30 April 2008

Yad Vashem: Online Photo Archive opens May 1

Marking Holocaust Remembrance Day tomorrow (May 1), Yad Vashem will upload its photo archives to its website. Some 130,000 images from the collection - the largest of its kind in the world - will be uploaded on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, May 1.

Images include photographs taken in ghettos, during deportations, slave labor, camps, liberation and others. They represent an invaluable asset to historians, educators, writers, filmmakers and the public.

A significant part of this collection is now being made available to the public.

Users will be able to search the database by topic, name or location. High quality scans of images may be ordered for a fee via a site link.

As an additional feature, the images are also linked to existing information about the content. When a visitor clicks on an image, a Google map will automatically open, showing the location of places mentioned in the caption. Other links enable expanded searches.

“Over the last few years, Yad Vashem has invested significantly in the computerization of its various collections,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem. “This will allow the public at large direct and simple access to the vast collection of resources collected by Yad Vashem over the past half century. We are hoping that it will increase public awareness of the archives’ tremendous importance, and encourage people who have similar photographs and documents to confer them to Yad Vashem for safekeeping.”

Dr. Haim Gertner, Yad Vashem Archives director, “We are hoping that the public will join us in our ongoing efforts to decipher the pictures and identify the people in them.”

Yad Vashem’s photographic collection began with the gathering of individual and group photographs immediately following World War II. When the Archives opened in 1955, these collections were incorporated. In 1983, a separate photographic department was established, to collate, catalogue and research historic photographs relating to the Holocaust. Photographs come from a variety of sources, including official archives, private collections, museums and various historic collections.

Some examples:

- Tova Mendel (with kerchief) and Salomon Findling (tall man behind Tova) and their children Frederika, Helena, Mikulas and Israel, along with other Jews, being deported from Stropkov, Slovakia on May 23, 1942.

- May 27, 1944- - Jews who had just undergone selection at Auschwitz-Birkenau and were classified as “not fit for work” in a grove before being gassed.

- Lighting Hanukkah candles in the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands.

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