Gush Etzion Foundation

The Holocaust Responsa Database

The Holocaust Responsa Project, a one of a kind endeavor, includes a collection of Halakhic and ethical questions and answers written during and after the Holocaust.

The Netivei Halacha Institute, which has been active in Gush Etzion for the past 22 years, initiated the project and has researched, located, and gathered the Responsa from thousands of books and periodicals in order to make them accessible to the world of science and to the general public. Many of the questions were written in the midst of the horrors of the Holocaust, and the answers testify to the ways in which the spiritual leaders of the generation coped with halakhic dilemmas, along with ethical and legal questions.

Some of the questions asked include: Can I save myself by assuming a non-Jewish identity? Is it permissible to escape from a concentration camp, knowing that the remaining prisoners will suffer or will be killed as a result? Are the camp inmates allowed to eat the flesh of their dead brothers to save their own lives? These are just several examples of the difficult issues in the database with which the Jews who were trapped under Nazi rule were forced to deal with during the Holocaust.

During the first years of research, The importance and great worth of the project was acknowledged and recognized by Israel’s Ministry of Education, The Director of Culture, and the Claims Conference, which until 2012, funded the first CD versions of the database.

Funding Sources and Costs

Until now, the first online version was developed and funded by CDI Systems, a Jerusalem-based software company specializing in electronic publishing. The Netivei Halacha Institute is interested in continuing to develop this unique database and establishing a team that will carry out research work to locate additional records from a wide range of sources. In order to continue the project, the institute needs funding for the following:

  • Continuation of the research – employing a team of workers, who will continue to locate Responsa $100,000
  • Improving and developing new features for the online version, adding indexes + maintaining and running the site. $90,000
  • Holocaust education – expanding our programming consisting of lectures delivered by Holocaust educators and students on this topic $12,000

All donations are tax-deductable in the United States, Israel, and the UK via the Gush Etzion Foundation

For more information on this project, please go to www.responsa-holocaust.com

ItemDetailsCost (in USD)
ResearchContinuation of the research$100,000
Online FeaturesImproving and developing new features for the online version$90,000
Holocaust EducationExpanding our programming$12,000
Total project cost: $202,000