Former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau speaks at the launching of an effort named after his father to to find "unique but dispersed" Holocaust documents and other related material, at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y., on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Monday April 24, 2017. (Peter Carr/The Journal News/lohud.com via AP/AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)
Holocaust project launched at FDR Library
May 01, 2017
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The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum has launched an effort to find "unique but dispersed" Holocaust documents and other related material. They are included in the institution's vast archives.
The library and museum are located in FDR's hometown of Hyde Park, New York. The announcement was made April 24. It was Holocaust Remembrance Day. At the same time, the library and museum announced the Henry Morgenthau, Jr. Holocaust Collections: A Curatorial Project.
Among those attending the ceremony were Morgenthau's son, former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, and Robin Vrba. She is the wife of Auschwitz escape and Holocaust chronicler, Rudolf Vrba. Henry Morgenthau was Roosevelt's treasury secretary. He was a leading advocate for the creation of the War Refugee Board during World War II.
The library project will begin by exploring three of its major collections. These are the Morgenthau papers, the records of the War Refugee Board and the Vrba papers.
Officials at the nation's first presidential library said that by building on existing digital resources it will provide better access to the Holocaust-related records in its archives. The various collections will be available on the library's website. It is www.fdrlibrary.org.
The FDR Presidential Library is 70 miles north of New York City. It is home to more than 400 manuscript collections. They document the Roosevelt administration from 1933-45. These include records on various refugee groups fleeing Nazi persecution and the Roosevelt administration's responses. Some of the collections have yet to be digitized.
Newly added to the collection are the Rudolph Vrba Papers. Born in what was then Czechoslovakia, Vrba was 19 in 1944. That's when he and fellow inmate Alfred Wetzler escaped from the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It was in German-occupied Poland.
The report they co-wrote on the camp's gas chambers and other mass murder operations were some of the earliest firsthand indications of the Nazi plan to exterminate Europe's Jewish populations.
"Rudi had a great admiration for Franklin D. Roosevelt and the United States resolve and action to defeat Nazism," Robin Vrba said at the ceremony. "I know he would be proud that all this work is housed in the FDR Library and will be available to researchers online."
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How can there by digital records from WWII?
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