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Elie Wiesel Archive, Crown Jewel of Gratz College’s New Digital Collections Platform

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Gratz has been selected by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity to host and curate the world’s first digital archive dedicated to the life’s work of Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate and pivotal public figure in Holocaust education and remembrance. The archive will provide freely available, searchable access to scholars, students, humanitarians, and the public-at-large.

About choosing Gratz to digitize his father’s archive, Elisha Wiesel comments, “Access to this collection will contribute significantly to increased scholarship and impact in the arena of Holocaust and Human Rights education at a time when this knowledge is needed more than ever. Gratz College is ideally suited to do so in a way that honors and advances my father’s legacy.”

According to Gratz President Zev Eleff, the Wiesel Collection will be “the crown jewel of the Grayzel Digital Platform, an online repository of digital collections named for the historian and longtime Gratz College professor Solomon Grayzel. The platform aims to democratize Jewish learning through the production of a state-of-the-art web platform and a modular database full of texts, images, videos, and sounds that capture the complexities of the Jewish experience in the modern world. Grayzel will deepen intellectual inquiry for Gratz students and emerge as one of the most powerful open-access websites for anyone eager to engage in modern Jewish history and culture.”  

The Grayzel Digital Archive organizes unique, historically significant collections in three key project areas: American Jewish history and culture; the Holocaust and Jewish life in prewar Europe; and Judaism’s contribution to social justice.

In addition to the Wiesel archive, Grayzel will launch with the following unique, historically significant collections:  Holocaust Oral History Archive, Rebecca Gratz Correspondence, Dr. Lena Allen-Shore Papers, and Gratz College - Eric Mandell Digital Jewish Music Collection.

Dr. Alison Joseph, Gratz Director of Digital Scholarship leads the ambitious multi-phased Grayzel initiative. Grayzel will feature advanced search and filter/sort tools, high quality UI/UX, high standard cybersecurity protections, and a user-friendly dashboard. It will support significant visitor traffic, include visually powerful and interactive displays, and ensure ADA compliance for accessibility. 

About the purpose of the Archive, Joseph remarks:

“Over the past few years, we have seen that the future of Jewish learning is online. Grayzel will bring previously unseen sources to the internet, making them accessible in a graphically attractive and digitally sophisticated way for learners of all levels from around the world. The robust search and filter tools will pull the collections together, putting them into conversation around specific themes and topics. With this platform, we seek to establish Gratz as a leader in the emerging field of digital Judaica.”

For the Grayzel project’s first phase, Gratz has secured major gifts from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), the German Government Office of Foreign Affairs, Josephine Cohen Charitable Foundation, the Barbara and Fred Kort Foundation, Gene R. Hoffman, and individual donors.

The Grayzel Digital Platform is anticipated to launch in Spring 2025.

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