How should we best set up categories for victims of the Jewish Holocaust?

+22 votes
I adopted an approximately 800 person (so far, but I seem to keep finding more every time I turn around) gedcom that includes about 150 people (so far) who died in the Holocaust.  I have been focusing on unearthing facts and creating properly sourced bios for this group of them first.

I have a wonderful document that provides pages of testimony before commissions/tribunals/etc. that gives all kinds of data on these people and I have started to give them proper, albeit scant, profiles.

I would like to see a project for this, which I asked about in G2G a few days ago.

I also would like to have categories that can be used for these people.  After reading all the help pages on categories, I blithely set out and created a new category named "Holocaust".  On the page, there was an instruction to enter a description in "the text box" but I didn't see a text box (I was too stupid to think of scrolling down!) and posted a question here about that. That led to my being told that I should not be going around blithely creating categories without serious consideration, deliberation, and collaboration with the categories project on how to organize them and split them into subcategories.  I only wish the help pages had made that clear instead of giving me the impression that I should just go for it.

Anyhow, there is now a Holocaust category and it contains about 20 of these profiles for which I have so far written bios..  I have not attempted - or even given any thought - to what kinds of subcategories it should have.

This is an appeal to someone(s) who knows more than I do about what they're doing (which covers pretty much everyone on WikiTree) - take this stuff out of my hands before I do any more unintended damage here ... or at least take me on as a project to make sure I do things right.

THANX y'all!!!!!!
asked in Policy and Style by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (548k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
I'm no Holocaust expert, but looking through your category members (nice job, btw), the idea of concentration camp subcategories comes to mind immediately.
Rose, do you mean a subcategory for each different concentration camp?  That sounds like a good idea, but might create a problem because some of these people got moved around from 1 camp to another a few times.  Then again, that might not be a problem - we could just put the category flags for all the appropriate camps on each profile.

In another G2G question, someone suggested that there have been many holocausts in the world at different times, so there should be subcategories for each of those.  In that case, there would be a Jewish or World War II holocaust, with the different camps as further hierarchy within that.

Someone else suggested subcategories for different countries, like Germany, Poland, Hungary, etc.either where the people were from or where the campes were located.

Excellent points, all. I can see why you feel overwhelmed, And lo and behold, here's the beginning of a serious discussion of how to create this category. smiley (I was told to just jump right in to the process of category creation, so I suspect there are different personalities here, and they end up giving conflicting advice.)

Perhaps the most salient camp to researchers will be the one at which the person died, so a special category notation for place of death?

Regarding the occurrence of many holocausts, that's indisputable. If your work right now is specifically on Jews murdered by the Nazi regime (as opposed to other groups targeted by the Nazis), perhaps naming it the Shoah?

For the broader Nazi campaign, "WWII Holocaust" gets the point across, but is technically inaccurate. "Holocaust: Third Reich," maybe?


Gaile, I rephrased your post title in hopes of better catching the attention of the categorization project.
I think it is great that you are doing this Gaile. Maybe it should be a project of its own of some sort. We must also remember that it was not only Jews who were sent to these camps. I have visited Auschwits and Birkenau twice and the feelings... well I can't even try to describe them in a language that is not my mother tounge.
Oh, Lena, I understand sooooo well.  My mother was 1st generation American.  All the previous generation of her family came here from Hungary (or maybe what's currently part of Austria or Roumania or who knows what country) and they were Jewish.  My parents mentioned vaguely that they probably had many relatives who had died in those camps, but never knew anything about the parts of the family that did not come to the US.

What I cannot imagine is the feeling of going to any of those places.  I lived in Virginia at the time the Holocaust Museum was opened.  I easily went to Washington DC to see things or go to theater or concerts.  I remember thinking that I should really go there, but could never summon the courage to do it - I didn't think I could handle the experience.  I never went to see the Vietnam memorial there either - for the same reason.

