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REL 373: Holocaust and Theology: Primary Sources

Searching for Primary Sources

There is no particular area in the library, aside from the archives, where you will find primary sources shelved. You need to use creativity and insight to think about where to find primary sources for your research. Diaries, memoirs, and letters are possibilities; so are popular press accounts of events and official documents. The items listed here are a sampling of resources that may prove helpful in historical research. Look, too, for collections of documents published as anthologies or for important historical texts from the web sources listed here. For further options, check out our guide to primary sources available in our library.

If you need help, please don't hesitate to ask a librarian!

Popular Press

These resources will lead you to newspaper and magazine articles.

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

Primary sources related to your topics are often found in edited volumes in our library.  These sources have often been collected, translated and edited by scholars, who often present the primary sources within context and additional commentary. 

To find these sources, go into the Advanced Search option on the library's catalog (look for it under the search box on the homepage).  Enter search terms related to your topic in a search box.  In a separate box, enter the word "sources" and set the drop-down option as "Subject."  You may have to play around with the search terms a bit.  A librarian can help with this, too.

Organizations with Primary Sources

Think of the organizations operating at the time; some might have digitized archival materials available online. Search for the website of the organization, such as the World Council of Churches, and see if there's a link to their archives. NOTE: It's unlikely that you'll find a large amount of materials available digitally, but you might find something.

    • World Council of Churches Archives
      Search the Archives to find primary sources available online. Note that most of their archival materials are available only in person. If you can't talk Professor Solberg into funding a trip to Geneva, browse to see if any materials are available online.
    • Jewish-Christian Relations
      Online resource containing a wealth of materials about historical and current dialogues between Judaism and Christianity.
    • German Propaganda Archive
      Features propaganda from Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). "The goal is to help people understand the two great totalitarian systems of the twentieth century by giving them access to the primary material." Texts of speeches, posters and cartoons, excerpts from other writings, and related websites are organized into subject areas. Created and maintained by a professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. [description from]


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Julie Gilbert
I love meeting with students and faculty to talk about your research, including any issues you have - or even if you just want to brainstorm. There are lots of ways to reach me. Email me with questions or use the old fashioned phone number below to contact me. Or stop by my office hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:30 - 11:30 (Library 215 - ask at the front desk if you need directions).
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