Memoria [EN] No 50 (11/2021) - Page 13

As a small institute, however, Kazerne Dossin was faced with very limited experiences with mapping, and especially visualising stories via maps. Wolfgang Schellenbacher (DÖW) was so kind as to guide us through the possible outcomes and to create maps for the project. Kazerne Dossin delivered an overview of the addresses of the families, which he transformed into geo-coordinates. Via trial and error we learned how to ‘clean up’ the addresses included in the datasets. A few streets mentioned in the 1940 registers do not exist anymore today and need to be set out approximately where the streets used to be, and in some cases, the numbering of the houses in some of the streets may have changed, leading to less precise indications of the exact houses for a small amount of data in the historical dataset. Three heat maps were created via QGIS, a free and open-source cross-platform, which gave a visual overview of the dispersion of the OT families in Antwerp and especially the concentration of these families, mostly within the Jewish neighbourhood of Antwerp. The three maps all focused on the city, but from a different height, thus showing more details or less, depending on the area that was shown on each map.

In addition to the dispersion of the families at one point in time, we also wished to show the public – both academic and general – how certain events impacted the OT families. Many fell victim to the four large raids in Antwerp in the summer and autumn of 1942. Adding a timeline to a map of Antwerp allows to combine geo-spatial and time elements, e.g. who was arrested during the first large raid in Antwerp, who during the second, who received a convocation for forced labour, etc. We considered multiple licenced software packages, but all came with quite high licence fees and the necessity to have experience with GIS or even programming, or they did not allow us to combine time and space data. Neatline software was used to create more detailed and interactive maps of Antwerp, based on the geo-coordinates already provided. These maps also included a time element which allows users to switch between certain moments in time.

Mapping the addresses of the OT families and the raids in Antwerp was made possible by Neatline (an Omeka plugin).

In the future, to fully present the research data to a wider audience and to continue to analyse geospatial data by using maps, we wish to include the information on the members of the families in the map, mentioning their names and dates of birth when clicking on a certain address (but of course in compliance with the GDPR for those that survived). Neatline does not provide a function to upload both the address and the person data in one sequence: one can upload the address data but then has to put in manually the person data. Doing this for 1.501 persons would be too time consuming. Kazerne Dossin has therefore partnered up with the city of Antwerp to use the licensed ArcGIS software. This will allow us to incorporate time, space and personal data in the overview map, but will also allow us to create maps showing the personal journey of some of the families. However, for institutes that want to analyse and show large datasets, Neatline remains highly recommended.