World Archives Proejct: Keyers’ Perspectives on New Collections

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At the end of this month, two new World Memory Project collections will be searchable for free via Ancestry.com:

• USHMM - Poland, Jews Displaced from Biała Podlaska
• USHMM - Palestine, Illegal Immigration

These collections include details about thousands of Holocaust victims and survivors. In gratitude for your help in making their information searchable, and to encourage you to continue with this important work, we have spotlighted below three keyers’ perspectives on indexing these records.

“On my father's side of the family, all but one half-brother who was in Palestine disappeared in the Shoah. On my mother's side, just a handful survived. As more and more people are looking for their roots, it is great to have access to as much material as possible online. Traveling to search archives on site and visit cemeteries is not always possible and can be very costly. Only one success story of reuniting families would be enough to justify the huge amount of work done, and there is always more than one reunion story!” —Eddy, Brussels, Belgium

“My interest in Poland is that my husband’s father was Polish, although not Jewish. Even though I knew no Polish I took up the challenge for a bit of variety whilst also doing my Aussie projects. I soon became familiar with the different styles of writing and the language with its different diacritics. Partway through the project, I received a message through Ancestry.com from someone living in Israel who had come across our discussions on the message boards. He shared words of encouragement to continue with the project, as his great-grandfather’s sisters were displaced from Biała Podlaska and he was keen for the information to be available online. I then felt compelled to continue and corresponded with him throughout the project, keeping him up to date with how it was proceeding. Whilst I never personally came across his ancestors’ records, I hope that I have helped in a small way for him to eventually find his missing relatives.” —Kerrie, Sydney, Australia

“I am fortunate that as far as I know we didn't lose anyone to the Holocaust. Many friends and neighbors have shared their experiences of the Holocaust and how they survived and those of their family members who did not. It is incredibly important for the records of Jews and non-Jews to be searchable—not only for the families who want to know about their loved ones but to prove forcefully what actually happened! I also believe very strongly that all of us need to remember those who perished because the Nazis thought they were inferior. We don't want this to continue happening in the world. I found the Palestine records fascinating because I wondered what became of these people who were rescued. What did they go on to do? What families evolved from their rescue? Somewhere, someone is keying in records that will help my family discover more roots, and hopefully I am doing the same for someone else.” —Rhoda, [state], United States

To key additional records for the World Memory Project, look for collections beginning with USHMM. Thank you again for your dedicated support!