20,000 volunteers support #everynamecounts
Our global crowdsourcing campaign #everynamecounts has reached a new milestone: The number of volunteers who have registered on the Zooniverse platform has hit the 20,000 mark! That’s how many people are now working on the largest digital memorial to the victims of Nazi persecution. They are helping us digitize the names and dates on scanned historical documents. Thanks to their hard work, it will soon be possible to research the fates of millions of victims of persecution quickly and easily online.
Volunteers from around the world have already processed more than 30 percent of the documents that the Arolsen Archives have made available on the Zooniverse crowdsourcing platform to date. That is quite an achievement as the #everynamecounts campaign was only launched in April 2020 – and there are literally millions of documents to work on. By the end of 2020, 10,000 volunteers had already registered and that number has recently grown to over 20,000. “If people continue to join in at this rate, we may well achieve our ambitious goal of putting all the names and all the information about the persecutees online much sooner than expected,” says Floriane Azoulay, the Director of the Arolsen Archives, with a smile. The scheduled completion date for the crowdsourcing campaign and the digital memorial is 2025.
It’s the journey, not the destination
However, the journey is just as important as the destination, both for the Arolsen Archives and for the volunteers themselves, as Floriane Azoulay goes on to explain: “We want people to feel a connection with the stories of the victims of persecution when they work with our documents, we want the fates to jump off the page and feel real to them. The volunteers honor every name they transcribe and keep each one from being forgotten. By joining this initiative, they are taking a stand for respect, diversity, and solidarity.”
Sharing personal experiences
Many volunteers get in touch with us to share their personal experience of working with #everynamecounts, they also use the chat function to talk to other volunteers on the platform. Diana is one of them. She first got involved in May 2021. She feels our documents should be included in the school curriculum to focus attention on individual fates and explain the consequences of persecution that continue to have an impact generations later:
»I came across #everynamecounts by chance while I was doing some research on my grandfather. I’m really enthusiastic about the project because it can provide answers to questions that are often hushed up in families. That’s what happened in my family too. I didn’t find out that my grandfather had been imprisoned as a ›criminal‹ until quite late on. The documents held in the Arolsen Archives have helped me to understand certain conflicts and certain patterns of behavior in our family. I now know where some of the difficult feelings I experience are coming from and am better able to deal with them. It’s like being liberated from an invisible corset.«
Caroline Lydia Tupikowski is studying history; she is another recent recruit to #everynamecounts. Nazi persecution is a subject she is particularly interested in. Carolin was so enthusiastic about the active, vibrant approach to the topic provided by the project that she sent us a video message (only in German):