Hall of Names
The Hall of Names
About the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names
The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names (or Names Database) is a unique international endeavor initiated and led by Yad Vashem. Its primary aim is to recover the names and reconstruct the life stories of each individual Jew murdered in the Shoah. To date (beginning of 2014) an estimated 4.5 million murdered Jews have been commemorated. It is our moral duty to respect their last behest and remember them.
With the goal of making accessible the large amounts of information gathered at Yad Vashem regarding Jews persecuted during the Shoah, in April 2014 the Names Database was expanded to include details on previously unrecorded victims, among them many whose fate has yet to be determined. In all probability, a large number of these individuals did not survive. Efforts to search for reliable information testifying to their final fate are ongoing.
The database is comprised of Pages of Testimony, historical documentation and additional sources.
Millions of names that appear in historical documents have not yet been identified or recorded in the database; many additional names still linger in the memories of survivors or in their family folklore. Building the database is a work in progress. For further information on the various sources of names in the Names’ Database click here.
The Central Database was made available online in 2004. At that time, Yad Vashem intensified its worldwide outreach campaign - urging Jewish communities and families around the world to check the database for the names of Shoah victims known to them, and to submit unrecorded names via the site. This is a race against time – we must redeem as many names as possible before the generation that remembers them is no longer with us.
To find out how to launch a Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Campaign in your area please access our online Community Outreach Guide.
Join us and help ensure that every victim of the Shoah has a place in our collective memory.
Read highlights of family discoveries and reunions that resulted from information documented on the Pages of Testimony in the Names Database.
View Sibling Reunion Video
More on the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names
"The online Names Database creates a link not only with the dead but also among the living, within the Jewish people," said Nobel Laureate Prof. Elie Wiesel after filling out a Page of Testimony for his father, Shlomo. "It strengthens the connections between families, between cities, between communities. Furthermore, it brings a heightened awareness and a deepened sense of remembrance."
The Names' Database enables visitors to search for the names of many millions of victims of anti-Jewish persecution during the Shoah recorded to date. In addition, it allows users to submit new Pages of Testimony – special forms containing biographical details of individual victims – for those murdered and as yet unrecorded. The database also provides educational material about the Holocaust through the “Stories Behind the Names” feature. Developed by the International School for Holocaust Studies and the Hall of Names, this online learning activity uses Pages of Testimony as the starting point for a personalized educational session. Through links on the Pages of Testimony, the victim’s life is put into context, through additional historical, geographical, and biographical information.
On the site’s main search screen, users may enter the victim’s family or maiden name, first name, and location before or during the Shoah. Results yield matches and near-matches, as well as basic biographical details. The unique search engine cross-references phonetics and synonyms in Latin, Hebrew and Cyrillic characters. Users can perform advanced searches for common names or numerous results, where the search may be narrowed using additional search parameters such as dates, names of family members, or even by the names the person who submitted the Page.
More than one third of the names in the Database were obtained from the more than 2.6 million Pages of Testimony submitted to Yad Vashem over the past 50 years, nearly all of which have now been digitized. Other names have been gleaned from additional computerized lists, including deportation, camp and ghetto records. Some of these records were contributed by different institutions cooperating with Yad Vashem in this momentous endeavor. With a click, users can view and print Pages of Testimony, or a screen containing a victim’s brief personal story, based on information from archival sources available in the Database. Each “mini-biography” further links to information about the particular victim, such as the places he/she lived and died in, related historical events and more.
Through the site, users are encouraged to submit new Pages of Testimony, add photographs or documents to existing ones, or submit corrections to previously submitted data through online "feedback forms". Yad Vashem’s staff verifies and cross-references the new information for historical accuracy. Once verified, the new Pages of Testimony are added to the Database. Yad Vashem asks submitters of online Pages of Testimony also to print, sign and mail the Pages they have submitted so these may be housed for perpetuity in the Hall of Names.
Submissions can take up to six months before they are uploaded to the online database which is updated every three months. Additional resources would enable Yad Vashem to shorten response time, insert new features to the site and add newly digitized lists of names at an accelerated pace.
The computerization of names of Shoah victims in the Names' Database and its uploading to the Internet were made possible through the assistance of longtime Yad Vashem supporters.