When I adopted this family, I had no idea that they were Jewish or came from Germany, and that so many were Holocaust victims.  As I am working on this, I am learning, for the very first time, some of the awful details and it is really hitting me very hard.  I very much appreciate your comment and I can't imagine being able to describe these feelings in ANY language ... they are truly indescribable.
Good luck with your work and do not hesitate to ask questions. I teach both history and religion so I know a bit about this.
I think that this would make a great project and to maybe include some sub projects in regards to those Jewish individuals who escaped by emmigrating from the region, up to the creation of Isreal and perhaps the first settlers there?

My father was in the US Navy and he always told a story of the hundreds of refugees that were transported on the carrier to Isreal.  How almost every space availabe for famlies to sleep and live covered the hallways, hangers, decks and that they were dropped off along the beach where there was nothing.  How he and other's would give what they had to those that were traveling.  It must have been an important part of his time in the Navy as he still talks about it with vivid descriptions.

I also know those that immigrated to America and thus survived.  I think that this would be a great project to assist in identifying those that died, survived, escaped, and assisted during this terrible time of humanity.

I am not overly familiar with traditions or protocol, but if one was in need of assistance or a leader to help get this off the ground, I would be willing.
Nae X, I think you should post it as a question on its own and tag it with projects. That way the Wikileaders will defenately see it and help you get started.

Nae and Lena,

Thank you for recommending this as a project.  I had previously posted a question about making this a project.  Please see:

Eowyn responded that she would be willing to co-lead it if another leader stepped forward ... a few other people said they thought it was a good idea ... that was no Nov 20.

I sure hope that it happens, but don't think there's anything more I can do to make it happen.


Gaile, I so deeply understand your responses to going out there. This whole subject is unthinkably horrible (death camps, specially made gasses, all the intellects applying themselves to massacre and annihilation. I have felt that way all my life, and I have tried to get into the study of Judaism, attend temple (only several times), and the pain that Jews live with as part of their roots, their cultural history is so pervasive. The film called Hava Nagila (spelled correctly in the film) had a word in it which has only recently helped me: Davka, meaning "In spite of x, we will have joy"--which is the point of that not very old, universally known song. You and I and millions of others will be able to or do use Davka to get along with the work of understanding and continuing to live good lives.

2 Answers

+7 votes


Simplicity is often the answer for categorization.

I did a review of DMOZ and Google.

A google search for Holocaust produces the artice you would expect for the WWII event.  It notes: For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation).

So we can work with Holocaust as an appropriate category.  Other events will need additional names.

It should be placed under a world history category.

For sub categories:

Looking at DMOZ

Note the camps.  see. Top: Society: History: By Time Period: Twentieth Century: Holocaust: Camps 



answered by Philip Smith G2G6 Pilot (248k points)
Fascinating.  Wikipedia uses The Holocaust for the Jewish holocaust of the 20th century. See this:
Wikipedia's interface for mobile devices won't let me see what categories they used. Perhaps someone else could check?

Thank you soooooo much for giving me proper guidance.  I'm not sure about how to take the Holocaust category I (apparently) already created and make it a subcategory of World History, though.

I will put the names of the camps (from the list you referenced) as subcategories of Holocaust.  I do have one further question on this, though.  I have also found out that there were ghettos, in addition to camps.  In addition, there are different types of camps - labor, concentration, and extermination.  A further complication is added by the fact that some of the camps had some overlap - some concentration camps also had people working on labor projects and other concentration camps added gas chambers and performed the role of extermination camps.  There were only a couple of extermination camps - these were exclusvely dedicated to only that 1 purpose.

Victims typically started out in a ghetto, where some of them died because they were not strong enough to survive the awful living conditions.  People were selected to be moved to a labor or concentration camp based on their capacity for doing work.  Some died in the labor camp, again because of conditions.  Many died in the concentration camp, either because of conditions, being used for medical experiments, or at the whim of trigger-happy SS troops who served as guards there.  The survivors at the concentration camps were moved to extermination camps, where they were immediately ushered into the gas chambers.

If that's not enough complications, just before the end of the war, many were taken from concentration camps on a forced march (I think this was done from camps outside Germany and the destination was Germany) in order that the world would not discover what had been going on and/or to prevent them from being liberated.  Most of these did not survive the march.

