As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, fewer than 400,000 Holocaust survivors are still alive, and by 2030, there could be fewer than 100,000. We are at a critical time, where the impact and memory of the Holocaust is in danger of being lost. In fact, recent research shows that 66 percent of millennials have no knowledge of what Auschwitz was. We have a collective responsibility to those who came before us to preserve history so future generations can learn from the powerful moments of our past.
At Ancestry®, we believe that learning the stories of our ancestors gives us a greater understanding of ourselves and a sense of connection to the past, making us more open and resilient. The vast majority of Americans agree: 88 percent believe that the ups and downs of history are inspirational lessons to help rebound during modern hardships. When asked specifically about the Holocaust, 80 percent of adults in the United States say it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust so it does not happen again.
This is why Ancestry has long been committed to preserving at-risk history and culturally important collections. We offer over 1,000 collections available at no cost to the public that span a wide variety of geographies, cultures and communities, including those specific to enslaved individuals, the internment of Japanese Americans and more than 200 related specifically to the Holocaust.
In 2008, we made a commitment to make all documents and indexes available on Ancestry related specifically to the Holocaust available for free to anyone. Since then, we have invested more than $3 million to digitize records associated directly with the Holocaust and have partnered with several Jewish organizations including JewishGen®, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Arolsen Archives and now USC Shoah Foundation.
Today, we are proud to announce another significant addition to our philanthropic initiative to preserve important records related to the Holocaust. In partnership with Arolsen Archives, Ancestry has completed our digitized, searchable collection of more than 19 million Holocaust and Nazi persecution-related records.
We also are humbled and honored to announce our new partnership with USC Shoah Foundation to publish an index to nearly 50,000 Jewish Holocaust survivor testimonies that contain information on more than 600,000 additional relatives and other individuals found in survivor questionnaires.
Both of these collections will be available for free, in perpetuity, for everyone at www.ancestry.com/alwaysremember.
Everyone’s story is important. We are committed to continually improving access to historic records to enable everyone’s family story to be found and shared – including the difficult ones. It’s from understanding history and how we have overcome challenges and supported each other that we can become stronger, more empathetic, and more open as we chart our future as individuals, families, and members of our local and global community.