Yad Vashem records names of millions of Holocaust victims in new commemoration project

The Book of Names contains details about 4.8 million Jews who perished during World War II and although data is not final, hundreds of thousands of names will likely be lost in time
With Holocaust Remembrance Day fast approaching, Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem unveiled on Tuesday a sizeable book containing the names of 4.8 million Jews who perished during the Second World War, with about 300,000 additional names expected to be added in the next few years.
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President Isaac Herzog and other dignitaries attended the unveiling of the project, dubbed the Book of Names.
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ספר השמות ביד ושם
ספר השמות ביד ושם
The Book of Names
(Photo: Yad Vashem)
Experts estimate that the final number of names recorded would be around 5.1 million, which means hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims will go unrecorded.
While experts believe the number of those who perished at the hands of Nazi Germany and its accomplices stands at around 5.8 million, the rounded figure of 6 million has been cemented into Jewish consciousness.
All names are available on Yad Vashem's official website, and are the result of decades of research, collecting WWII-era manuscripts, diaries and other types of documents.
The project's curator Alexander Abraham, says that the sources for additional names of victims could be exhausted within a few years.
"With time, generations of those who were there have naturally passed away and there is no other way to know their names," he says. "We're in contact with many different archives that deal with commemorating historical data of this kind, but we're on the verge of exhausting those options as well.
"Collecting the names of the children who perished is the most difficult part since they were forcibly separated from their parents and their names were never listed in any document. The Nazis wanted the names to be lost to history, which is why every name collected is a victory."
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ספר השמות ביד ושם
ספר השמות ביד ושם
A glance inside the book
(Photo: Yad Vashem)
Yad Vashem Chairman Danny Dayan says: "Each Jew who perished had a name, a story and an identity. They weren't nameless figures devoid of identity like the Nazis wanted us to remember. It is incumbent upon us to exhaust every avenue to collect every name possible.
"The book enables everyone to touch those names and be mindful of the deep sense of loss of the Jewish people."
The names in the book are accompanied by each person's place of birth, their birth date and the location where they perished, provided those details are known. The book itself is quite large, standing at over 26 feet long. Its size is meant to signify the collective loss humanity has sustained when these horrors occurred.
As the full list of names will never be known, the latter pages of the book are kept empty in their memory.
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