I am in shock from learning about all of this, but the bottom line is that I'm wondering if the different types of camps/ghettos/march belong as subcategories of Holocaust, with the individual names of each ghetto/camp as another hierarchical level?

THANX a million for your invaluable help on this!

That's a list of the names of the camps.  Do you still want/need to see it?  I can type it in here if you do - there aren't a whole lot of them.

Edited to add:

Whoops!  I answered wrong - the link Philip provided is the list of names of the camps.  I just noticed you were asking about links you provided - hang on and I'll get them for you.

There is so much material here that I suspect it is to complicated to design a complete categorization structure at this point.

A suggestion.  Start with a few camps.  Do not worry about what kind of camp they are.  The camp name is enough.  Most of the time names as used on Wikipedia work just fine.  Create the profiles putting them in the camp categories.  Do not try to solve it all at this point.  After you have entered a number of profiles take another look at the categores and see if they make sense.  If it seems to work keep going and review as you go.  It is easy to change categores so it is not really necessary that you solve the entire structure now.   It seems much easier to review categores after some profiles have been added.


The wikipedia page you linked is titled Holocaust (disambiguation).  It starts:

Holocaust literally means "completely consumed by fire, originally applied to burnt sactifces"

The top level title is Genocides, which has 4 bullets:

  • The Holocaust, a genocide perpetrated by the Nazis ...etc.
  • Armenian Holocaust, the Ottoman government's systematic extermination ...
  • Ukrainian Holocaust, a genociede and man-made faine perpetrated by ...
  • Sikh Holocaust, either of two 18th century mass killings by ....

The other top level titles are Other Uses (a list of mostly other definitions) and Holocausto, which is identified as "the word used in several languages+.


That sounds like a wonderful plan!  I was really starting to get overwhelmend thinking about all the complexities of this.

I will add the names of the camps that the people in my "adopted family" were at and won't even try to list them all to begin with.

In most cases, this will result in more than 1 category listing on a profile, for the cases where a person was in one camp and then got moved to another camp.  I will assume that is an ok thing to do, though, unless you tell me otherwise.

Thank you again for putting up with all this to get me straightened out and on the right path!
+2 votes


I found the category World_War_II_Jewish_Casualties that existed that I began using when I noticed the Holocaust category. I certainly am not an expert when it comes to categorization. I had added a link within the biography for the Wikipedia articles for any associated ghetto or concentration camp when I found mention of it in my source.

answered by Ron Norman G2G6 Mach 3 (39.4k points)

Once you pointed it out, I was able to find that category!  I did not realize earlier that it existed already.  I guess it just never occurred to me to look under World War II.

I had laready set up the new Holocaust category and followed the advice from the categorization project (See Philip Smith's help above) to put it as a subcategory of World History.  I started to create individual camps as subcategories of Holocaust.  I notice that you also added yours to this Holocaust category.

I'm waiting on doing any more to the category structure, hoping that the categorization project will make those decisions, but I suggested using wikipedia's structure - starting immediately under World History, have a category for Genocides.  In that there would be 4 holocausts, including this one,  Although I'm adding the camps right now under Holocaust (and plan to include descriptions and/or links to wikipedia and/or other web pages about each camp on its category page - thanks for the head start you're giving me on getting that info), I think there should be another level - under Holocaust, there should be ghettos and camps.  The camps I'm entering as I find them would go under the camps subcategory.

By the way, if you look at any of the ones I did that are in the Holocaust category, you'll see a link to a document that has all the data for all the members of the family we're both working on.  It is a transcription of pages of testimony accumulated by commissions/tribunals/whatever that looked into the Nazi atrocities.

I must tell you that, since "adopting" all the orphan profiles in this gedcom and getting so involved in working on them, I feel very vested in what I'm doing - to the point that I now think of them as MY family.  I can't help but speculate on the possibility that they might, in reality, turn out to be my family when I manage to find out more information about my mother's side, which was Hungarian.  I don't know exactly where, though, so it might turn out to be Germany, Austria, or Roumania.  I do know that many family members who had not come to the US before World War II ended up dying in the Holocaust.



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