A great number of sources on the Holocaust and persecution have become available on the Internet in recent years. Databases compiled from a variety of sources have notably been made available to researchers and the general public. Some are specifically dedicated to victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution, and sometimes provide access to images or video testimonies. Others are part of a more general genealogical approach, and collect biographical information from various official or civil status documents, or even passenger lists.
Here we list and briefly describe the main sources available online. The personal data, images and films gathered in these databases are one of the multiple sources mobilized in the Lubartworld project. They are useful for those who wish to conduct genealogical research to find a relative, or historical research on international migration and persecution.
Database of names of Shoah victims, Yad Vashem Institute
The data made available since 2004 by the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre Yad Vashem (Jerusalem, Israel) comes especially from the compilation of survivor testimonies, deportee lists, and various documents relating to the persecutions. They contain the names and biographical information of 4.8 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Holocaust Survivors and Victims Databases, USHMM
The data held by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) contains information on millions of people persecuted before and during the Second World War by the Nazi regime, as well as their situation in the aftermath. This does not refer solely to Jews, as information can also be found on Roms, Sinti, Soviet prisoners of war, political prisoners, homosexuals, disabled people, etc. The partnerships launched by the USHMM with different archival centers across the globe have led to the creation and addition of several databases, usually dealing with specific locations and situations: passport applications before the war, evacuation lists of civilians to Central Asia, names of Jewish survivors in Poland in 1945, various lists from the Red Cross archives, etc. They vary in both nature and scope. Approximately 60% of the personal data kept at the USHMM is available online: a visit to the museum for full access to the complete data.
Paris Shoah Memorial Documentation Centre
The portal of the Documentation Center of the Shoah Memorial in Paris can be searched for information on the names of Jewish people deported from France; those who were shot, interned, resisted, were designated Righteous Among the Nations, and hid children; and perpetrators. It can also be searched for various types of documents (monographs, archives, sound recordings, photographs, audiovisual collections, etc.).
Arolsen Archives Online
The International Centre on Nazi Persecution in Bad Arolsen (Germany) has made part of its documentary holdings available online, including information on post-war displaced persons and refugees (see article on the International Tracing Service and the Bad Arolsen archives) in addition to Nazi concentration camps, ghettos and detention centers. Names can be searched in prisoner and transport lists, census lists of foreigners and Jews in Germany in 1945, and emigration files (displaced persons lists, transit point, transport manifest), among other things. Only part of the data is currently available online.
Prisoners and deportees from Auschwitz-Birkenau
This database is the result of a long-term effort to collect and compile documents from the SS administration of the camps complex. This undertaking, initiated in 1991 by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, now provides access to more than 440,000 nominative entries. A comprehensive census of all Auschwitz victims is impossible, as a large number of documents were destroyed by the SS before the liberation of the camps. Nevertheless, this database is an important tool for the knowledge and memory of the extermination of Europe’s Jews.
Archives of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
The databases of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) contain diverse elements including photographs, films and audio recording, texts, and artifacts. The JDC Names Index database contains more than 500,000 names of people who used its services during the period of extermination and after the Second World War in fourteen different countries.
USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive
The digital archive set up by the University of South California Shoah Foundation holds more than 54,000 testimonies of genocide survivors and witnesses. Three thousand testimonies can be viewed online. The others must be viewed on site or via a partner institution. The database can be queried via an online search engine.
Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies
This archive, hosted at Yale University, brings together more than 4,400 testimonies related to the Holocaust. The videos are not available online, but can be accessed from approximately seventy sites around the world.
Boder with Armour wire recorder, Europe, 1946, © Voices of the Holocaust
Voices of the Holocaust
This collection of 119 testimonies collected in 1946 by David P. Boder, a professor of psychology in Chicago’s displaced persons camps, is the first oral history of Holocaust survivors.
A survivor posing with his camera, Austria 1948, Copyright : USHMM
Many websites offer large catalogs of digitized photographs. Some portals, already mentioned on this page, also offer specific searches for pictures in their collections. While some allow for a nominal search, most of them work mainly by location and keywords.
This genealogical research website, associated with the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York (USA) provides access to a large number of databases. These include the Database of Victims and Survivors of the Shoah (more than 2.7 million entries), as well as the Database of Jewish Communities, which lists approximately 6,000 communities in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Registration is required to access the data.
Jewish Records Indexing online database
The Jewish Recods Indexing – Poland (JRI-Poland) database contains more than five million birth, marriage and death certificates from the present and former territories of Poland. It also includes information from local registers, censuses, conscription lists, school records, burials, passports, and death lists in Jewish ghettos.
Data from Jewish cemeteries in Poland
The data collected and made available by the Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland can be used to locate Jewish cemeteries, and to search for individual burials.
Genealogical research websites
Many websites offer search engines that allow name searches across a variety of genealogical sources (civil status records, military archives, passenger lists, official documents relating to migration, etc.). These include Filae for France, and FamilySearch or Ancestry, for international searches. Certain search functionalities and access to certain documents may be subject to a fee.