Yad Vashem Continues Efforts to Recover Identities of Remaining Jews Murdered in the Shoah. The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem. contains the repository of Pages of Testimony memorializing victims of the Shoah.
December 22, 2010 – Jerusalem and Toronto – Yad Vashem has identified two-thirds of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust – 4 million names.
“In the past decade (2001-2010) we have succeeded in adding about 1.5 million victims’ names to the Names Database, increasing by some 60 per cent the information we had,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem.
“The Germans sought not only to destroy the Jews, but to obliterate any memory of them.  One of Yad Vashem’s central missions since its foundation, the recovery of each and every victim’s name and personal story, has resulted in relentless efforts to restore the names and identities of as many of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices as possible.  We will continue our efforts to recover the unknown names, and by harnessing technology in the service of memory, we are able to share their names with the world,” he said. 
In 2004, Yad Vashem launched the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names onto its website, with 3 million names.  At the same time, a new 11th hour project to recover unknown names was initiated. Names are recovered via Pages of Testimony, special forms filled out in memory of the victims by people who remember them, and by combing archival lists and documentation for names.
Said Fran Sonshine, National Chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, “Remembering the names and lives of our loved ones after their passing is one of the most important sacred missions for the Jewish people. Yad Vashem has made this possible for the millions of Jews whose identities have been the object of a systematic campaign to obliterate. I am so gratified and profoundly thankful for Yad Vashem’s substantive contribution to the Jewish nation.”
Of the 4 million names currently known, some 2.2 million (about 55 per cent) come from Pages of Testimony and the remainder from various archival sources and postwar commemoration projects.   While in Western Europe in particular there were often lists kept of the Jews and deportation, making identification easier, in countries of Eastern Europe and the areas of the former Soviet Union, as well as Greece, much information was still lacking.
“During the last five years we have concentrated our names recovery efforts in areas where most of the names remain unknown,” said Alexander Avraham, Director of the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem. “We have made great progress. In 2005, we knew the names of some 20 per cent of Jews murdered in Ukraine, today we know 35 per cent; in Byelorussia the figure has risen from 23 per cent to 37 per cent today, Poland (1938 borders) from 35 per cent to 46 per cent, Hungary from 45 per cent to 65 per cent, and Greece from 35 per cent to 70 per cent.”
Yaron Ashkenazi, Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem added, “I urge every Canadian that is a second, third, and fourth generation Holocaust Survivor to fill out a Page of Testimony.  With 6 million Jews murdered during the Shoah, and incredibly, 4 million names already recovered, I am confident that Jewish Canadians, in a concerted effort, can increase these numbers even more dramatically.”
The indexing of the names database and the names recovery project are supported by the Victim List Project of the Swiss Banks Settlement, Hi-Tech Entrepreneur Yossie Hollander, the Claims Conference, Dayenu Ltd led by Gail & Colin Halpern and family, the Nadav Fund and the Noaber Foundation, The National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, the American Society for Yad Vashem, the Fondation pour la Memoire de la Shoah, Wexner – The Legacy Heritage Fund, Stichting Collectieve Marorgelden Israel, and additional supporters.
The entire Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names is available on www.yadvashem.org in English, Hebrew and Russian. Assistance in filling out Pages of Testimony in Israel is available at: +972 2 644 3808.

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