In the U.S., yesterday marked the start of Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust. It began with a House resolution in 1979 that set aside April 28th and 29th, the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp at Dachau, as days to remember those whose lives were cut short by the Nazis. The Days of Remembrance has since evolved into an annual eight-day commemoration led by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
This week also marks the anniversary of the partnership between Ancestry.com and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in the World Memory Project. The World Memory Project is a crowd-sourcing project that allows the public to help make the records from the Museum searchable by name online for free—so more families of survivors and victims can discover what happened to their loved ones during one of the darkest chapters in human history.
More than 3,100 contributors have indexed 2.44+ million records in the past three years. 15 new databases are now searchable free on Ancestry.com.
This project is the perfect way to pay tribute to the millions who were victimized and died in the Holocaust. Getting started is as simple as downloading a free software program and then typing details from a record image into a database that will then become searchable online. There are currently three projects to choose from in the indexing stages.
Prior to the German invasion of Poland, Lodz had a large Jewish population, which was estimated at around 223,000 of the 665,000 residents of the city. The Lodz ghetto was established in February of 1940, and by May it was sealed, with residents not allowed out and outsiders not allowed in. When the Russians liberated the Lodz ghetto in 1945, there were 877 survivors left in the ghetto. The vast majority of those who passed through the camp either died of the conditions, or were sent to the killing center at Chelmno, or in its final days, to the extermination camp at Auschwitz.
While the victims of the Holocaust may be gone, their story lives on in the records of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Each name that is indexed is a fitting tribute to those who the Nazis thought would someday be forgotten.
About Juliana Smith
Juliana Szucs Smith has been working for Ancestry.com for more than 16 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.