The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem is the most important site of the orthodox Holocaust ideology, second only perhaps to Auschwitz itself. The Center runs a museum, a research center, and an online Holocaust encyclopedia. But the most ambitious project of this institution is the attempt to identify all victims of the Holocaust by name and with as much of their personal background as possible.
In contrast to the database by the International Tracing Service (ITS), Yad Vashem enables visitors to tally the Holocaust victims listed in their database. As of early 2023, they listed 5,388,746 victims as murdered, and another 2,017,240 victims in the undefined category “others.” If they died, too, and are counted as Holocaust victims, then the total is already higher than seven million.
However, the reliability and relevance of the information contained in this database is very low for several reasons:
- The number is inflated: It includes not just people who were murdered, but also people who died as a result of armed resistance, who perished up to six months after the liberation (until the end of October 1945) as well as Jews who died during flight, evacuation and deportation from the advancing German armies. For example, the database contains thousands of Holocaust victims who allegedly died in Siberia or in Moscow.
- Submissions are unverified and unverifiable: Anyone can submit claims about Holocaust-related deaths of family members, relatives, friends, acquaintances or neighbors. Case in point: When someone submitted a photo of Joseph Goebbels’s wife with invented data as a Holocaust victim, she got promptly listed in the database – until the prank was revealed. Hence, most submissions are not and cannot be verified.
- Mass dumps: Entire groups of Jews from certain villages, towns and ghettos with their fate largely unknown were collectively entered as “presumably murdered.”
- Double and multiple entries: When millions of people submit claimed data about millions of people they consider missing from a pool of only millions of people, then inevitably names get submitted twice, thrice, even multifold. This sometimes occurs with different ways of spelling a name, which makes such multiple entries difficult to detect.
- Survivors included: The database includes both names of people allegedly murdered and those who survived. Unless submitted persons can be demonstrated to have survived, they are considered murdered or missing. Hence, many of those listed as “murdered” may actually have survived.
This method is the opposite of that applied by the ITS. While the latter lists victims as deceased only if documental proof is available, Yad Vashem lists any submission as a murder case, unless the person affected can be shown to have survived. This ensures a maximum number of Holocaust victims.