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Use our multimedia maps, and explore the family pictures, archival material, and personal stories of 21 Jewish Holocaust survivors to get a unique insight into Europe’s rich Jewish heritage, and to discover sites of Jewish life in towns in Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.
The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is one of the world’s leading academic institutions, working to preserve and study the history of East European Jewry. The institute was founded in 1925 in Vilnius and Berlin by scholars and intellectuals, including Dr. Zemach Shabad, to create a centre that studies Jewish life in all its aspects, from language and religion to material culture and folklore. Because Vilnius was an important centre of Jewish culture, it was chosen to be the home of the new institute, which was initially named the Yiddish Scientific Institute.
During its first 15 years, the institute published over one hundred volumes of research studies in the social sciences and humanities. YIVO was embraced not only by scholars but also by ordinary Jews, who saw the institute as a focus of national pride. Archivists from around the world would send them books, manuscripts, photographs, posters, and other artifacts. Their contributions helped YIVO amass an important library and archives, which today constitute the world’s most extensive collection of materials relating to the history of East European Jewry.