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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Ancestry® partners with Arolsen Archives—International Center on Nazi Persecution—in Germany to digitize and publish records online, making them available to all.

(Courtesy of Ancestry.com) As part of a philanthropic initiative to make culturally important records available to everyone, Ancestry—the global leader in family history and consumer genomics—announced the release of two unique Holocaust record collections. These new records will be accessible globally to the public—members and non-members alike—on https://www.ancestry.com/alwaysremember on a permanent basis.

The Arolsen Archives, an international center on Nazi persecution with the world’s most comprehensive UNESCO-protected archive on victims of National Socialism, granted Ancestry unprecedented access to publish the digital images of these important documents. Ancestry then used advanced technology to digitize millions of names and other critical information found within these records, which are now searchable online for the first time ever. As a result of this partnership, people around the world will now be able to digitally search two distinct record archives to learn more about their family history during and after the Holocaust.

Prior to the collection’s availability online, access to these critical and high-demand records required manual requests for document copies that could take time for the archive to locate and provide. Beginning today, people will be able to view both Holocaust and Nazi persecution-related archives to identify immigrants leaving Germany and other European ports as well as “non-citizens” persecuted in occupied territories.

Specifically, the collection includes Africa, Asia and Europe lists of displaced persons (1946-1971) and Europe, registration of foreigners and German individuals persecuted (1939-1947).

“We are proud to be working with Ancestry on this important project. They have been a respectful and trusted partner in helping to break down some of the barriers for people seeking information about their families,” said Floriane Azoulay, director of Arolsen Archives. “With the number of Holocaust survivors dwindling every day, it is more important than ever to ensure these records live on.”

Copies of the indexed records will also be donated to Arolsen Archives and to the 11-nation International Commission of digital copy holders of the archives including Yad Vashem in Israel and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., to post on their website.

“This collection will help people learn more about the magnitude of the Holocaust, those who lived through it and those who perished as a result of it,” said Howard Hochhauser, chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Ancestry. “These records are also deeply personal for me. Because of Arolsen Archives and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, I was able to unlock a story about my own grandmother’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor in Germany. Sharing her story of strength, struggle and resiliency with my family was a powerful and moving moment, and one I’ll never forget.”

“It has been more than 70 years since the Holocaust and the number of living witnesses and survivors continues to decline every day,” commented Diane Afoumado, Ph.D., chief, research and reference branch of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “The hope is that by continuing to make this information available online, even after those who lived through the Holocaust are gone, educators, families of survivors and victims, and the general public will be able to grasp the significance of the Holocaust and impact it had on the generations that followed.”

To access and explore the Holocaust Remembrance Collection, please visit: https://www.ancestry.com/alwaysremember.