NPR logo Holocaust Project Identifies 4 Million Victims, Continues Search For Names


Holocaust Project Identifies 4 Million Victims, Continues Search For Names

Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the Holocaust, says it has identified the names of 4 million Jews who died at the hands of Nazi Germany. The names, kept in an online database, represent two-thirds of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

The "Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project" of Yad Vashem seeks to "preserve the memory" of the Jews who died:

The Jews are a people of memory. Our history is an integral part of us and we pass it from generation to generation. Each year we tell the story of Passover–the exodus from Egypt–and recall the revelation at Mount Sinai. In the Yizkor prayer recited on the Jewish holidays we remember the collective tragedies of our people as well as our own personal losses. Every year we commemorate the yahrzeits (anniversaries) of deceased relatives.

Millions of our brethren were murdered without a trace during the Shoah. It is incumbent upon us to remember them. If we do not take action, their legacies will be lost to us forever. Since 1955, Yad Vashem has been fulfilling its mandate to preserve the memory of Holocaust victims by collecting their names, the ultimate representation of a person’s identity, as it is written: "And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (Yad Vashem), an everlasting name that shall not be cut off." (Isaiah 56 : 5)

The project is ongoing and people with information on the names of Holocaust victims who have not been identified can share it with Yad Vashem via their website.