August 21, 2006
UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM EXPANDS VICTIM DATABASE
Museum Also Launching Initiative to Develop Database of Non-Jewish Victims of Nazism
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, announced a significant expansion in the information available about Holocaust victims in both institutions through the Victim List Project. Almost 20,000 archival lists, including arrest and deportation lists on Jewish and non-Jewish victims of Nazi Germany, are now accessible to researchers through both institutions’ victim databases. Funding for the Victim List Project is through the Swiss Bank Settlement.
In addition to its work on the Victim List Project, the Museum’s Registry of Holocaust Survivors is launching the Victim Information and Data (VIAD) project. VIAD will serve as a central repository for information on non-Jewish victims of Nazi Germany. It will incorporate information from old and new archives, including information from the Victim List Project.
“Currently, no institution is systematically collecting the names of non-Jewish victims of Nazi Germany,” says Michael Haley Goldman, Acting Director of the Museum’s Registry of Holocaust Survivors. “While the Museum continues to gather information on Holocaust survivors and victims, establishing a central repository for non-Jewish victims of Nazi policies will also greatly assist the families of victims and scholars.”
The information from the Victim List Project regarding Jewish and non-Jewish victims will be accessible to survivors, their family members and researchers. Initially, researchers will be limited to searching for and retrieving complete lists. The Museum and Yad Vashem will begin identifying and capturing each of the names on the 20,000 lists, eventually enabling researchers to search the lists by individual name.
“Having the Museum and Yad Vashem divide the lists for cataloging will expedite the process of making the databases searchable by individual names rather than having to read an entire deportation list to a concentration camp, for example,” continues Haley Goldman.
The Victim List Project was approved in November 2000 as part of the Plan of Allocation and Distribution of Settlement Proceeds for the Swiss Banks Settlement. Ten million of the $1.25 billion Settlement Fund has been reserved for the following types of activities under the Court’s direction:
- Location and identification of archival and testimonial sources of the names of those who perished and of survivors who suffered;
- Improvement of access to archival repositories containing names;
- Projects to digitize names, to place them on the Internet, and to integrate them with further information about the individuals concerned and with other relevant information;
- Broad-based cooperation among the leading relevant institutions towards these aims.
Situated among our national monuments to freedom, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is both a memorial to the past and a living reminder of the moral obligations of individuals and societies. The Museum fulfills its mission through a public/private partnership in which federal support guarantees the institution’s permanence and hundreds of thousands of donors nationwide make possible its educational activities and global outreach. More than 23 million people – including more than 8 million schoolchildren – have visited the Museum since it opened in 1993, and through its Web site, traveling exhibitions and educational programs, the Museum reaches millions more every year. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.