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The Treasures that Record our History

© UNESCO and HarperCollins

A new publication compiling documentary heritage items that are inscribed on the Memory of the World Register has been launched by UNESCO and HarperCollins. Documentary treasures from 1700 BC to the present day are accompanied by background information about their worldwide significance and illustrated by high quality photographic materials.

Documentary heritage in archives, libraries and museums constitutes a major part of the memory of peoples, and reflects the diversity of languages and cultures. UNESCO, through its Memory of the World Programme, promotes the preservation of this heritage for future generations and encourages universal access to it. Read through selected pages from the new publication:

Diaries of Anne Frank

Anna Frank is the Jewish girl who hid in an Amsterdam annexe during the German occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War. The diaries date from 14 June 1942 to 1 August 1944, and there are associated writings, quotes and stories. Anne Frank’s voice has come to represent a silent multitude who could not speak for itself: the millions of Jews who suffered and died during the Second World War. Anne wrote in extraordinary, oppressive circumstances in an Amsterdam annexe, while retaining her optimism and the voice of a normal adolescent girl.

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Construction and fall of the Berlin Wall

The fifteen selected documents are a chronological selection – from 1961 to 1990 – of television news items, TV and film documentaries, photographs and official documents, all focused on the Berlin Wall. These documents, hold in various archives in Berlin, Potsdam, Kleinmachnow and Hamburg, are fundamental and unique records of the political heritage and the collective memory of Germany, Europe and the world from 1961 until the end of the Cold War.

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Criminal Court Case No. 253/1963

Court records of the Rivonia Trial of the top leadership of the anti-apartheid organization, the African National Congress (ANC), leading to the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. It includes documents and exhibits related to the trial. As a result of this trial, the world’s attention was drawn to the iniquities of the apartheid regime. This strengthened the international movement against the system, leading the United Nations to declare apartheid ‘a crime against humanity’.

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Network of information and counter information on the military regime in Brazil (1964-1985)

These collections comprise police, military and state documents from Brazil’s dictatorship. Their importance is in their insight into the espionage methods of the military regime and its police, and their value for victims of repression. These methods were part of Plan Condor, which resulted in human rights abuses in Latin America.

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Human Rights Archive of Chile

This collection comprises trial transcripts, newspaper reports, news clips, photographs and other historical documents kept by different institutions in Chile. It represents a unique history of the dictatorship period in Chile from 1973 to 1990, the effects of which are still reverberating today. It seeks to ensure that the memory of human rights violations and the defense of human rights is kept alive.

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Liberation Struggle Living Archive Collection

These unique audiovisual recordings document key events that occurred as part of the struggle against the apartheid government in South Africa. Footage includes many of the main leaders of the anti-apartheid movement. The apartheid struggle in South Africa was one of the defining racial and ideological confrontations of the 20th century and has had a global political and cultural impact.

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Memory of the World: The Treasures That Record Our History from 1700 BC to the Present Day will be published in October 2012. To order your copy now, please click here.

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