Washington (dpa) - The first comprehensive list of Jews who were living in Germany when the Nazis came to power was given to a US museum on Wednesday, providing a detailed picture of the population before the Holocaust.
German culture minister Bernd Neumann gave the list of Jewish residents in Germany from 1933 to 1945 to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in a ceremony in Washington on Wednesday.
From some 2.5 million pages of data, about 600,000 people of the Jewish faith have been identified so far. The directory is to be continuously updated with information from the German national archives, and will be being used for historical purposes as well as for family research.
"I hope that the list can advance research and can help the families to pick up the lost traces of their relatives and to win back a piece of their own history and their own identity," Neumann said in German during the event.
He said the document provides an overview of the names and residences of Germany's Jews, including records detailing their migration, imprisonment or deportation during World War II, as well their as dates and places of death.
Holocaust survivor and museum volunteer Kurt Pauly welcomed the addition to the museum's collection that might help others like him learn the fate of their family members.
"My grandparents and other relatives just disappeared in Germany. This list might help to find out what happened to them," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The compilation of the list began in 2005, based on a register that the German federal archives created at the request of the Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Foundation, a group that was established to pay forced labourers and focus on Holocaust issues.
In accordance with the wishes of Jewish institutions and associations, the list was expanded. The effort was financed by the German government and the foundation.
The list was first given to the Yad Vashem memorial, during a visit to Israel by Neumann last year. The data will now be made available to researchers and family members in the United States for the first time.