Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Buchenwald. Those names should cause readers to shudder as they remember the horrors that were wrought there and the millions of people who died behind their walls. However, as the years pass and the numbers of Holocaust survivors dwindle, the stark, frightening memories of what was done by the Nazis and their sympathizers could start to fade, something that must never happen lest history repeat itself.
Now, Ancestry.com is working to make sure that “never forget” is more than just a catchphrase. The genealogy company is bringing two collections of Holocaust records online, accessible around the globe to members of the public, whether they are members of the site or not. The Arolsen Archives, an international center on Nazi persecution that is home to a UNESCO-protected archive, gave Ancestry access to its archives. The names and information stored in the records were then digitized, making the millions of names and other critical information searchable online for the first time ever.
As a result of this partnership, people around the world will now be able to digitally search two distinct record archives to learn more about their family history during and after the Holocaust.
Here are specifics on the two collections.
One is a collection of passenger lists of people who fled the war and those displaced by the war—including Holocaust survivors, former concentration-camp inmates and forced laborers, and refugees from Central and Eastern European countries as well as certain non-European countries. The archive includes 1.7 million records and 300,000 images that would otherwise be lost.
The other encompasses lists of the persecuted and those who died but is not limited to people who were incarcerated in camps or other locations. It also includes those living in Germany and German-occupied territories with non-German citizenship, stateless persons, and German Jews. This archive includes 9.97 million records and 900,000 images from a time that should never be forgotten.