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Genealogy Guide: Holocaust Research

Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names (Names Database)

The primary aim of the Names Database is to recover the names and reconstruct the life stories of individuals  murdered in the Shoah.  The database currently contains more than 4.5 million names and comprises “Pages of Testimony,” historical documentation, and other sources.  The “Pages of Testimony" are special one-page forms submitted by survivors, remaining family members or friends and acquaintances in commemoration of Jews - and others - murdered in the Holocaust.  The Pages of Testimony document the names, biographical details and, when available, photographs of each victim.  The pages are in Hebrew, with summaries in English and Russian. 

To search for a victim’s name, visit the database.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)

The Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center

The Museum honors as Survivors and Victims any persons, Jewish or non-Jewish, who were displaced, persecuted, or discriminated against due to the racial, religious, ethnic, social, and political policies of the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945.  Whereas Yad Vashem’s Names Database has been predominantly built by reports of victims sent in by survivors and others, including friends and acquaintances, the resources at the USHMM are entirely based upon official documentation.  Although many of the Museum’s resources are available only onsite, the Museum maintains a large database that is searchable online (see links below).

Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database

The database includes millions of personal records from the Museum's extensive holdings.  It is possible to search the database by Names or by Lists.  Included are census records, registration forms, ghetto inhabitant lists, death lists, concentration camp or displaced persons camp lists, and much more. In addition, the database contains thousands of fully cataloged lists and other name sources.

Search by Names

Search for Lists

Oral History Resources

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s oral history collection is one of the largest and most diverse resources for Holocaust testimonies in the world. In addition to conducting interviews itself, the Museum actively collects interviews from individuals as well as other institutions.  The collection contains interviews with survivors of the Holocaust and persecution by Nazis and their collaborators.

Reference Services

Reference requests can be made in person, online, or via e-mail, letter, fax, or telephone.

The Benjamin and Vladka Meed Registry of Holocaust Survivors

This registry, which includes more than 200,000 records, collects names of survivors and records their experiences.  Additionally, it helps people trace missing loved ones and provides reference material for scholars, genealogists, and the public.  Registry forms are available here.  

Although the Registry of Holocaust Survivors is not made available over the Internet - in order to maintain the privacy of the survivors and their families - it is possible to request that the staff check the registry for you.  To request information, please contact the Registry by email or by phone: ‚Äč202-488-6130.

In some cases the Registry of Holocaust Survivors will act as a third party and forward messages to survivors through a Third Party Contact Form (PDF).  If you would like to do this, here is the form for submittal

Access to International Tracing Service (ITS) Archives

USHMM maintains a digital copy of the full ITS archives (see ITS below for a full description), and it is possible to do ITS research through the Museum.  Staff members will search for documents in the records of the ITS and other digitized collections of the Museum free of charge to survivors, their families, and families of victims.  It is recommended that all others interested in accessing the ITS records—scholars, authors, genealogists, and other researchers—visit the Museum in person. For more information, please visit the relevant section of the Museum's website.

International Tracing Service (ITS)

The International Tracing Service archive is located in Bad Arolsen, Germany, and until November 2007, was the largest closed Holocaust archive in the world. The archive was established by the Allied powers after World War II to help reunite families separated during the war and to trace missing family members. The Allies placed in the ITS millions of pages of documentation captured during the war.  Today, the archival holdings encompass over 150 million digital images of documentation on concentration camps, Gestapo prisons, and ghettos, as well as on forced labor and displaced persons. 

Before 2007, it had been possible to search the archives only by submitting an application to the ITS and the response time was often slow.  However, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has been designated the American repository of a full digital copy of the ITS archives, and the collection is open to the public at the Museum.  In addition, it is possible to make requests for information from the ITS archives through the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center.

Note:  

A small, but growing, portion of the ITS collection can now be searched and viewed in a new online archive. The online archive currently contains a comprehensive collection of documents from concentration camps, including prisoner cards and death notices. 

To inquire about family members, please fill out the online request form.

JewishGen

 

JewishGen is a non-profit organization affiliated with the Museum of Jewish Heritage – a living Memorial to the Holocaust. It is a primary internet source connecting researchers of Jewish genealogy worldwide. 

The Holocaust Database

This database contains more than 2.7 million entries from more than 190 component datasets, some of which are available on other websites.  This webpage shows a list of all the component datasets.

 

The Holocaust Global Registry

This is an interactive database where anyone may search for family or friends, where survivors may add a record for themselves, and where others can add the names of those for whom they are searching.  This database was created for the sole purpose of helping Holocaust survivors reunite with their loved ones.