Our #everynamecounts  crowdsourcing initiative was launched in 2020. This initiative offers a new and very direct form of active engagement with the past and an opportunity to join with many thousands of volunteers to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and stand up for respect, diversity and solidarity.

Around 1000 students helped us test the project at the beginning of 2020. During this pilot phase, the working title was still #JederNamezählt, a German version of the current name. What happened next took us very much by surprise as none of us had expected the project to meet with such a positive response or be quite so successful: 10,000 volunteers from all over the world registered with #everynamecounts in 2020 and processed 2.5 million documents.

“A great experience”

By the end of 2020, a project that started the year as a German initiative called #JederNamezählt had metamorphosed into an international campaign that goes by the name #everynamecounts. In this interview, Anke Münster, Head of PR at the Arolsen Archives, and Christa Seidenstücker, a member of the project team, talk about how the crowdsourcing campaign developed over the course of the year. They also look into their crystal ball and tell us what the future holds.

Milestones in 2020

  • January 27, 2020: The pilot project kicks off with about 1000 school students in Hesse, Germany.
  • April 24, 2020: The project is officially launched on the Zooniverse crowdsourcing platform in English and German
  • May 7, 2020: 100,000 names are indexed within the first two weeks
  • June 13, 2020: One million names have been indexed
  • August 13, 2020: The number of registered volunteers hits the 7,000 mark
  • October 25, 2020: 1.5 million documents have been indexed
  • November 13, 2020: The project is recognized by the anniversary initiative of the Stifterverband (Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Humanities and Sciences in Germany) as one of the 100 best ideas for the future of education, science, and innovation. #everynamecounts was chosen from over 500 applications received by the organization.
  • December 2020: Planning is underway for the campaign which is to accompany the multi-media installation on 27.1.2021 in Berlin

« My students found the project very meaningful: ‘It’s usually clear what the outcome’s going to be with most things at school, we’re just doing it for the marks. But the work we’re doing here is really going to help someone!’ The material was beautifully thought out and nicely presented. It gave the students a real sense of achievement! » 

Julia Schweigart, Friedrich Ebert Comprehensive School, Frankfurt

Our future plans for the digital monument

We want to make the project more international in 2021 in order to attract more attention to #everynamecounts. By harnessing the support of volunteers, we aim to make all the documents in the Arolsen Archives available online by 2025. Schools should not be the only target audience – we think #everynamecounts is suitable for companies and institutions too. With this in mind, we intend to promote the campaign as a corporate responsibility project and expand its use to various sectors.

Plans are afoot for the multi-media installation that was shown on the facade of the French Embassy in Berlin to tour various cities. The aim is to bring it to the attention of a large number of people by showing it near to where they live.

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