Help us build a unique digital monument
Millions of people were persecuted and murdered by the National Socialists. Please help us to enter their names in the largest online archive on victims of Nazi persecution.
The Allies liberated the concentration camps 75 years ago. This year, the corona pandemic has made it impossible for people to come together at memorial sites to remember the many millions of victims who were imprisoned, exploited, and murdered there by the National Socialists under inhumane conditions.
The “Every Name Counts” project provides a simple way for anyone to take part in active remembrance without leaving the house.
We launched “Every Name Counts” at the beginning of the year with around 1000 school students. The documents came to life for a day, and the students were both enthusiastic and proud to take part in this huge project.
Our goal is to ensure that all the names in the millions of documents stored in the Arolsen Archives can be found in the online archive – so that people all over the world can easily access information on the fate of their relatives.
We are using the documents in our collections to build the world’s largest online archive on the victims of Nazi persecution. Many millions of names can already be found using the simple search function. But many names are still missing from the online archive. That’s why we decided to launch the crowdsourcing project. It uses an internet platform that makes it easy for anyone to help transcribe information like names and dates of birth from the historical documents and enter them into a database.
FAQ every name counts
Since 2016, the Arolsen Archives have gradually been publishing more and more of their documents in an online archive. Most of the users search for names. But lists, in particular, often have no digital link to the names they contain. This means that these lists are not found when users do a name search. But sometimes, they are the last clue to a person’s fate. That’s why we launched “Every Name Counts”: the goal of the project is to make it possible to find all the names on all the documents contained in our online archive!
Anyone who has a PC and a reliable internet connection can take part in “Every Name Counts.”
Follow four simple steps to take part:
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!
We want to ensure that every single name contained in the documents of the Arolsen Archives can be found in the online archive, and we want to do this as quickly as possible – so that users can access all the information there is on the fate of the people concerned.
The Arolsen Archives are not subject to national data protection directives, but to specific international provisions. These stipulate that – with a few exceptions – the documents in the archive may be made public. The exceptions include inquiries that are less than 25 years old, for example, as well as particularly sensitive documents like medical files.
No, you don’t need to register.
Don’t worry! To avoid mistakes in the database, every name has to be entered in exactly the same way by two different people. Only then is a name accepted by the system.
The data are checked once more by staff of the Arolsen Archives before being transferred to the database which is at the heart of the online archive. This process takes a few weeks. Ultimately, each list you work on will be found whenever a user searches the online archive for one of the names it contains – sometimes this will provide the final clue to a person’s fate.
Yes, the Arolsen Archives provide suitable educational materials. Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of what you plan to do. We are happy to provide advice and will send you appropriate materials.
We sometimes use OCR (optical character recognition) when we digitize typewritten documents. However, this technology is not suitable for mass indexing our collections, as our documents are so diverse. This means that using OCR would usually be more labor-intensive than manual indexing.
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.
The documents to be processed are lists from concentration camps. They can be transport lists, for example, or so-called status reports, which documented who were the new arrivals to the camp, who had been transferred to another camp, and who had died.
FAQ Arolsen Archives
The Arolsen Archives are an international center on the victims of Nazi persecution with the world’s most comprehensive archive on those who died as well as those who survived the Nazi era. Their collections contain millions of documents on millions of fates. They are a paper monument – and have been recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s documentary heritage.
Bad Arolsen is a small town in the Hesse region of Germany. It is located 45 km west of Kassel and has a population of around 16,000 people.
At the end of the war, the town marked the geographical center of the four occupation zones, so it provided easy access to all. As the town had hardly suffered any damage, it also offered a good infrastructure and intact buildings for the work of the tracing service, which was the original purpose of the organization.
The Arolsen Archives were founded in 1947 by the Allies. Their original mission was to search for missing victims of the Nazi dictatorship and for documents about paths of persecution and the crimes committed by the National Socialists. In 1948, this led to the creation of the International Tracing Service (ITS). The archive has spent decades collecting and preserving documents covering all of the victim groups targeted by the Hitler regime.
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.
The collections of the Arolsen Archives contain information on all the victim groups targeted by Nazi persecution. That makes them a unique resource, the only one of their kind in the world. The archive contains over 30 million files, index cards, and lists that contain the names of victims of the Holocaust and prisoners of the concentration camps, foreign forced laborers, and survivors.
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.
75 years after the end of the Second World War, only a few contemporary witnesses to the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis are still alive. This makes it more important than ever for the documents in the Arolsen Archives to bear witness to these past events – now and in the future. That is why they are being stored, processed, and made accessible to the public.
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.
232 employees work in the various departments of the Arolsen Archives. They are involved in a range of different activities, such as investigating the fate of individuals for the families or friends of victims, conserving and digitizing the documents, carrying out research, and developing educational materials.
26 million documents on 21 million names can be viewed online. People from all over the world can research the fates of individuals using the online archive of the Arolsen Archives.
Everyone who takes part in “Every Name Counts” is helping to ensure that even more search queries will be successful in future. When they are entered in the database, the names on every single deportation list increase the amount of data available in the online archive. That means that even more families and friends will be able to find answers to their questions.
Inquiries about more than 3 million individuals have been submitted to the archive since its work first began.
in 2019, 718 international guests visited the Arolsen Archives in person, and over 40,000 people searched the online archive during the past year.
Personal items belonging to victims of Nazi persecution were returned to 137 families, and information and copies of documents were provided in response to more than half (52.2.%) of the inquiries that were submitted to the Arolsen Archives in 2019.