In the course of your research, you may wish to locate persons for whom
the only information you have is an obsolete address or no address at
all. It is impossible to describe in a brief chapter the wealth of
resources available to locate persons. If you think of the number of
times you have had to put your name, address and other pertinent
information on application forms, consider that each of these documents
is a potential method of locating you. People appear in telephone
directories, belong to organizations such as Holocaust survivor groups,
contribute to Jewish charities, and are members of professional
societies, to name a few. All are potential sources for locating an
individual. The "Selected Bibliography" includes a number of books
written about the subject.
One of the simplest techniques for locating individuals is using
telephone directories. In this age of computers, commercial firms in
many countries have developed consolidated telephone directories that
provide a complete alphabetical list of all published telephone numbers
in the country, independent of region. This allows the rapid search of
an entire country's telephone subscribers for the name of an
individual. Its principal disadvantage is that subscribers may request
that their name not be listed. It can also be difficult to use if the
person has a common name since hundreds of persons with the surname may
be listed in the consolidated directory.
If you know the locality where a person once lived, find out if there
is a reverse telephone directory for the area. This is a directory
organized by street address rather than alphabetical order. For
example, such directories exist for New York City. If the directory
exists, call the neighbors of the person you are searching for. They
may be able to supply you with a new address for the person or at least
give you clues.
Writing a letter to "Occupant" at the person's last-known address might
elicit a response from the current residents. Ask if they know the
current whereabouts of the person you are seeking. Be sure to include a
self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to make it easy for the person
to respond. If writing to another country, instead of an SASE, go to
the post office and purchase two international postal coupons and
include it with your letter. The responder can redeem these coupons in
exchange for cash equivalent to the cost of an air mail stamp. State in
the letter that you would appreciate a response even if they know no
information. You may wish to include a preprinted questionnaire to make
it as simple as possible for the person to respond.
In virtually every major country in the world where Jews relocated
after the Holocaust, agencies helped them with the task of settling in
their new country. Each of these organizations created files of
information about their clients that can be a starting point for
locating survivors. When corresponding with these organizations, give
as much factual information as possible about the person(s)
sought--name, names of parents, name of spouse, place of birth, places
lived before the war, location(s) during the war, occupation. Keep the
letter brief, limiting it to information that might be useful in
identifying the individual from the agencies' records. Do not write
long letters describing the events in the person's life--they may be
important to you, but not relevant to the searcher.
Many of these agencies have limited budgets. Therefore, to defray the
cost of their responding to you, if the agency is in your country,
include a legal-sized, self-addressed stamped envelope. If the agency
is in another country, include two international postal coupons instead
of a stamp.
Described below are institutions in various countries that can help you
On July 18, 1994, a terrorist bomb exploded in front of the office of
the Jewish Federation (AMIA) on Pasteur Street, killing nearly one
hundred persons and destroying the building. AMIA has established
provisional headquarters at 632 Ayacucho Street in Buenos Aires.
Although thousands of Holocaust survivors emigrated to Australia after
World War II, there are no organized lists of those who did so.
Attempts to create such documentation have met with resistance from
community bodies anxious not to generate lists of names that may be
used by persons carrying out some unknown future threat.
The Australian Jewish Welfare Society, which has branches in the
various states of the Australian Commonwealth, has records of those
they helped, but files have not been cataloged and are in storage and
considered inaccessible. The two largest groups of survivors live in
the area of Sydney and Melbourne.
Sydney. Australian Association of Jewish
Holocaust Survivors. Address: Beth HaShoah; 148 Darlinghurst Road;
Darlinghurst, 2010 Sydney, NSW, Australia. The principal purpose of
this association is to serve as a support group for Holocaust survivors
living in Australia. A library and archives located at the Sydney
Jewish Museum answers inquiries about particular survivors at no charge.
Melbourne. A computerized search service has
been created by the Jewish Welfare Society. For a fee of AU$25, they
will search their records. Write to Jewish Community Services Tracing
Service; 26 Alma Road; St. Kilda, Melbourne, 3182 Victoria, Australia.
Telephone 525-4000; fax: 525-3737. Everyone who has ever contributed to
a Jewish cause in Melbourne since 1945, or had an advertisement in the Australian Jewish News of Melbourne, is supposedly listed in
Jewish communities that include Holocaust survivors exist in a number
of other Australian communities. Make inquiries to the individuals
Brisbane. Morris Ochert; 3/23 Lucinda Street;
Taringa, Brisbane, Queensland; 4068 Australia.
Hobart. Amelie Rauner; GPO Box 128B;
Hobart, Tasmania; 7001, Australia.
Perth. Holocaust Institute; 61 Woodrow
Avenue; Yokine, Perth, WA; 6060 Australia. Also, Association of Jewish
Holocaust Survivors; Abe Nidorf; 8 Warralong Crescent; Mt. Lawley,
Perth, WA; 6050 Australia.
Dokumentationsarchiv des Osterreichischen Widerstandes; Altes Rathaus;
Wipplingerstrasse 8; A-1010 Vienna, Austria.
Aid Society (JIAS);
5151 Cote St. Catherine Road; Montreal, Quebec H3W 1M6. Telephone:
(514) 342-9351; fax: (514) 342- 8452. JIAS is a social service
organization founded in 1919 to serve the needs of post-World War I
Jewish immigrants who planned to settle in Canada. After World War II,
it served to assist Holocaust survivors. Unfortunately, due to budget
cuts, JIAS has abandoned its locator service. The organization is
seeking funding that would reestablish this service.
Archives of Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC); 1590 Docteur Penfield Avenue;
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1C5. Telephone: (514) 931- 7531; fax: (514)
931-0548. This organization has three major and some minor collections
that include information about Holocaust survivors. The collections are
Aid Society (JIAS).
There is a "catch-22" in the relationship between the CJC and JIAS. CJC
will not release information included in JIAS records without approval
of JIAS. JIAS says it does not have the funding to process inquiries.
Persistence and patience should prevail if you suspect there is useful
information in this collection. A further obstacle is privacy. The
records may include personal information, such as financial conditions
and social problems of the individuals. Again, persistence, patience
and the ability to demonstrate a need to know might allow you to gain
access to the case files.
Relief Agencies (UJRA).
Established in 1938, UJRA helped escapees, evacuees and interned
refugees located in England. After the war, the group sent supplies,
helped trace families of displaced persons, and brought skilled
immigrants to Canada, in addition to other services. Their collections
include: (1) case files of interned refugees, mainly Jewish Germans and
Austrians interned in Britain in 1940 as prisoners of war; (2) War
Orphans Immigration Project; (3) Skilled Labourers Immigration Project
for Displaced Persons; (4) Joint Distribution Committee Refugee and
Relief Program (including assistance and location services for
Holocaust survivors); and (5) CJC Special Immigration Cases.
Restitution Organization. This worldwide organization assists victims of Nazi
persecution to submit claims against the German and Austrian
governments. The Canadian branch was created in 1953. It holds
individual case files of persons requesting help in restitution claims.
Other collections. Some landsmanshaftn and survivor
association files are included in the CJC collections. Other materials
of these organizations are at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal
(Address: 5151 Cote St. Catherine Road; Montreal, Quebec H3W 1M6). The
National Archives of CJC also has oral testimonies of survivors, as
well as letters and journals of both survivors and victims.
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