Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Centre announced today that it was close to identifying the names of some two- thirds of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.
The number of names known to the center has doubled in the last ten years, from two million to four million, Archives Director Chaim Gertner told journalists.
“The digitilisation process helped very much,” he said.
He admitted, however, that the centre is unlikely to ever identify all six million victims.
“Whole Jewish families and communities were wiped out,” he said, adding that the Nazis did not only try to destroy people, but also aimed to erase their culture, their documentation and their memory.
“Some 90 per cent of the names of all Jews killed in Western Europe are known, but it’s a different story in Eastern Europe,” Gertner said.
In Poland, he said, the identities are known of only half the 3 million murdered Jews – out of a pre-war Jewish population of 3.3 million. For Belarus, the figure stands at only 25 percent.
“That is why 2 million names are still missing,” the archives director said.
Yad Vashem, located in Yerushalayim, contains the world’s largest Holocaust Archive, with 130 million documents, 385,000 photographs, 2.2. million pages of testimonies and 200,000 hours of audio and video audio documentation.