At the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum website, the online list of registered Auschwitz prisoners has grown by 281 thousand new entries, and now covers about 180 thousand individual prisoners. Compilation of this data about people imprisoned in the camp, based on extant original SS records, has been underway since 1991.
“The remembrance of the human tragedy cannot be reduced to the memory of dates and facts,” said Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, director of the Museum. “Above all, it is the remembrance of people, of very definite individuals, whom the Nazis murdered or wanted to murder. As long as we remember them, their physical destruction in the most efficient of crematoria will not be complete.”
The information about Auschwitz prisoners previously accessible at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum website came from extant Death Books and the Record Books of the Zigeunerfamilienlager (the so-called “Gypsy family camp”), as well as from Memorial Books compiled by Museum historians. Now, the list has been augmented with information from 70 other collections of original SS records. In coming years, it will be enhanced by the analysis of more documents.
“At present, the database accessible on our website is a compilation of information on about 180 thousand registered Auschwitz prisoners in 437 thousand records, or specific entries in the data base,” said Krzysztof Antończyk, director of the Digital Repository at the Museum. “However, it must be stated clearly that the number of records is not equal to the number of prisoners. Somewhat more than 400 thousand prisoners were registered in the camp. The names of many prisoners, including variant spellings, are repeated in various groups of documents. We often have to work with incomplete documents. The authentication of all the available data about the people imprisoned in the camp is going on all the time.”
The collection does not include the names of the majority of the deportees to Auschwitz, the Jews who were sent in mass transports, selected for death, and murdered in the gas chambers immediately after arrival. There is no individual trace in the records kept by the SS of these men, women, and children who made up the largest group of Auschwitz victims.
In case of doubts connected with the interpretation of the information available at the website, or if the search results do not include the name of a given person, please contact the Office for information about Former Prisoners. There is a chance that such information may be found in documents not yet accessible online.
“It will probably never be possible to collect the names of all the people deported to Auschwitz, since only about 10% of the original documentation generated by the SS is in the archives,” noted Antończyk. “The rest was destroyed before liberation on orders from the SS.”
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