Protecting heritage during a crisis: A case example from Syria

Heritage creates people’s memory as well as their existence. The Knooz Syria archive represents the history of the press and printing in Syria from the mid-nineteenth century up to the 1970s. When its founders began collecting materials, they did not predict the crisis that wrecked Syria beginning in 2011. Forced to flee Damascus, they left behind tens of thousands of newspapers, books and documents representing more than 200 years of extended history. With the help of the Prince Claus Fund in the Netherlands, they were able to move an important part of the collection to a safe place. Work continues to move the remaining parts and to archive it electronically. This essay examines the creation of that archive, the threats it faces and the possibilities for its future.


This article is part of the book ‘SOIMA: Unlocking Sound and Image Heritage