International EHRI Workshop Investigates New Ideas for Names Recovery

Tuesday, 15 November, 2011

In July 2011, Yad Vashem convened an international workshop for professionals collecting and computerizing names of Holocaust victims around the world. 'Recording the Names' was the first in a series of EHRI workshops which will allow experts in various methodological subfields of Holocaust documentation to share information and ideas.

 A central focus of the workshop was to look for, present and discuss new, additional or alternative sources of names from areas where a high percentage of Holocaust victims are still nameless such as the former USSR, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Lithuania. The majority of the 50 workshop attendees came from these countries, and were joined by colleagues and professionals from other European countries, the USA and Israel.

In the formal sessions, participants presented the projects they are working on, but informal discussion also highlighted the current dilemmas participants were facing in their field: questions of privacy when making biographies public; how to best utilize new forms of social media while maintaining the dignity of the data about those persecuted; and the many technical questions of how to make this varied material accessible to the public.

'In similar workshops held over the past decade, participants discussed how to advance the computerization of well-known sources of names of Shoah victims,' explained Alexander Avraham, Director of Yad Vashem's Hall of Names. 'To date the Yad Vashem database includes information on four million of those murdered in the Holocaust; the mutual challenge for the future is to uncover additional sources to help identify the names of the remaining victims.'

Zvi Bernhardt. The author is Head of Data Processing in the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem.