Algorithmic turn in Holocaust memory transmission: Challenges, opportunities, threats


Mykola Makhortykh


The project examines the implications of the growing use of algorithmic systems for storing, retrieving, and filtering Holocaust-related content by research institutions (e.g., Yad Vashem) and online platforms (e.g., Google and YouTube). Ranging from visual archive content retrieval mechanisms to platform recommendation systems to web search engines, these systems are integral for informing societies and individuals about the Holocaust. By offering new opportunities for Holocaust memory transmission, algorithmic systems can facilitate formation of cosmopolitan memory of past atrocities that is important for countering the rise of antisemitism and right-wing populism that threatens the future of united and peaceful Europe. However, the deployment of algorithms is associated with multiple technical and ethical challenges as well as threats, such as cyberattacks aiming to undermine system availability and integrity. Using a mixed-method approach, the project aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of the algorithmic turn in Holocaust memory transmission by scrutinizing challenges, opportunities, and threats associated with it. To do so, it combines a broad range of methods coming from humanities (historical analysis, content analysis), social sciences (interviews), social and technology studies (infrastructure analysis), computer science (automated and manual algorithmic auditing), and cybersecurity (dark web monitoring and risk assessment).


2022 – 2026


Holocaust, algorithms, web search, recommendation systems, platforms, dark web