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

Volume 8, Number109 | May 15, 2007

Special Edition

Access to Arolsen Records to Be Expedited
Representatives of the 11 countries that comprise the committee that governs the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany, met Tuesday and decided to start distributing electronic copies of the ITS records, rather than wait for the remaining four countries—Luxembourg, Greece, Italy and France—to give their formal approval. It probably will not significantly expedite public access to the records, but it does show that the mood of the committee is not to allow formalities to inhibit public access; instead time is of the essence. The records will be distributed to the member countries as soon as they are ready.

Meanwhile, the Holocaust survivor movement in the U.S. is chastising the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Movement for not making “immediate remote access” to the Arolsen records once they have them in hand. They are accusing Paul Shapiro, director of the museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, of being the villain. Ironic since Shapiro was probably the person most instrumental in getting the Arolsen records released from the clutches of ITS.

Immediate remote access is something that is not trivial. The July 27, 2003, edition of Nu? What’s New? stated that Yad Vashem was in the process of digitizing all their microfilm records including the records they have from ITS. Today, nearly three years later, there is no Internet access to these digitized records. Giving the public access to data in a manner that the average person can use the information is not trivial. Giving the public access to data on the Internet adds additional complexities.

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.

Additional information about the ITS announcement can be found at

Additional information about the criticism of the U.S. Holocaust memorial Museum can be found at

Mormon Church to Assist Repositories in Making Records Available Online
How would you like every record you needed in doing your genealogical research to be available online, in indexed databases? The record acquisition arm of the Mormon Church, the Genealogical Society of Utah, announced they would like to help make that happen.

GSU stated that “working with the records custodians, [it] can leverage its extensive microfilm and growing digital image collection to create digital images for affiliate genealogical web sites at a fraction of the cost. The affiliate genealogy organization will create indices of the digital images and then publish the images and the indices on its own web site, the archive's web site, or a jointly published site. A copy of the index will also be made available for free on the popular FamilySearch web site, which will help drive traffic to record images on the custodians' or affiliates' sites.”

How significant is this program will be discussed in a future issue of Nu? What’s New?

Additional information can be found at

Help Grow the Shoah Victims’ Names Database
Yad Vashem wants volunteers who are willing to contact local institutions and individuals to grow the Shoah Victims Database whose principal documents are Pages of Testimony. With the aid of promotional materials Yad Vashem has developed, volunteers will reach out to survivors and their families and assist them in registering the names of Jews who they know were murdered in the Shoah. This will be done through synagogues, Holocaust centers, Jewish Community Centers, Jewish student organizations, senior centers and social service agencies. To volunteer send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to with the subject heading "Names Volunteer"

To submit a Page of Testimony, there is a link on the left portion of the screen from the Basic Search page at Click the words “Submit Additional Names.”

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