Volume 7, Number 9 | June 18, 2006
Mormon/Jewish Controversy: The Problem That Won't Go Away
Helen Radkey Banned from Family History Library
Helen Radkey, the whistle-blower of the Mormon/Jewish controversy, has been banned from the Mormon Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It is unclear whether she is banned forever or for just 72 hours as one of the men who evicted her stated. She was threatened with arrest if she returned.
At the time Radkey was approached in the Mormon facility, she was adding to her list of Dutch Jews murdered in the Holocaust who have been rebaptized by the Church. These Jews were removed in 1995 as part of the agreement between the Church and Jewish organizations. In the past few months she has found that more than 1,500 names have been added back and her list is growing.
Radkey started making headlines about six years ago when she disclosed to the press that the Mormon Church was not fulfilling its obligation to the Jewish community to limit posthumous baptism to "direct ancestors" as stated in the 1995 agreement. At first, I did not believe her claims because the names that made the headlines were famous Jews, and my investigation of the IGI concluded these famous people were all baptized before the 1995 agreement. But Radkey provided me with additional information that demonstrated that not only were Jews being posthumously baptized after the signing of the 1995 agreement, but that the numbers were in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.
I am now convinced that when the Church signed the agreement, they had no intent of stopping the practice. This is based on two statements made by a Church spokesman recently. One stated that it is Church doctrine that their mission is the salvation of the entire human race, both living and dead. The second statement was the Church does not go against its doctrine. The agreement they signed goes against Church doctrine.
Rather than being mad at Radkey for bringing to the attention of the Jewish community that the Church is not meeting its commitment, the Church should hire her and give her complete access to the IGI. Since they have stated in the press that they have met the commitment to the Jewish community that they signed in 1995, Radkey should be asked to demonstrate to them how they have violated this commitment, and if she can't, they should call a press conference where Radkey would admit she was wrong.
On a second matter, Radkey reported to me that for a few days the JewishGen web page that documents the controversy was blocked at the Family History Library. The computers at the Library have Internet access. Sites that are offensive to the Church, such as those that present pornography or alcoholic beverages, are blocked. Radkey subsequently reported to me that a few days later the site was available. You can view the JewishGen Infofile at http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/ldsagree.html.
Online Directories at Logan Kleinwaks Site
Logan Kleinwaks has added a number of searchable Eastern European directories to his site at http://www.kalter.org/search. They cover Poland, Galicia and Romania. The latest is a 1937 business, school, and organizational directory covering various cities throughout Poland.
Searching can be accomplish using Regular (Exact) spelling, Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex or "OCR-Adjusted." This last search option checks for characters in words that have a similar printed shape as the search term and, therefore, are the most likely to be mistaken for one another by the OCR process. The search results produced are the page numbers on which the name appears. The directories are online either at the Library of Congress, Digital Library of Wielkopolska or Digital Library of Zielona Gora. Links are provided to the directories.
Searchable directories at the site include:
1885 Posen (City) Address and Business Directory
1921/1922 Poland Joint Stock Company Directory
1923 Poland and Danzig Commercial Directory
1925 Western Poland Business Directory (Great Poland, Pomerania, Silesia, Danzig)
1928, 1929, 1930 Poland and Danzig Business Directory (Trade, Industry, Handicraft, and Agriculture)
1936/1937 Poznan Business Directory
1937 Poland Business, School, and Organizational Directory (Selected Cities)
1938/1939 Warsaw Telephone Directory
1946 Poznan Business Directory
1901 Galicia Industry Directory
1912 Galicia Telephone Directory
1924/1925 Romania Business and Organizational Directory, Vol. II (rest of Romania)
1925 Romania Business and Organizational Directory, Vol. I (Bucharest)
French Memorial List
There is a web site that provides individual memorials for about 35,000 Holocaust victims and some survivors located at http://www.torati.com/memorial/. The names were submitted by individuals; they are not from some organized list. The site, which is in French, also has provisions for adding names to the list. Key in a surname in the "Mots clés" box and click the "Valider" button. Individual memorials are then displayed in which the surname exists either for the person memorialized or the submitter. There is limited information about the memorialized person. The principal genealogical value of the site may be the name of the submitter.
Wanted by Stephen P. Morse: A Few Good Volunteers
Stephen P. Morse is looking for volunteers to help develop a 1940 U.S. Census Enumeration District Finder. The 1940 census is unindexed and organized by enumeration district. Consequently, when it is made available in 2012, it will not be possible to find a household without knowing the street address and the enumeration district of the address.
Morse has developed systems that convert street addresses to enumeration districts for the 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses. While all three censuses have been indexed by Ancestry.com, Morse's ED finder system is valuable where the name cannot be found using the Ancestry.com index but the street address is known.
Morse plans to develop ED finders for about 200 cities. Persons interested in volunteering should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Book: Jews of Kopcheve
Avotaynu has published yet another town history written by a genealogist. Jews of Kopcheve, by Dorothy Leivers documents the history of the Jews of Kapciemiestis, Lithuania, known in Yiddish as Kopcheve. Leivers notes in the Introduction to the book that she was motivated to publish the work so that those Jews from the town who were murdered in the Holocaust could be identified and remembered. The historical portion of the book documents the presence of Jews from the earliest days until the Holocaust. There are numerous family trees as well as tables and maps that support the history of the town. An index includes the surnames identified in the book.
