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What follows is a  press release from Ancestry.com:

WASHINGTON, D.C./PROVO, Utah, November 3, 2011 – The United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumandAncestry.comannounced that material from four Museum collections containing information on more than 30,000 victims of Nazi persecution is now available online at Ancestry.comand can be searched at no cost.  The collections contain information on thousands of individuals including displaced Jewish orphans; Czech Jews deported to the Terezin concentration camp and camps in occupied Poland; and French victims of Nazi persecution.

The collections are being made available through the World Memory Project, launched in May 2011. The project is recruiting the public to help build the world’s largest online resource on Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of non-Jews who were targeted for persecution by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, allowing victims’ families and survivors themselves to discover missing chapters of their history, learn the truth about the fate of their relatives and honor those who were lost.

World Memory Project contributors are continuously keying information that will form new searchable databases of historical collections when complete.  To date, more than 2,100 contributors from around the world have indexed more than 700,000 records.  Anyone, anywhere can contribute to the project by simply typing information from historical records into the online database.

“World Memory Project contributors are helping Holocaust survivors and their families learn the truth about what happened to loved ones,” says Lisa Yavnai, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum WMP project leader.  “It is an incredible gift that anyone can give to those who survived the horrors of Nazi Germany.  In a few months, the contributors’ efforts have resulted in more online searchable records than the Museum alone could have produced in many years.”

The World Memory Project utilizes proprietary software and project management donated by Ancestry.com, which hosts its own online archival project to transcribe historical records.  Once Museum records are transcribed, the indices are hosted exclusively on Ancestry.com and are permanently free to search.  The Museum provides copies of documents upon request at no cost.  The original documentation remains in the Museum’s archival collection.

“We’ve been inspired by the steadfast efforts of the thousands of contributors who have in some cases spent hundreds of hours transcribing this important material,” remarked Tim Sullivan, CEO, Ancestry.com.  “These early results would likely have taken years without the dedication of the many individuals who have embraced the mission of the World Memory Project.”

To find out more about the World Memory Project or to learn how to become a contributor, please visitwww.WorldMemoryProject.org.

What World Memory Project contributors are saying:

“I chose to try to make available to the public a few documents from Poland during WWII. I found it to be a very emotional and most privileged moment in my life.”  ─ Valentina, Australia

“I feel privileged and honored to bring historical accuracy and facts to the many families out there today who may not have known, until now, what became of their family members. It was extremely important to me to key in these documents with the utmost care.” – Donna, United States

“…It brought home to me the fact that each of these names had been a person who probably once reached out with their hands to others for help, and for many of them, that help never came… Ultimately, though, I took comfort in the idea that, while he might have been among those who were taken from the world through bigotry and hatred, at least I was helping in a little way to make sure he and others like him were not forgotten.” ─ Kerri, United States

About the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanent place on the National Mall, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.

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