In recent months, in Israel and around the world, hundreds of organizations and individuals have joined the 11th hour Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery project. Thanks to your dedicated efforts, together we are moving closer to our goal of commemorating the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust. This is not an easy task. Aging survivors, witnesses and members of the next generation need assistance in completing Pages of Testimony. Many communities and individuals are still unaware of the project; there is much more to be done and we need your help now.
I would like to take this opportunity to report on our progress, share some inspirational stories and link you to our new Poster and additional resources.
This year over 17,000 new Pages of Testimony have been submitted to Yad Vashem, together with some 1,500 photographs. At the same time, we continue to scan and computerize names of victims that appear in various documents and archival lists. Our next Database update, scheduled for the end of the year, will include upwards of 68,000 names of victims from Hungary, some 116,000 names commemorated in published Yizkor books and about 25,000 names from the records of the Soviet Extraordinary Commission held in the Yad Vashem Archive.
Families Reunite Through the Names Database
Families continue to be reunited as a result of discovering Pages of Testimony submitted by relatives they never knew existed. The Margalit family from Ashkelon recently discovered surviving family members through the online Names Database. (Click to read the story).
Names Project Targets Russian Speaking World
On Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 2006), Yad Vashem launched the Russian language interface of the online Names Database, introducing the Names project to Russian speakers in the Ukraine and in Israel. While close to two-thirds of the Jews murdered in the Shoah resided in the territories of the Former Soviet Union, only 25% of them have so far been identified and registered on Pages of Testimony. In order to recover as many of these missing names as possible, Yad Vashem, in cooperation with local organizations, aims to contact Jewish populations where former citizens of the Soviet Union now reside—the FSU, Israel, Germany, the USA and Canada. (Click to read article).
Bar-Mitzvah of Remembrance
On the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah, Michael Reingewirtz Samra commemorated Yitzchak Yaakov Dragun who was killed in the Shoah at the age of 12. Yitzchak came from Zuromin, the same town in Poland as Michael’s great-grandfather, for whom he was named. This inspiring twinning initiative of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial seeks to connect the children killed in the Shoah with present-day B’nei-Mitzvah. It would not have been possible if Yitzchak’s surviving brother had not submitted a Page of Testimony for his brother to Yad Vashem. Research on the Yad Vashem website led the Reingewirtz Samra family to Yitzchak’s surviving brother in Israel who was overjoyed to learn that young Michael had chosen to carry the torch of his brother’s memory. (click to read email from Michael’s mother, Sarah Michaela Reingewirtz (Samra).
[NAME] now more than ever, it is incumbent upon us to restore the individual identities to those who perished. If you have not yet done so, please download and disseminate the recently updated Page of Testimony flyer and urge those you know to complete and return it to Yad Vashem.
New resources and promotional materials:
Posters (English, Hebrew, or Russian) may be ordered free of charge. Please post them in synagogues, JCCs, bookstores, etc., and make Pages of Testimony available in your community. Send us your name, mailing address and phone number, stating how many you require. (click to view poster in English), or write and request a file (pdf) of the Hebrew or Russian versions to view on your computer.
New Guidelines – Who should complete a Page of Testimony? For whom? (Click to view document)
New on the Yad Vashem Website: The Shoah Related Lists Database includes some 11,650 archival lists, indexed from one million pages of documentation in twenty languages. The Database is estimated to contain some 5 million names on scanned images.
If you have not yet registered to begin your local campaign please download and fax the registration form to us. (Click to download form)
Please report on your efforts on behalf of the Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery project. Take a few minutes to complete a feedback form and return it to us. All communities and individuals will receive honorable mention on our website. (Click to download form)
Remember: visit our Community Outreach Guide for ideas how to introduce the project to your community or organization.
Call for volunteers
You can help recover Shoah victims’ names by photographing memorial boards or Jewish tombstones bearing names of victims who perished in the Holocaust in your communities’ synagogues and cemeteries. Send digital photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org including the name and address of the synagogue or cemetery as well as your name, address and phone number. Printed photos may be posted to Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names.
With wishes for a peaceful and productive New Year,
Cynthia Wroclawski, Outreach Manager
The Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project
Yad Vashem, P.O.B. 3477
Jerusalem 91034 ISRAEL