Help us build a digital memorial
#everynamecounts is an initiative of the Arolsen Archives that aims to build a digital memorial to the victims of Nazi persecution. So that future generations will be able to remember the victims’ names and identities. But #everynamecounts is about society today, too – because by looking at the past, we can see where discrimination, racism, and antisemitism can take us.
Remembrance and commemoration of the victims of National Socialism often follow set rituals that mean little to young people.
The #everynamecounts crowdsourcing initiative offers a new and very direct form of active engagement with the past – and an opportunity to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and stand up for respect, diversity, and solidarity.
Stand up for respect, diversity and democracy!
With #everynamecounts, anyone can take a stand for respect, diversity and democracy. And in 2022, the #everynamecounts initiative is aiming for new heights. The next phase of the initiative begins on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. As well as appealing to the public to participate directly in #everynamecounts and create a digital record of the data contained in historical documents, we are also asking people to take a personal stand.
Our “Stand up for respect, diversity, and democracy” campaign provides an opportunity for the silent majority who support democratic values to raise their voices and make themselves heard. We are extending a special invitation to the young people of Gen Z to take part – because we know these values are very important to them.
New study on Gen Z in Germany
Is the Nazi era just a dark, distant chapter of history for young people today? Far from it. The Arolsen Archives recently commissioned a large-scale quantitative and representative study involving more than 1100 respondents to investigate Gen Z’s attitude to Nazi history – and the question of how a vibrant culture of remembrance can be maintained today. Carried out by the rheingold institute and based on the principles of depth psychology, the study identified a compelling combination of high receptivity and strange fascination.
The survey highlights the fact that, contrary to all preconceptions, 16 to 25-year-olds in Germany are actually more interested in Nazi history than their parents’ generation. For Generation Z, thinking about the Nazi era has very little to do with coming to terms with the past.
In contrast to older groups, the focus for them is more on the here and now. Their own experiences of racism, antisemitism, social division, and exclusion lead Gen Z to look at Nazi history through the lens of the present. For Gen Z, the Nazi era stands in stark contrast to the multi-optionality of contemporary culture. At the same time, they have to find and make their own way in today’s complex world. This is both a blessing and a curse.
For the purposes of the survey, 16 to 25-year-olds and 40 to 60-year-olds from all over Germany were interviewed using qualitative and quantitative methods. The study is representative for each age group
More content for teenagers and young adults
Raising young people’s awareness of racism, antisemitism, and radicalization in society is one of our major goals. So continuing to build our digital memorial to the victims of National Socialism is just one of our plans for 2022. We are also developing an educational program for school students and a YouTube channel that will bring #everynamecounts and the issues it highlights into the social media world.
We are able to expand the initiative in this way because the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media is providing funding for #everynamecounts as part of a set of measures intended to combat right-wing extremism and racism. Our common goal is to reach as many school students as possible.
»A person’s name identifies them. Building a digital memorial to these names is very much in tune with the times we live in today. It will be accessible worldwide. It will ensure that this greatest crime against humanity is never forgotten.«Michaela Küchler, Ambassador (Federal Foreign Office)
This is how you can join in and record names
We are working on the world’s most comprehensive online archive on the people who were persecuted and murdered by the National Socialists. This involves transcribing the names and dates found in historical documents that have already been scanned to create a digital record of the data they contain.
This is a gigantic task because our archives contain around 30 million documents and information on the fates of 17.5 million people .
Many millions of names can already be found online using a simple search function. But millions more are still missing from the online archive. This is what prompted us to launch the #everynamecounts crowdsourcing initiative. Our Deputy Head of Archives Giora Zwilling explains how easy it is to take part:
You can give as much of your time as you like. Anyone can participate in #everynamecounts, all you need is a computer with an internet connection. Thousands of volunteers are already helping out.
What we want to achieve
We want this unique digital memorial to grow as quickly as possible. This is why we are working to make our historical collection of documents available online. They contain information on concentration camp prisoners, forced laborers under Hitler’s regime, and people who survived persecution. Our goal is for all their names to be online by 2025.
That means that anyone with an interest in the history of Nazi persecution will be able to access this important collection of documents, which is part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World. It is an invaluable resource for researchers and teachers – and for the relatives of the victims.
The Director of the Arolsen Archives, Floriane Azoulay, talks about the goals of #everynamecounts in this interview:
What has #everynamecounts achieved so far?
#everynamecounts started out in 2020 as a pilot project with around 1,000 students and soon became a great success. During the coronavirus pandemic, when events that had been planned to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps had to be cancelled, more and more people from different countries began to join in. By January 2022, the crowdsourcing project had more than 22,000 registered users – all working from home – who had digitized over 5.1 million documents.
Would you like to know more about the goals and achievements of #everynamecounts? We recommend reading this interview with Giora Zwilling, head of the “Collections and Workflows” team for #everynamecounts and Deputy Head of the Archives.
#everynamecounts: milestones so far
(as of January 2022)