© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Centropa: The Story of Europe's Jewish Heritage

Before World War II, 15 million Jews lived in Eastern Europe. Most of their stories were lost through war and migration. But now, a group of researchers from many nations is compiling the largest regional online archive of Jewish life, past and present.

NPR's Guy Raz recently visited the Vienna, Austria headquarters of the Centropa project, where the photos and personal accounts of Jews still living in Europe are put into an electronic archive.

Researchers from cities in Vienna, Moscow, Belgrade, Riga and regions all over Eastern and Central Europe search for a new story to add to the archive. They are finding elderly Jews, and chronicling their lives -- not as victims of the Holocaust, but how they lived. The researchers ask about their rituals, jobs, family life, marraige and the everyday things that took place in Jewish neighborhoods.

Under the guidance of renowned photographer Edward Serotta, the Centropa Organization’s "Witness to a Jewish Century" project will eventually include an online, searchable database of more than 70,000 photos and personal accounts of life in the old country. Currently, vistors to the site can search names, places, years -- even professions.

"It's not a Holocaust project," Serotta says. "It's about normal life -- the person who was the local scoundrel, the beauty that all the young men wanted to marry.

"There is real history in between the lines," he says. "There is real history in between the great events, and these people who have been deprived of even speaking about these things are the ones who are clogging the doorways of our offices."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.