10 January 2018
In advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day later this month, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, is launching its Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names today in French. The gathering of the 6 million Shoah victims' names for the Names Database are a unique aspect of Yad Vashem's mission to ensure that each Jewish man, woman and child murdered during the Holocaust is remembered. Yad Vashem has created this Names Database in order to make the names of these people accessible to the entire world and as an effort to reconstruct their life's stories to emphasize that each victim was a human being. Yad Vashem's Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project partners with Jewish communities and organizations around the world, urgently encouraging families and individuals to check the Database for the names of Shoah victims known to them, and assisting them to complete the historical record through the submission of Pages of Testimony, photographs, and other personal documentation about the victims. The source of close to half the total number of names is from Pages of Testimony, while the remainder were gleaned from archival lists and documents.
As of today, the Names Database, containing the names of some 4,700,000 Holocaust victims, will be available in six languages: English, Hebrew, Spanish, Russian, German and French. The French Names Database will be accessible from the Yad Vashem website in French.
"The Germans sought not only to annihilate the Jews, they also aimed to wipe the Jewish people and culture from the collective memory," stated Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. "For decades now, Yad Vashem has been on a vital mission to gather the names of the six million Holocaust victims, rescuing their identities from the abyss of anonymity. Yad Vashem harnesses the most advanced technology and knowledge in the service of memory, which enhances the collection of Shoah victims' names as well as the accessibility of Holocaust-related information for a global audience. While we have recovered a remarkable 4,700,000 names, over a million victims remain unidentified. It is a race against time, and we are working tirelessly to uncover the remaining names in order to ensure that their memories, and their legacies, live on."
"The Holocaust didn't happen in one place," explained Director of the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem Dr. Alexander Avram. "It happened all over Europe and North Africa to Jews from various backgrounds and nationalities, so it is important that the Names Database be accessible in as many languages as possible. With the new Database in French, we hope to reach even wider audiences, in order to continue our work and collect as many names of victims as we can."
The French Database is being launched at an event today in Paris held in cooperation with the French Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah (Fondation pour la Memoire de la Shoah), marking the completion of a decade-long project collecting names of Holocaust victims from the area of Greater Hungary during World War II. The project enabled the identification of more than 200,000 names that were added to the Shoah Victims' Names Database; today Yad Vashem has information on 80 percent of Hungarian Holocaust victims.