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Documents about Holocaust survivors online

After Hitler’s regime was defeated, many Holocaust survivors and liberated forced laborers wanted to leave Europe. Along with the United States, the most desirable emigration destinations included Canada and Australia. Most of the emigrants were carried by nearly 400 ships the Allies supplied for this mass migration movement; some arrived by plane. 

The Arolsen Archives has worked with Ancestry to publish ships’ passenger lists online. Users can now search for almost 1.9 million additional names in the online archive to find information on those people who either did not want to return to their home countries after 1945 or were not able to do so.

“The passenger lists are a priceless historical source,” says Floriane Azoulay, director of the Arolsen Archives, the world’s most comprehensive archive on victims of Nazi persecution. “They are recognized as documentary heritage by UNESCO and give us insights into the lives of individuals. They also provide information about migration in the wake of World War II, such as details about which groups were able to emigrate and who was denied this opportunity.”

The passenger lists are among the more than 30 million documents held by the Arolsen Archives. The international institution aims to publish all documents online by the year 2025. “We need strong partners for this,” Azoulay explains. “It would take too long using our resources alone, so we are very pleased about this new collaboration” with Ancestry.

Ancestry has tagged the digitized passenger lists with keywords such as names or dates so that they are searchable more rapidly and precisely on the internet.

The lists are published online by both the Arolsen Archives and Ancestry. Access to these documents is provided free of charge by both partners. The Arolsen Archives began uploading their collections online in 2015 and most recently published 13 million records from concentration camps in a new online archive in May 2019. The Arolsen Archives Online Archive is accessible at Ancestry’s free online archive is at