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How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust

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Yad Vashem Archives. The third way to access the information is by consulting the duplicate copy of much of the ITS information located at Yad Vashem archives in Jerusalem. The facility is open to the public so you can (1) go there yourself, (2) have a friend or relative living in Israel use the facility, or (3) hire a professional researcher to do the work for you. The principal advantage of using the Yad Vashem archives is time; the records can be searched within weeks, if not days. The principal disadvantage is that the records constitute the ITS collection as of 1965. With access to records held by formerly communist countries now easing, ITS has acquired additional records of the Holocaust. Some of this new information is available at Yad Vashem, but it is not collated with the earlier ITS records.

If you elect to use a professional researcher, be sure to select someone living in Israel, preferably in Jerusalem. If you hire a professional outside of Israel, all he or she will do is contact a fellow professional in Israel to do the actual work and charge you for his or her time as well as that time actually used to do the search. A list of Israeli researchers who have done this type of research is available from this author at P.O. Box 900, Teaneck, NJ 07666. To receive a list, you must include a self-addressed stamped envelope, or two international postal reply coupons if inquiring from outside the United States.

Recommendation: Check the ITS records at Yad Vashem first. If they do not provide sufficient information, then take the more time-consuming approach of using the American Red Cross to check the complete records of ITS.

ITS Records at Yad Vashem
In addition to the master index, there is an enormous amount of material that represents the original source documents from which the master index was compiled. It is always possible that some of the information was not carried to the master index and additional information might exist in the original documentation.

Record Group ID. These records, arranged by concentration camp, include more than three million documents of individuals. The camps are: Buchenwald, Dachau, Flossenburg, Gross-Rosen, Hinzert, Liebenau, Mauthausen, Dora- Mittelbau, Natzweiler, Neider-Wewelsburg, Radom and Ravensbruck. There are also a card index of names from Italy and individual records for Gestapo offices in Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Koblenz and Wuerzburg.

Record Group BD. This group contains more than 295,000 pages of lists of persons at various camps. Some are in alphabetical order, most in chronological order. There are lists of arrivals, transports, sick persons, executions, deaths, some burials, survivors upon liberation, changes of status, outside work details, and others. The camps include Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Drancy, Flossenburg, Gross-Rosen, Lublin-Majdanek, Malines, Mauthausen, Mittelbau-Dora, Natzweiler, Neuengamme, Papenburg, Ravensbruck, Sachsenburg, Sachsenhausen, Stutthof and Theresienstadt.

Record Group CHSA. This group concerns children survivors. There are approximately 185,000 microfilm frames of information, as well as card indexes, lists and case files.

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