The Blavatnik Archive was founded in 2005 as a non-profit foundation dedicated to preserving materials on 20th-century Jewish history, and world history, with a special emphasis on World War I, World War II, and Soviet Russia. The Archive was established to reflect Len Blavatnik’s commitment to cultural heritage and expand his support for primary source–based scholarship and education, in order to share knowledge on the Jewish experience with future generations.
The permanent galleries are said to be the UK’s first to“explore how artists, photographers and filmmakers together bear witness to, document and tell the story of conflict, and the public’s understanding of war”.
To date the Archive’s holdings consist of more than 120,000 items such as video testimonies, postcards, photographs, posters, diaries, letters and more. As part of the Foundation and Archive’s work to keep the story of Jewish history alive and counter antisemitism through education, especially important at a time of increased nationalism, both organizations support institutions including the New York’s Center for Jewish History and the USC Shoah Foundation – which interviews survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust.
Professor Vassili Schedrin, Alfred and Isabel Bader Post-Doctoral Fellow in Jewish History and coordinator of the Russian and East European Studies Network, Queen’s University:“Blavatnik Archive is a unique institution, an archive of the future that exists today. It’s the place where the age-old art of archiving—collecting, preserving, and cataloging—is taken to a new, creative level of transcribing, translating, and storytelling. Hence the archive creates meaning by turning the past into history.”