Volume 7, Number 3 | March 20, 2006
Reaction to German "Veto" of Public Access to ITS Data
There has been much reaction to the "veto" by the German government to release of Holocaust-related records of the International Tracing Service.
ITS Response: In an e-mail response to Ed Zweiback of Long Beach, California, the ITS public relations office placed a positive spin on the recent events, but essentially confirmed the German "veto" of public access. The response stated:
"We share your view that the archives of the International Tracing Service are to be opened to historical research. At the same time, it is to be emphasized that the opening is not called into question by any of the 11 member states, which are represented in the International Commission for the International Tracing Service. So all agree that access to historical research shall be implemented.
"The regulations for this are presently elaborated by this supervising body. But, at the same time, another proposal has been made, namely that the complete database may be copied and handed over to the 11 member states upon request. Because of the different data protection regulations, among other things, there exist dissimilar opinions about this, however, which are to be reconciled, since certain data would be accessible in one place, but not in another. This brings up the question of liability.
"As 98% of the records preserved at the ITS include personal information and often sensitive details about the privacy of individuals, the ITS has to guarantee the protection of the rights of personality in accordance with the directives issued by these governments (Article 5 of the Bonn Agreements). Consequently, the interests of the persons concerned who are still alive must be in the centre of the endeavours in respect of the opening of the archives in Bad Arolsen as well as regarding a release of the data base.
"On the 16th of May, the International Commission wants to find a solution to this problem and to express a unanimous opinion, which will hopefully enable the ITS to do justice to the concerns of the former civilian persecutees of the Nazi regime as well as to the historians."
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Reaction: The official reaction of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has been that ITS has a moral obligation to release the records. They note that having copies of the ITS records at national Holocaust memorials in their countries would allow survivors and their families, as well as Holocaust scholars, to learn the fate of the victims and better understand the Holocaust itself. Many survivors die each year not knowing details of family members' deportation, incarceration, and death. The international community has a moral obligation to address this injustice. USHMM notes that 60 years after the end of World War II, the ITS remains one of the few, and certainly the largest of the closed archives on the Holocaust.
Yad Vashem Reaction. Yad Vashem has a significant portion of the ITS records on microfilm that it acquired in 1955. For more than a year they have been digitizing these records, but they have made no commitment to place them on the Internet.
Public Reaction--Petition: An online petition to ITS has been started by Ophir Miron. People can sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/itsopen/
The holdings of the International Tracing Service 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. They claim to have 40 million such pieces of information. Their sources, to name a few, are deportation lists, concentration camp death lists, ghetto records and post-war refugee records.
Australian 2006 Census Has Opt-in Question
Australians will have to opt-in if they want their census information released to th public in 99 years. The next Australian census will be conducted Tuesday August 8, 2006. It will contain 61 questions; all will be compulsory except the ones on religion and census retention. The retention question (Q60) states: "Does each person in this household agree to his/her name and address and other information on this form being kept by the National Archives of Australia and then made publicly available after 99 years?" Failing to state "yes" means the information will be kept confidential forever.
The Australasian Federation of Family History Organizations is working closely with the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the National Archives of Australia to assist in the national public education campaign prior to census night to encourage a "yes" answer to the question. Additional information can be found at http://www.affho.org/projects/census.php.
Canadian 2006 Census Opt-in Question
Meanwhile, Statistics Canada is having a publicity campaign to promote the 92-year consent question on the 2006 Canadian census questionnaire. Statistics Canada stated that they are working closely together with Library and Archives Canada to ensure that all Canadians are aware of the importance of this question when they receive their 2006 Census questionnaires. Numerous activities are planned or already underway that are designed to increase awareness and knowledge among Canadians about the 92-year consent question and its importance to future generations.
Stephen P. Morse Completes Linking of New York Bride and Groom Indexes
The Stephen P. Morse site at http://stevemorse.org now has crosslinks between the bride and groom indexes for New York City located at the Italian Genealogy Group site at http://www.italiangen.org. After locating a man in the groom's index, there is a link to the index of the bride's record. Similarly, searching for a woman in the bride index provides a link to the groom index.
The groom index is for the entire city (1909-1936). The bride index is only for the boroughs of Bronx (1891-1937), Brooklyn (1891-1937) and Queens (1904-1937). Plans call for adding the Manhattan bride index to the online system. The bride index is incomplete. I found numerous cases where there was no bride record for a groom, but I could find no cases where the bride index did not have a comparable groom index record.
Index to 1929 Polish Business Directory Online
An index to the 1929 Polish Business Directory is now online at Logan Kleinwaks site: http://www.kalter.org/search. Previously at the site there were ten other indexes to directories for Poland, Galicia and Romania. They are:
1926/1927 Poland and Danzig Business Directory
1928 Poland and Danzig Business Directory
1930 Poland and Danzig Business Directory
1923 Poland and Danzig Commercial Directory
1912 Galicia Telephone Directory
1901 Galicia Industry Directory
1925 Romania Business and Organizational Directory, Vol. I (Bucharest)
1924/1925 Romania Business and Organizational Directory, Vol. II (rest of Romania)
1938/1939 Warsaw Telephone Directory
1885 Posen (City) Address and Business Directory
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