Volume 7, Number 5 | April 18, 2006
Germany Approves Release of ITS Records
Germany announced today that they now favor opening the record collection of the International Tracing Service (ITS) located in Arolsen, Germany. The agreement would permit the eleven countries that make up the ITS committee to copy the ITS material and make it available through their national archives in accordance with national laws. This decision will be formally approved at the May 17 meeting of the ITS Council and then ratified by member countries. Even before formal approval, work will begin to get the material ready for copying, particularly the large part which has already been digitized. The new German position was approved by the German cabinet last week and was announced at a news conference at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum by German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries.
Until now, Germany resisted public access to the records citing privacy considerations. The member countries can now obtain copies of the records and make them available to the public based on each countries privacy laws. Ironically this will be least useful for German scholars since German law is far more restrictive than the laws of other countries.
The Associated Press version of the new conference can be read at http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/N/NAZI_ARCHIVES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-04-18-12-58-58
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.
Shown to the right is one of the millions of index cards in the ITS collection. It is for a Berek Mokotow and gives his birth date (11 March 1892), birth place (Warschau--Warsaw, Poland), that he arrived at Dachau concentration camp on 3 September 1940 from Sachsenhausen concentration camp and probably died on 15 January 1941 at Dachau. It even gives his home address in Frankfurt, Germany. Also provided is the source of the information (Dachau Entry Register) and a reference number to locate the original document.
Tel Aviv Chevra Kadisha Provides Online Death Records
The Tel Aviv Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) has placed online information about persons buried in the six cemeteries in the Tel Aviv area. Included is the name of the decedent, given name of father, date of death (both Hebrew and secular) and name of cemetery.
The site is located at http://www.kadisha.biz/. It is completely in Hebrew. To search for an individual or generic surname search, you must type the information in Hebrew. If you do not have a Hebrew keyboard use the Stephen P. Morse English to Hebrew transliteration program located at http://stevemorse.org/hebrew/eng2heb.html.
The Chevra Kadisha site is shut down on Shabat and holy days.
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