Expanding Knowledge Together
Thanks to the digitization of documents, the fates of prisoners are easier to elucidate these days. Unfortunately, some uncertainties will always remain. The archives are therefore grateful for any information that can be used to supplement the information in the databases.
What memorial site employees know about individual prisoners is largely based on the documents of the camp administrations—such as index cards, prisoner arrivals lists, and transport lists. Since the SS destroyed many documents when the camps were liquidated towards the end of the war, the records are quite fragmentary. Often it also isn’t clear whether a prisoner survived past the end of the war. Frequently, relatives are the ones who supply this important information along with their archive inquiries.
Even if only few records exist, the memorial sites want to preserve the memory of the victims. However, there are not even pictures of the majority of prisoners, and in the documents of the perpetrators they appear as mere objects, not people. When relatives send photographs, letters, or other personal documents, they give those who were persecuted and murdered a face.
Even scans and copies help the memorial sites’ archives. Naturally, they also gladly accept bequests. The archivists ensure that the objects and documents are preserved in the best possible manner for future generations.