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Search on for Austrian WWI memorabilia

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Search on for Austrian WWI memorabilia
A scene from the trenches during WWI. Photo: APA/DPA
12:35 CEST+02:00
A digital archive of pan-European personal memorabilia from the First World War – called Europeana - is currently being assembled, with more than 130,000 items collected from 14 countries so far.

Austrians wishing to have their personal items included in the collection can bring their memorabilia to the ORF Radio Kulturhaus in Argentinier Straße on August 1st.

The collection to date includes letters and diaries, postcards and official documents, photos and movies, prostheses, and even toys made by soldiers at the front for their children back home.

Items are scanned in full and categorized under various headings, with additional information – dates, times, locations, theatres of war and troop details - provided where available in multiple languages.

So far a total of 3,570 documents have been scanned in the letters category alone.

Material is classified into themes, including "life in the trenches", "propaganda", and "theatres of war".

The latter is further divided into documents relating to naval warfare, air warfare, the Eastern Front, the Western Front, the Home Front and the Italian Front.

Project manager, Frank Drauschke, is excited about what might come to light in Austria.

At a similar day of action in Munich, a postcard written by Adolf Hitler as a private during WWI was brought in.

Herbert Hayduck, head of ORF archives, says the items brought in on August 1st will not only be used in the Europeana online project, but will also provide enrichment for future ORF programmes. 

More than 12,000 people are already following Europeana, with many submitting photos and information online.

"With a project like this it is possible to put together the small pieces of the puzzle of the story," said Drauschke.

In addition to personal memorabilia, Europeana is also making sections of institutional collections accessible, including those of the Austrian National Library (ANL).

The Vienna Museum and University of Vienna are also represented by small contributions.

A First World War exhibition is currently on display in the National Library, with parts being rebuilt in cooperation with Europeana to create a permanent virtual exhibition.

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