Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 11 | March 15, 2015
Every government puts value on preserving its history. That is why we have national archives. Genealogy preserves history; the history of a family. It cannot be done without access to records, just as historians cannot preserve a nation's history without access to records. It is a greater good than the right to privacy. It is a greater good than the risk of identity theft.

Past issues of Nu? What's New? are archived at
News from the German National Archives (Bundesarchiv)
The Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archives) has placed on its website a number of Holocaust-related items of interest to family historians.

Chronology of Deportations from Belgium, France, Netherlands. This identifies the transports that left these three countries showing date, number of people, arrival date and destination. It is at

Narrative of The Expulsion of Polish Jews from the German Reich 1938/1939 and Their Records. Between Kristallnacht and the start of World War II with the invasion of Poland by Germany, some 12–17,000 Polish Jews were forcibly deported from Germany. This narrative describes some of the turmoil affecting Jews during this time period including the consequence to Austrian Jews of the annexing of Austria by Germany and the Polish government’s reaction to the attempt to deport back to Poland, Polish Jews living in German lands. It is at

Gedenkbuch. When first published in 1986 by the Bundesarchiv, the Gedenkbuch (Memorial Book) listed approximately 128,000 German Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Presented as a two-volume work, each entry had the person's name (including maiden name for married women), place of last residence, dates of birth/death and place of death. Many Jews were forced to leave their homes prior to deportation, and consequently "place of last residence" was not necessarily where they lived, but was, instead, last location. Place of death usually was place to which they were deported and not necessarily the actual place of death. In some cases, this column shows circumstance of death, such as "suicide", rather than place of death. Maiden names were not cross referenced, so you had to know the married name of a woman to locate her entry. The list was hampered by the fact that there were two Germanys at that time—West and East—and the East German government did not cooperate in its publication.

In 2006, an updated version was published in four volumes that contained 150,000 names. With a then-unified Germany, most of the new entries came from the former East Germany.

In 2008, the Bundesarchiv placed all the information online at It now contains 170,000 individuals. There have been subsequent improvements. It can now be displayed in English. Women can be searched by maiden name. The search engine allows for wild card searches. Searching for “Moko*” produced all persons whose surname started with “Moko.” It is still necessary to use the correct spelling in German. Umlauted vowels must be present. The surname “Haendel” produced only one result. The surname Händel produced an additional 14 results. The content for each individual has been enhanced by locating additional information. A wealth of information may be included about an individual including:
   • Name: surname, first name and, if applicable, maiden name
   • Date and place of birth: in most cases the place of birth has been adapted to the territorial lines at the time of birth; additional information on the administrative district (mainly Kreis) and the state (in Prussia and Austria provinces respective crown lands) is given
   • Places of residence: up to three different municipalities - in chronological order, where possible, are listed
   • Imprisonment/Internment: Dates and locations of all prison terms that were not immediately associated with a possible deportation at a later stage, often in connection with the “Reichspogromnacht” (Kristallnacht)
   • Emigration: date of emigration stating country of destination
   • Deportation: specifying points of departure of the major deportation transports with departure date and destination as well as further camp stations, if applicable, stating date and location
   • Date of death: Date and place of death
   • Notes on individual tragedy: details on suicide and euthanasia or an official declaration of death

The ultimate objective is to compile a list of the approximately 600,000 Jewish residents who resided in Germany anytime between 1933–1945—the borders of the Reich as outlined on December, 31 1937—and who had been persecuted because of their Jewish origin or Jewish belief by the Nazi government.

Sephardic News
New York. The 18th Annual New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival started March 12 and will continue until March 19. It is being held at the Center for Jewish History at 15 West 16th Street in Manhattan. The Festival provides viewers with “an understanding of the rich mosaic culture of Jews from the Middle East and greater Sephardic Diaspora.” Additional information is at

Miami Beach. A lecture, “What and Who Are the Crypto-Jews?”, will be held Sunday, March 15, at Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach. Speakers include author
Genie Milgrom; Florida International University Professor Abraham Lavender; and
Rabbi Marc Phillippe of Temple Emanu-El. There will be an art exhibit, Ladino music, brunch and a panel discussion. Milgrom has written for AVOTAYNU about crypto-Jewish history. Additional information is at

Washington, DC. “Pesah — The Sound of Freedom” musical performance will be held at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington on Sunday, March 29. The program includes traditional music from Europe and the Middle East, as well as new compositions by the American songwriter Bobby McFerrin and from Shalshelet, the Foundation dedicated to the creation and dissemination of new Jewish liturgical music. Additional information can be found at

General Reminder: The deadline for submitting papers to the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies 25th annual conference is April 1. The meeting will be held July 19–21, 2015, in Miami, Florida. Ainsley Cohen Henriques of Jamaica will be the keynote speaker. The society’s website is at Information about the call for papers is at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 2.2 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Australia, Philippines, Slovakia, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and the U.S. states of Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio and Tennessee. Also additions to the BillionGraves Index and records of the Canal Zone,

There are a number of notable additions for Jewish family history research. View the entire list. Examples are additional images of Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books (1592-1910); and Zaporizhia, Ukraine, Revision Lists, (1811–1858)

Note that at the website announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date. Also note that counts shown in the announcement are the number added, not the total number available in the collection, which can be greater.

Are You Related to an American Soldier Killed in The Netherlands During WWII?
A posting to the JewishGen Discussion Group notes that a group of Dutch citizens has undertaken a project to pay special tribute to more than 10,000 American soldiers who are buried in the American War Cemetery in the town of Margraten, The Netherlands, by decorating their graves with personal photos of the soldiers. Also included are the names on the Walls of the Missing.

Currently, there are personal photos available for about a third of the 10,023 American soldiers buried in or memorialized at the cemetery. The foundation that sponsors the project is looking for relatives, veterans, and others who can submit a personal photo of a soldier for the remaining two thirds.

Photos can be submitted through the project's website, All submitted photos as well as other information on these soldiers already can be found in the foundation's Fields of Honor - Database. The photos will be placed next to the headstones from May 2–5 when the Netherlands observes the 70th anniversary of its liberation.

Additional information about the program can be found at

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Download Pages of Testimony Forms.”

Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video at the site to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact
Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2015, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To change an e-mail address, send a request to

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 
794 Edgewood Ave.; New Haven, CT 06515

Telephone  (U.S.) : 475-202-6575