archives, the Museum, Yad Vashem in Israel, the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, the Shevchenko Scientific Society in Lviv and many more. AIS has been at the UMA throughout February and March scanning the UMA collection.
UMA Curator Aniza Kraus noted, “We are gratified to be working with such prestigious institutions like the Holocaust Museum and Archival Information Systems. Ukraine, we know, is interested in recovering its lost history which had been forbidden and suppressed during the Soviet Era. Digitizing the UMA collections will create a significant scholarly resource to help us better understand a troubled era of European History as well as the present day.”
Congressional representatives from Ohio, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, national Jewish organizations, the Ukrainian Embassy to the United States, and a representative from the Library of Congress recently attended a signing ceremony commemorating the agreement.
The Ukrainian Museum-Archives was founded in 1952 and is a museum dedicated to collecting literature, recordings, artifacts and other items that represent Ukrainian culture, Ukrainian immigration to America, and the history of Ukrainians in Cleveland. UMA’s collection is one of the largest in North America.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors.
Holocaust Memorial Museum to digitize Ukrainian Museum-Archives’ DP collection, The Ukrainian Weekly