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About the World Memory Project

About the World Memory Project

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has gathered millions of historical documents containing details about survivors and victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution during World War II.

Ancestry has spent more than a decade creating advanced technological tools that have allowed billions of historical documents to become searchable online.

Together, the two organizations created the World Memory Project to allow 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.

In early 2023, Ancestry ended their crowdsourcing efforts but continue to index USHMM materials through other means.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the World Memory Project?
The World Memory Project is building the largest free online resource of information about victims and survivors of Nazi persecution—to restore the identities of people the Nazis tried to erase from history and enable families to discover the fates of missing loved ones.

What is included in this online resource?
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has gathered millions of pages of documentation featuring information on more than 17 million individuals. Information from many of these documents is being made searchable through this project.

When will I be able to search the information the World Memory Project is bringing online?
Information made searchable by contributors to the World Memory Project is available online now. As contributors continue to index records, the database will grow, potentially helping many more families.

Are the documents themselves available online?
No. The documents remain in the Museum’s collections. Indexes including names, dates, and other information from the documents are being made searchable. However you are able to request copies of documents through the Museum’s Database of Holocaust Survivor and Victim Names.

Why is the public no longer able to contribute to the World Memory Project?
Ancestry has discontinued all their crowdsourcing efforts (known as the World Archives Project), however they still work on indexing USHMM collections. From Ancestry’s announcement: “Ancestry is committed to preserving and amplifying at-risk history and powering new discoveries for all through new and exciting technology. To amplify our impact in the community, we have reallocated our resources to focus on these new technologies and have made the difficult decision to discontinue the World Archives Project.”

I have historical documents that the Museum may be interested in. What should I do with them?
The Museum continues to rescue evidence of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution. You can find information on donating materials at: