Yad Vashem has spent a decade searching every possible archive in Hungary, adding the names of over 200,000 previously anonymous Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
Published on the 20th of October 2017 in Haaretz
Only a few years ago no one knew anything about Samuel (Shmuel) Lederer. Even his name was undocumented. The farmer and public figure, one of the 13 Jews who lived in the remote Hungarian village of Magyarmecske, disappeared without a trace.
Statistically, he was only a number, just one person out of the million anonymous Holocaust victims, whose names remained unknown some 70 years after the end of World War II.
Recently, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem completed a unique documentary project, giving Lederer his name back – along with his life story. Yad Vashem now knows not only that Lederer existed but also his birthdate (July 31, 1864), where he grew up (in the small village in southwestern Hungary’s Baranya district), his parents’ names (David Lederer and Fanni nee Honig), his younger brother’s name (Rudolph “Reszo” Lederer), his wife’s name (Gizella Fleischer) and how many children he had (two daughters).
The people responsible for turning Lederer from a number into a name with a story and life are the team behind the Names Recovery Project, which has collected the names of Hungarian Jews murdered in the Shoah for Yad Vashem for the past decade. Dr. Haim Gertner, the director of Yad Vashem’s archives division, told Haaretz last week that the team’s work is revolutionary.
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