Elie Wiesel archive to become jewel of Gratz College digital platform

Collection will contribute to "increased scholarship and impact in the arena of Holocaust and human-rights education," says Elisha Wiesel.

Gratz College's director of digital scholarship Alison Joseph goes through some of the many boxes that contain Elie Wiesel's archives. Credit: Courtesy of Gratz College.
Gratz College's director of digital scholarship Alison Joseph goes through some of the many boxes that contain Elie Wiesel's archives. Credit: Courtesy of Gratz College.

Gratz College 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 said that “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.”  

These boxes filled with Elie Wiesel’s letters, papers and writings will be part of Gratz College’s Grayzel Digital Archive, helmed by Alison Joseph, Gratz’s director of digital scholarship. Credit: Courtesy of Gratz College.

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.

Alison Joseph, Gratz director of digital scholarship leads the ambitious multiphased 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.

“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,” says Joseph. “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 the spring of 2025. 

For more information, email director of marketing Lori Cohen at: lcohen@gratz.edu.

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Gratz College, a private non-profit institution based in the Philadelphia area, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1895, Gratz College is the oldest independent college for Jewish studies in North America. Today, Gratz enrolls a diverse population of students from around the world in graduate-level programs that reflect its historic focus on Jewish studies and education. An early adopter of online education, Gratz's premiere programs include Doctorates in Holocaust/Genocide Studies and Education Leadership, as well as the only Master’s in Antisemitism Studies in the United States.
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