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Google Brings 130,000 Holocaust Photos, Documents Online

ghetto in kielce, poland
Thousands of historical photos and documents from the Holocaust are now available online, thanks to a collaborative project from Google and Israel's Yad Vashem memorial. The initiative, which launched yesterday, will allow users to search through 130,000 photos from the Jerusalem-based institute, which houses the world's largest collection of Holocaust documents. With the help of experimental optical character-recognition technology, Google even managed to transcribe the text on many of the photos, enabling visitors to search for images by the names of family members. The new collections site also features a social networking component, where users can contribute their own stories or comments.

Launched on the eve of the U.N. International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Google's project actually began three years ago, after company exec Jonathan Rosenberg visited Yad Vashem, and decided to bring the institute's collection to a larger audience. In 2008, Yad Vashem launched its own YouTube channel, which, as of this week, is now available in Farsi. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev tells NPR that his organization is looking forward to digitizing even more of its expansive collection, in the hopes of educating a younger generation about the horrors of history. "This is part of our vision -- to connect Yad Vashem's knowledge and information to modern technology, and bring it to youngsters," Shalev said.

Tags: archive, google, history, holocaust, Israel, Jerusalem, jewish, judaism, museum, photos, preservation, search, top, Web, WorldWarIi, wwII, YadVashem