Officially launching on Monday, the Web site, run by the group Yad Vashem, marks the first-ever appearance of the records on the Internet. In a new aspect of the 50-year-old organization's research tactics, the Web site also lets visitors submit one-page forms of biographical information about Holocaust victims.
Before the Web site went public, only visitors to Yad Vashem's complex in Jerusalem could see what's collectively referred to as the Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names, while information was usually gleaned through face-to-face interviews, cards, letters or e-mails.
"We now offer these names--with bereavement, with a sense of humility and awe, and with determination to persist until all their names are retrieved," the group says in a greeting on the Web site.
Yad Vashem was established by the Israeli government in 1953 to document the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators before and during World War II. Jews were not the only victims of the Nazi regime, but they were the only group that the Nazis sought to destroy entirely. The new site is part of a $22 million upgrade to its databases.