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The WWII Thesaurus is a validated, hierarchically organised list of keywords for the thematic retrieval of (digital) sources from and about the Second World War. The thesaurus contains about 7000 terms relating to events, places, concepts, and objects. The keywords are divided into a number of sections, including Persecution, Administration, Daily Life, Law, etc. The WWII Thesaurus also contains an extensive list of camps and ghettos in both Europe and the former Dutch East Indies, including GPS coordinates. The WWII Thesaurus has been freely accessible since December 2016 (CC0).

Who maintains the WWII Thesaurus?

The WWII Thesaurus is maintained by NIOD, whose editorial staff monitors the quality of the thesaurus.

If you notice that a certain term is missing from the WWII Thesaurus, please suggest we add it to the thesaurus. In order to qualify for inclusion in the Thesaurus, the term must meet a number of requirements:

  1. The new term fits the scope of the WWII Thesaurus
  2. The new term is not a synonym for an existing term. However, suggestions for synonyms are welcome (as alternative terms) and can be submitted separately
  3. The (meaning of the) new term appears in three sources. These sources must be mentioned in the proposal.

Please send your proposal to:  Ultimately, the editors of the WWII Thesaurus determine whether the term is included. The editorial board meets six times a year. Please ensure that the following points are included in your proposal:

  • The new term is provided with a definition or scope note describing the term. The scope note is substantiated by one or two valid sources and consists of a maximum of 3 sentences.
  • Please indicate the broader term or terms, to help place the term in the Thesaurus.

Contact about the WWII Thesaurus

If you have questions or comments regarding the WWII Thesaurus, please contact the editorial staff by sending an e-mail to:

When using the images from the WWII Thesaurus, please pay attention to the copyright/licensing conditions. When the WWII Thesaurus was put online, the included images were available free of rights; this may have changed in the meantime.

Dutch Network of War Collections (NOB) and the WWII Thesaurus

The WWII Thesaurus was developed by NIOD, commissioned by the Dutch Network of War Collections (Netwerk Oorlogsbronnen, NOB). News about the WWII Thesaurus can be found on the thesaurus project page on NOB's website. For the download of the WWII Thesaurus, please visit the Open Data Register of NOB.

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