Yad Vashem partners with JewishGen on Holocaust genealogy database

Yad Vashem has been conducting the Pages of Testimony program since the 1950s and has helped hundreds of thousands of Jews reconnect to their family members that perished.

An exterior view of the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum (photo credit: TIMOTHY HURSLEY)
An exterior view of the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum
(photo credit: TIMOTHY HURSLEY)

Yad Vashem – known universally as the World Holocaust Remembrance Center – will enter a partnership with the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s “Living Memorial of the Holocaust” project, as well as the museum’s Jewish genealogy affiliate JewishGen, with the intention of sharing data on genealogical records.

“By making available these precious records via JewishGen, the broader Jewish community can more easily research names of family and friends who were murdered during the Holocaust,” said Museum of Jewish Heritage President and CEO Jack Kliger. “The agreement facilitates access to the resources of our Museum and Yad Vashem, two of the most prestigious Holocaust memorial institutions in the world.”

Yad Vashem plans to share their “Pages of Testimony” data with the museum’s JewishGen website, which helps Jews discover Jewish ancestral roots. A Page of Testimony is a form issued by Yad Vashem that asks for information about a Jewish victim of the Holocaust. Yad Vashem’s database currently contains over 2.7 million of these pages of testimony.

“Researchers will now be able to retrieve Pages of Testimony data through a direct search within JewishGen,” notes JewishGen Executive Director Avraham Groll. “This common access to data from both institutions will directly benefit researchers.”

“Without this new agreement, many Jewish genealogists may otherwise not have been aware of this vital resource,” Groll concluded.

HALL OF Names, Yad Vashem.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)HALL OF Names, Yad Vashem. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

Yad Vashem has been conducting the Pages of Testimony program since the 1950s and has helped hundreds of thousands of Jews reconnect to their family members – and Jewish roots – that were demolished by the Nazis. The pages comprise over half of the 4.8 million records Yad Vashem has in their database.

"Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names brings the millions of faceless victims into the light and returns to them their identity, so the world can remember," said Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan. "This is part of Yad Vashem's mission to gather all forms of documentation from the Holocaust, including the collection of names of our brethren who were murdered during the Shoah.”

“We owe it to them to know that they lived, what they looked like, what they dreamed about, and – at the very least – what their name was," Dayan declared.

“More than one million Holocaust victims have yet to be memorialized at Yad Vashem,” Dr. Alexander Avram, Director of Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names said. “It is our expectation that by widening the exposure of our endeavor through JewishGen, the genealogical community will be able to play an important role in helping us add a large number of Pages of Testimony in the years to come.”