Ancestry Digitizes Millions of Holocaust Records

Ancestry, the genealogy and DNA testing company, has digitized millions of records of people who were displaced or persecuted in the Holocaust and made them searchable online at no cost.

The announcement this week drove numerous genealogists to the site to try to fill in longstanding gaps in family stories. It also spurred a debate about whether enticing people to sign up for a for-profit database with such sensitive public records was appropriate.

Rachel Silverman, a private genealogist specializing in Jewish family history, said she was enthusiastic about the development, but added that it was too early to know how useful the records would be.

“Every American Jew has people they lost,” she said. “It’s just the matter of the degree of separation.”

The release includes passenger lists of millions of displaced people, including Holocaust survivors and former concentration camp inmates, who left ports and airports in Germany and other parts of Europe from 1946 to 1971. It also includes records of millions of people with non-German citizenship who were incarcerated in camps or otherwise living in Germany and German-occupied territories from 1939 to 1947.

Heather Murphy | 2019
In: New York Times ; 2 august 2019 | New York, The New York Times Company
Family Members, Holocaust (en), Jews, Persecution