The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) joined other prestigious museums, archives, and organizations with the launch of its own Google Cultural Institute page, bringing its renowned Jewish historical collection online to a wider audience. The includes close to 70 items from the 102 year-old humanitarian organization’s Global Archives including photographs, documents, artifacts, film, and audio, along with two abridged exhibits based on the centennial exhibit, ‘I Live. Send Help.,’ originally presented at the New-York Historical Society in 2014.
‘Our collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute affords JDC the opportunity to reach even wider groups of people who may have connections to JDC’s historic work over the last century or have interest in the harrowing journey of the Jewish people during this period. By significantly expanding our digital presence and becoming part of a family of institutions known the world over for their legendary holdings, we are ensuring that our efforts to rescue those in danger and provide relief for the neediest are given new significance and attention,’ said Linda Levi, Director of the JDC Global Archives.
Highlights of the collection include a letter from Albert Einstein offering thanks and praise to JDC for helping French children escape to America during the Holocaust; a photo of artist Marc Chagall at a JDC-funded children’s colony in Malakhovka, Russia, where he taught art; a pair of eyeglasses held together by string, wire, and rubber bands, with the original prescription from 1947, owned by an elderly Jewish man who did not have the glasses replaced until the 1990’s when JDC came to his aid; and rare excerpts from JDC films detailing the plight of Jews during WWII.
Officially debuted in 2011 on the heels of the Google Art Project, the Google Cultural Institute enables global visitors to seamlessly navigate through content divided by key categories, scroll through select time periods, zoom in on ancient treasures, and take 360 degree virtual tours of museum and heritage sites – with solely an Internet connection. Users can also leverage the Google search tool on the site to browse broadly through projects, artists, mediums, colors, art movements, as well as historical events and figures. Partner institutions of the Google Cultural Institute, who have made their exhibits and archival content available online, include the British Museum, Yad Vashem, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York.
Boasting one of the most important collections in the world for the study of modern Jewish history, JDC Archives comprises the historical records of JDC, which has worked overseas with Jewish communities and others in distress since WWI. With records of activity in over 90 countries from 1914 to present day, the archives includes over 3 miles of documents, 100,000 photographs, a research library of more than 6,000 books, 1,100 audio recordings including oral histories, and a collection of 2,500 videos. For more information, .