Wednesday, April 13

History Unfolded: Nazis, Jews and You

While you're poking around in historical archives to unearth your family history, you have a real opportunity to contribute to our understanding of an important facet of modern history.

The Holocaust Museum has launched History Unfolded, an intriguing crowd-sourced research project. It aims to build a more complete picture of how the rise of Nazi Germany was perceived in the United States. As the museum puts it:

Help tell America's story. 
Together, we can uncover what ordinary people around the country could have known about the Holocaust from reading their local newspapers in the years 1933–1945. We need you to join our team of citizen historians uncovering new knowledge that will be shared with scholars, curators, and the public.

In other words, as you're digging through old newspapers from the 1930s and 1940s to find tidbits of family history, you can also be on the lookout for stories about Hitler, Nazis, the treatment of the Jews and the reactions here in America. Find an article, clip it (literally or digitally) and send it the museum to be added to their collection.

History Unfolded targets specific events, such as:

  • Nazi Olympics
  • German Race Laws
  • Kristallnacht
  • Warsaw Ghetto 
  • Concentration Camps

All submissions become part of the collection of the Holocaust Museum and will be available online for all to see.

This is an unusual and valuable opportunity to contribute to the historical record. Let us know in the comments below what you've discovered.


Don't forget to also check for your family history at NewspaperArchive and These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots. And visit the main page of Free Genealogy Tools for more, umm, free genealogical tools.