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How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust

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Oral Testimonies
The value of the tens of thousands of oral testimonies given by survivors for locating information about individuals is controversial. This author has consulted two persons in the Jewish genealogical community who have used them extensively. One stated that oral testimonies usually include little information about individuals. Their purpose was to describe the testifier's personal experiences during the Holocaust. Close family members may be described as "my uncle Sol" or "my sister" without specifically identifying the individual. Yet the other person stated they often contain names of family members as well as members of the community. The latter party also commented that oral testimonies are an excellent source of first-person accounts of the events that transpired in a particular town.

Members of the Jewish genealogical community are mounting a campaign to have interviewers encourage survivors to name individuals and their relationships to each other. Often, the survivor's memory is the only documentation of individuals murdered in the Holocaust, especially children, and failure to document who these people were ensures that no record will remain that they ever existed.

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