In recent months a number of major steps were taken in the process of transforming EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure) into a permanent European research infrastructure, a so-called ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium). The path towards ERCI is led by the project EHRI-PP, in which the State Archives is a partner and in charge of work package 2 ‘Legal and Governance’.
The major news is undoubtedly that at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism on 13 October 2021, the Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Kajsa Ollongren, has committed to establish the headquarters of the ERIC in the Netherlands and to provide long-term funding that includes the so-called "hosting premium" from the host country. The importance of this concrete financial commitment cannot be underestimated, and other key steps were made in parallel on the path towards EHRI-ERIC.
For instance, the board of governmental representatives, in which Belgium is represented since the beginning, has gathered a number of times already to discuss the advancement of EHRI-PP and to provide feedback about a number of policy documents, among others with regard to the management structure of the future ERIC.
In Belgium too, a series of new developments can be reported. In September, Belgium has expressed its political support for the future EHRI-ERIC.
Together with another Belgian EHRI partner, namely Kazerne Dossin, two workshops were organised (on 24 September and on 26 November) about the further expansion of the Belgian National Node for EHRI. The permanent research infrastructure shall take the form of a ‘distributed’ research infrastructure. In addition to the central entity in the Netherlands, EHRI shall have national ‘branches’ composed of institutions and organisations that conserve archives and sources related to the Holocaust, that carry out research about the Holocaust or keep the remembrance thereof alive, or that are active in the field of digital Humanities, which is a key occupation of EHRI. Institutions and organisations located in Belgium that correspond to this profile were invited to the workshops and a plan shall be established in collaboration with them in the coming months in order to concretise the Belgian National Node.
Based on policy documents and the feedback from the board of governmental representatives, the statutes of the future ERIC are also being prepared since late November. The State Archives / CegeSoma is in charge of coordinating this task.
Since November 2021 also, Dr. Matthew Haultain-Gall, who was already involved in EHRI-2, has joined the EHRI team at the State Archives / CegeSoma. He takes over parts of the work of Dr. Adina Babesh-Fruchter, who combines her work at EHRI with a Marie-Curie fellowship at KULeuven since September.