Build a digital memorial with us

Build a digital memorial with us

#everynamecounts is an initiative by the Arolsen Archives which aims to establish a digital memorial to the people persecuted by the Nazis. Future generations should be able to remember the names and identities of these victims. But the initiative is important to today’s society as well – because by looking back, we can see where discrimination, racism and antisemitism lead.  

Remembering and commemorating the victims of National Socialism often involves formal rituals that don’t resonate with younger generations.

The #everynamecounts crowdsourcing initiative offers a new and very direct way of actively engaging with the past – not only to remember the victims of Nazi persecution, but also to promote respect, diversity and solidarity.

Here’s how you can help

We are building the world’s largest online archive on people persecuted and murdered by the Nazis. To do this, the names and data in scanned historical documents must be digitally transcribed.

This is a huge task, because there are around 30 million documents in our archive with references to the fates of 17.5 million people.

Many millions of names can already be easily searched online. But not nearly all of them. This is why we launched the #everynamecounts crowdsourcing initiative.

You can spend as much time on it as you like. All you need to participate in #everynamecounts is a computer with an internet connection. Thousands of volunteers are already helping out.  

Digital introduction

You can use or digital introduction to #everynamecounts for more background: In 15 minutes, you will receive information on the history of Nazi persecution and the significance of our archive documents. You can also try out data acquisition (“indexing”). The introduction is available in English, German, Polish, French and Spanish.

Go to digital introduction

January 21 to 27 in Berlin: A media installation dedicated to the victims of National Socialism will be projected onto the façade of the French Embassy, bringing #everynamecounts to the public. The multimedia artists from Urbanscreen developed this evocative installation based on documents from our archive. Find out more about the media installation.

Our goal

We want this unique digital memorial to grow as quickly as possible. This is why we are striving to make our historical collection of documents on concentration camp prisoners, forced laborers under Hitler’s regime and survivors available online. Our goal is for every name to be online by 2025. 

Then people worldwide will be able to access this important collection of documents, which is part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World. The archive is invaluable to researchers and teachers – and to the families of the victims.

What did students in 2020 think about working on #everynamecounts? They talk about it in this video:

Looking back: #everynamecounts 2020

We launched #everynamecounts as a pilot project in January 2020 with around 1,000 school students. When the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancelation of events for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, a growing number of people in various countries joined the #everynamecounts initiative. By December 2020, more than 10,000 registered users had digitized over 2.5 million documents from home as part of the crowdsourcing project.

Would you like to know more about the goals and achievements of #everynamecounts? We recommend reading this interview with Giora Zwilling, head of the “Collections and Workflows” team for #everynamecounts and Deputy Head of the Archives.

Common questions about the project #everynamecounts

1. Open the project page 
2. Click “Classify” or choose lists from a specific camp under “Get started”
3. Read the helpful hints for working with our archival documents
4. Join in!

But what is even more important is that “Every Name Counts” is all about active remembrance, about giving volunteers the opportunity to commemorate the victims of Nazi crimes. With every list you work on, you are helping victims and their families and friends by creating digital tags that will enable them to find the last traces of the people they are searching for.

Common questions about the Arolsen Archives

In 2013, the archive was inscribed on UNESCO’S Memory of the World Register. And in 2019, the organization changed its name to Arolsen Archives. Today, it is an international center on persecution under National Socialism.

17.5 million names on reference cards contain information on 17.5 million fates. The Arolsen Archives also hold about 2800 personal effects. These are the personal belongings of former victims of Nazi persecution; most of them were found in concentration camps. The aim is to return them to the families and descendants of their rightful owners.

The Arolsen Archives are a living monument that protects the memory of the atrocities committed during the Nazi period that are now being denied by new generations of racists and antisemites. Anyone can use the online archive of the Arolsen Archives to find out about the fates of the victims and ensure that they are never forgotten.

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