Ordering information can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/kopcheve.htm. The site includes the Table of Contents. All books published by Avotaynu can be viewed at http://www.avotaynu.com/allbooks.htm
Monaco To Study Its Role in the Holocaust
The Principality of Monaco has appointed a commission to study its role in the Holocaust with the intent of identifying and indemnifying victims (or their heirs) whose personal property or goods were expropriated by the Principality during World War II.
This plan was brought to my attention by Evelyne Haendel, the woman who was the subject of my article in the Winter issue of AVOTAYNU: "Evelyne Reclaims Her Identity." Evelyne has determined that her father, Moses Haendel, was deported from Belgium to St. Cyprien, France, on May 10, 1940, the day Germany invaded Belgium. He was subsequently released, and he fled to Monaco. He left (was deported from) Monaco and next appears in nearby Nice, France, where he was arrested, sent to the Drancy internment camp outside of Paris, and then sent to Auschwitz where he died.
Additional information about the commission can be found at http://www.gouv.mc/304/wwwnew.nsf/1909$/132705992b1cff08c125717600266f48gb?OpenDocument&1Gb
Help Grow the Shoah Victims' Names Database
[This matter is of such great importance, I have reprinted it from the December 12, 2004, edition of Nu? What's New?]
The six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust were more than a mere statistic. They were individuals and the Yad Vashem Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names demonstrates that fact. Each Page of Testimony represents one life. It ties the victim to a family: a spouse, a father, a mother and sometimes children. It links the person to the living remnant of the family through the submitter of the Page of Testimony, invariably a relative.
It is time for the genealogical community to add to the database all the missing names that appear on our family trees. Over the years, I have submitted 82 Pages of Testimony, but there are now nearly 300 Holocaust victims on my family tree. A check of the Shoah Victims' Names Database demonstrated that very few of the persons I have not submitted have Pages of Testimony. I have a data entry task to do over the next few months. We all do.
To submit a Page of Testimony, there is a link on the left portion of the screen from the Basic Search page. The exact web page is http://www.yadvashem.org/lwp/workplace/!ut/p/.cmd/cs/.ce/7_0_A/.s/7_0_J5/_s.7_0_A/7_0_J5. Submit them through this web site rather than through the paper form. There is already a backlog of thousands of written Pages of Testimony that must be keyed into the database by the Yad Vashem staff. Performing the data entry yourself will speed up the process.
One of the more emotional aspects of the Shoah database is the pictures of people on the Basic Search page and the underlying story behind the pictures that can be read by clicking on the image. It puts a face behind the Page of Testimony. To a certain extent, the 2 million Pages of testimony are just 2 million pieces of paper. Adding pictures to the documents of the members of your family humanizes them.
To submit pictures, bring up the initial web page for an individual and click the link that says "Attach Image or Documentation." It must be done through this process because the submission screen includes the victim's record number; therefore, the image can be automatically linked to the Page of Testimony.
If you have yet to use the Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names it is linked to from Yad Vashem's home page at http://www.yadvashem.org. Click on the image of the little girl.
We Are Now Shipping Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel
People who ordered Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel will receive their copies shortly. The book describes the wealth of resources for Sephardic and Oriental Jewish history and genealogy in Israel. It encompasses important archival collections such as the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People; Central Zionist Archives; Jewish National and University Library - Department of Manuscripts and Archives; Jewish National and University Library - Institute of Hebrew Microfilmed Manuscripts; Ben Zvi Institute Library; Yad Vashem Library; and countless other repositories maintained by research institutes and museums and managed by various immigrant and other ethnic associations in Israel. There are more than 40 countries represented. The 29 appendices contain name lists, the majority of which were found in the archival material.
Ordering information, a Table of Contents and a list of the more than 2,000 surnames that appear in the name lists of the book can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/taggerkerem.htm.
We Are Now Shipping History of the Jews of Schneidemühl
Person who ordered History of the Jews of Schneidemühl should receive their copies shortly. The book is a history/yizkor book of this town (now Piła, Poland). The author, Peter Cullman, spent fifteen years compiling a history of the town. The book begins by describing the slow growth of this tiny Polish town and the arrival of Jews in the 16th century. The reader is provided a detailed account of the changing nature of this community against a background of the major European historical events to the Holocaust.
As a result of his painstaking research, the author was able to trace the fate of most members of the Jewish community as it existed in the 1930s, many of whom would emigrate in time and others who ultimately perished in the Holocaust. Today, nothing remains of Jewish Schneidemühl, but the book brings to life what once was a small, but vibrant and notable Jewish community.
The book is 408 pages, hardcover and costs $46.00 plus shipping. Ordering information plus the complete Table of Contents can be found at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/cullman.htm.
On A Personal Note
My branch of the Mokotow name was extended one more generation this past week with the birth of a grandson, Jackson Paul Mokotoff, son of Gregory and Heather Paul Mokotoff. The surname Mokotow/Mokotoff/Mokotov is rare. Less than 50 households in the world bear the name. We are all descendants of my great-great-great-grandfather and his two wives (consecutively, not concurrently). The rarity of the name today was caused by the Holocaust and the fact that Mokotoff men seem to create many more females than males. In my family, there are seven female births between myself and my son. Additional information about J.P. Mokotoff can be found at http://www.mokotoff.net/babymokotoff
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