Ewa Mork, Member of EHRI Work Package 18, Keywords and Thesaurus

Head of Documentation at the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo (HL-senteret), Norway

HL-senteret is probably the youngest institution among the EHRI affiliates. The creation of the center was a result of a year-long process involving the restitution of property and assets confiscated from the Norwegian Jews during the Second World War. The center is financed from part of the settlement worked out between the Norwegian State and the Norwegian Jewish Community. This decision reflected a strong wish to establish a nation-wide center with expertise in both Holocaust history and the situation of minorities in Norway. Opened in 2006, HL-senteret is the leading Norwegian research institution within these two fields. HL-senteret advances fundamental research and educational activities, as well as organizing exhibitions and conferences.

The persecution of the Jews evolved rather differently in each of the Nordic countries, as did the postwar process of building up research and educational institutions for the study of the Holocaust. We have a good tradition of institutional cooperation and easy access to each other’s collections, and we take advantage of similarities in both language and culture.

I wrote my MA Thesis in linguistics and also have a degree in information management. Building an academic library from scratch was a challenging but wonderful experience. I am in charge of the Centers library, artifact, and archival collections. Needless to say, our archival collection is still quite modest, but growing quickly. We use significant resources to make our material easily available to scholars. Nevertheless, most of the document collections related to the Holocaust in Norway are to be found in the National Archives and the Norwegian Resistance Museum.

I am a practitioner; as a part of the EHRI team I am also working with the hands-on Work Package 18 Keywords/Thesaurus.

Creating a multilingual thesaurus is an ambitious task. It is supposed to be a tool for enabling access to materials in various archives, which often use dissimilar systems and semantics and have different types of collections. Working together with colleagues who come from different countries and different academic traditions proved easier than one could expect. A great amount of work has already been done by our team. Learning to know scholars and practitioners engaged with EHRI, and the institutions that they represent, is of great benefit to me and my own institution.

After work, the Nordic nature is tempting in all kinds of weather. When the dark and windy evenings are too many I can enjoy a good book or some music inside.