The Yad Vashem National Holocaust memorial unveiled a project 11/17/2003 that will eventually give internet users access to biographical information on more than half of the 6 million Jewish Holocaust victims, the largest such database in the world.
The project capped years of work and tens of millions of dollars spent by Yad Vashem, which memorializes Nazi Germany’s destruction of European Jewry during World War II. By entering data – including name, birth date, place of birth and occupation – users all over the world will be able to sift through the museum’s vast files on Holocaust victims.
The project, which will give open access to the largest compilation of Holocaust information anywhere, will be fully operational in June of 2004, said Zvi Newman, a Yad Vashem spokesman.
“Everything we have on our files will soon be available to people regardless of where they are,” Newman said. “This includes testimony from relatives and friends about the victim, photos, witness confirmation of the victim’s death, and other relevant data.”
Internet users would be able to add new names and new information to existing files and correct any mistakes the files may contain, he said. “The time is approaching when the last of the Holocaust survivors will no longer be alive,” Newman said. “Our mission is to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust endures. This project is a major part of the process.”
The project was unveiled at the annual convention of the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities of North America, an umbrella organization that donates more than US$200 million annually to Israel. It is holding its convention in Jerusalem for only the second time in its 70 year history.
‘Gold Train’ Internet database
Holocaust survivors from Hungary can now surf the Web to find property allegedly stolen by the Nazis and later seized by U.S. forces. The Web site,
has pictures and descriptions of the personal effects seized by U.S. forces when they captured a Nazi train laden with Holocaust booty stolen from Jews. The personal property from the “Gold Train” was never returned to the Jews, and a lawsuit that relies on classified documents is under way to recover the assets, which the lawsuit claims were appropriated by members of the U.S. Army.
A September 2002 court ruling waived the United States’ sovereign immunity in the case, allowing the lawsuit, which recently has gotten the attention of several members of Congress, to go forward.