June 14, 2007
NORMAN AND IRMA BRAMAN OF MIAMI JOIN UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM’S FOUNDERS SOCIETY
Million Dollar Gift Will Help Museum Open International Tracing Service Archive to Survivors
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Norman and Irma Braman of Miami, Florida, recently became members of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Founders Society with a $1 million gift to the Museum through the Braman Family Foundation. The Bramans’ gift will support the Museum’s efforts to open and copy the International Tracing Service (ITS) archive from Bad Arolsen, Germany, and make it available to Holocaust survivors and scholars. The Museum’s Founders Society is comprised of 133 individuals, foundations and organizations who have donated $1 million or more.
“The information contained in the ITS archive may provide answers to many survivors’ questions about the fates of their loved ones—questions they have waited more than 60 years to have answered,” says Mr. Braman. “We are proud to be supporting the Museum’s historic efforts to open the archive and make the information available to survivors across the country.”
The ITS is the largest closed Holocaust-era archive in the world. It contains 30-50 million documents on approximately 17.5 million individuals. The archive is governed by an 11-nation International Commission. Opening the archive requires the consent of all 11 nations. The Museum has led a years-long effort to open the archive, and in 2006, the German Justice Minister announced at the Museum that Germany would change its longstanding objection to its opening. Since then, the Museum has worked with the 10 other governments to secure their agreement as well.
The Bramans’ gift will help accelerate the complex processes of transferring the archive to the Museum, developing a software system to make it searchable, upgrading the Museum’s hardware storage capabilities to hold the archive, and training Museum staff to search its contents. Because the Museum’s goal is serving the survivor community, no survivor will have to travel to Washington, D.C. to learn what happened to their loved ones.
The Museum expects to receive the first part of the archive (13.5 million incarceration records and about 40 million index name cards) this fall. The Museum will conduct extensive outreach to survivors throughout the United States to assist them in searching for information about their families who were victimized in the Holocaust.
“Survivors have waited far too long to gain access to this information,” states Museum Chairman Fred S. Zeidman. “The Bramans’ commitment to the Museum and their long-standing support of the survivor community will help bring their decades-long wait to see this information to an end. We are deeply grateful to them.”
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires leaders and citizens to confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity and strengthen democracy. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanence, and donors nationwide make possible its educational activities and global outreach. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.