After four years of detailed research, the most complete list to-date of Jewish residents living in Germany between 1933 and 1945 has been handed over to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial site in Jerusalem.
Yad Vashem is internationally known as a place for Holocaust research
Over six decades after the end of the Holocaust, family members and scholars can use the list, which includes some 600,000 names, to find out the fate of individuals during the Holocaust.
"It provides information about the fate of Jews in National-Socialist Germany, their place of birth, their place of residence and about whether and when they left Germany or when they were murdered," Franka Kuehn, spokeswoman for the German Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and Future, which initiated the research project, told Deutsche Welle.
On Thursday, Oct. 23, German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann and Martin Salm, the head of the foundation, officially lodged the list at Yad Vashem. Though the Israeli memorial site has a huge database of its own, the German contribution is a valuable addition because it is based on over 1,000 sources -- more than ever used at one time.
Long-drawn out process
Kuehn said that several terminology issues had to be sorted out during the research process, as it wasn't always clear who was a Jew and who wasn't. The Nazis' own records of Jews contained people who may have only sympathized with the Jews and were therefore also persecuted.
Many Holocaust victims were transported to death camps by train
"The term Jew had a racist connotation during the time of National Socialism," said Kuehn. One might ask whether Golo Mann (son of German writer Thomas Mann) would have wanted to see his name on a list of German Jews, but it's not our job as a foundation to answer these kinds of questions."
The study follows a 1986 compilation, revised in 2005, of the names of the 150,000 German Jews killed in the Holocaust. A greater number of German Jews managed to flee. The Nazis killed an estimated 6 million Jews in Europe.
The German Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and Future was founded in 2002 to organize compensation payments to forced laborers under the Nazi regime.
By the end of 2007, the foundation had disbursed 4.37 billion euros from German industries and the state to more than 1.5 million people in 98 countries.