Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy
Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 5, Number 24 | January 2, 2005

Happy New Year to all!

Task Force Requests Public Access to ITS Records
The Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research meeting in Trieste on December 16, 2004, unanimously approved a motion to request that the International Tracing Service located in Arolsen, Germany, make their records accessible to the public. The director of ITS was present at the meeting and protested, but according to a source, he was told by the group that "the days of stalling were over."

Highlights of the motion include:

Immediate research access to the holdings of the ITS archives to be made available by deposit of digitized or microform copies of the archives at major international centers of Holocaust research, where access to the documentation could be provided in accordance with the relevant national laws and archival practices of the country where the copies are located.

Creation of a complete list of all the archival collections reposing at ITS, including both the original deposits made in the 1950s and the annual accessions of new documents assembled by ITS since 1955.

Provide descriptions of the organizational units in which documents are held, the approximate amount of documentary material in each unit, and a description of the finding aids, shelf lists, guides, etc. that exist for each unit.

Provide information on the archival materials that have already been digitized or are already in microfilm or microfiche form, including a detailed list showing the name/designation of every archival collection, including the central card file that has been digitized or duplicated.

The Task Force is represented by 20 countries including Germany, Israel and United States.

The holdings of the International Tracing Service, located in Arolsen, Germany, are one of the most valuable sources of information about the fate of people, both victims and survivors, caught up in the Holocaust. Their records place an individual at a specific place and time during the Holocaust period. Their sources, to name a few, are deportation lists, concentration camp death lists, ghetto records and post-war refugee records.

Additional information about ITS can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/Holocaust/ITS.htm.


Index to Births, Marriages and Deaths of England and Wales
The website http://www.freebmd.org.uk claims to have indexed more than 92 million births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales from 1837-1910. The database is in great demand and response time can be slow. The operators state it is least busy between midnight and 6:00 a.m. GMT. Some images of the actual registers also are available.

A comparable site exists for an index to the 1891 and 1901 censuses. It is located at http://freecen.rootsweb.com. Once an individual in located in the index, it is possible to display all members of the household who are listed in the index.


Site Identifies 31,000 Victims at Mauthausen Camp
A posting to the JewishGen Discussion Group notes there is now a Mauthausen Memorial website that includes a searchable index of about 38,500 people who died at the Mauthausen concentration camp. The website location is http://www.mauthausen-memorial.at/. Information provided about the individual includes given name, nationality, date of birth and date of death.

To access the database wait about 60 seconds after the initial screen displays and a second screen will appear. On this second screen, click "Totenbuch Mauthausen" at the bottom. This brings up a screen that allows browsing the 38,500 names in alphabetical order. To search for a particular surname, click the word "Suche" in the upper left part of the screen.


Ancestry.com Now Has Death Index for Florida 1936-98
Ancestry.com has completed its index to deaths for the State of Florida for the years 1936-98. The index is located at http://www.ancestry.com/rd/prodredir.asp?sourceid=4717&key=D7338. Many Jews who spent the majority of their lives in more northern states retired to Florida in their later years and died there. Information on how to acquire death records can be found at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/


Index to Kishinev Birth Records Now Online
A vital record index to Kishinev (now Chisinau, Moldova) has been added to the All Romania Database on JewishGen. It is located at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Romania/KishinevVRs.htm. The All Romania database now contains more than 190,000 records.

The Kishinev index contains more than 25,700 birth records, 6,400 marriage or divorce records and 17,875 death records. When completed this database will contain birth, marriage, divorce and death records from 1829 to 1915 but will not contain all years because some records have been destroyed.


Morse Withdraws Yizkor Book Portal
I have always thought Stephen Morse's role in the genealogical community would be as a catalyst. Once he demonstrated that an existing search engine can have greater capability, you would expect the implementers of these sites to incorporate Morse's ideas into their own system.

Finally, one of these sites is using Morse in such a manner. The New York Public Library has requested Morse remove from his site the functionality that allows you to go to a specific page in any of the yizkor books that they have online at http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/jws/yizkorbookonline.cfm

They informed Morse about two weeks ago that they would implement the capability at their own site. To date, it has not been done.


Jews-Officers in the Polish Armed Forces
Polish Jewish OfficersAvotaynu Foundation has reprinted Jews-Officers in the Polish Armed Forces compiled by Benjamin Meirtchak. The 300-page book identifies nearly 5,000 Polish-Jewish officers who fought in the Polish Army in World War II. Each entry provides name, birth date, military rank, service branch, and death circumstances when applicable.

According to the book’s author, 200,000 Polish Jews fought against Nazi Germany in the ranks of the Polish Armies on Polish soil and in exile. Despite the tremendous Jewish military contribution to the Polish war efforts, the official Polish historical bibliography of WWII ignores this Jewish phenomena. The purpose of this book, the author states, is to rectify this historical injustice and to commemorate the Jewish fighters in the struggle against Nazi Germany.

In addition to the listing of individuals, the author includes a chronology of events from the outbreak of WWII to its end describing the participation of the Polish army in the struggle. There are articles about the Polish armed forces in exile, the Independent Mountain Brigade in Norway, the Independent Carpathian Gunners Brigade, Anders Army, Polish Army West, Polish Army East, Polish People’s Army in the USSR and the Polish underground resistance movement.

The author was a captain in the Polish army. In 1999, the Polish government awarded him the Commandory Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and promoted him to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (retired).

Ordering information can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/polishofficers.htm.

Avotaynu Foundaiton is a non-profit tax exempt organization that publishes books of interested to genealogists that are  not considered commerically viable.

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