Crowdsourcing the Holocaust


Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Israel, has an unexpected new ally in its efforts to chronicle the Nazi atrocities: Google.

Each day, Yad Vashem gets literally hundreds of requests for information about Holocaust victims. It’s impossible for the museum to respond to all of them. But a collaborative project with Google offers massive assistance…in the form of the web giant’s search and organization tools. Their first joint project–a Yad Vashem YouTube channel–has produced more than 400 videos of survivors telling their stories in short, 1-10-minute chunks, and auto-translated into languages such as HebrewArabic, and Russian using Google’s technology. New videos are being added constantly.

Another project, a collection of 130,000 photographs, went online in January. Using Google’s face-recognition technology, it’s possible to identify the same faces in multiple photographs. Visitors to the website can also help out by identifying currently anonymous subjects. Face by face, Yad Vashem and Google, are piecing together a history of Holocaust victims and survivors.


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