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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 13, Number 22 | May 27, 2012
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
Back issues of AVOTAYNU Now Available on Internet by Subscription
Good news Mac users! You have complained for many years about back issues of AVOTAYNU being available on CD-ROM only in a Windows environment. We have solved the problem by placing back issues on the Internet as a subscription service.

All back issues from 1985–2011—105 issues, 27 years, more than 7,000 pages—are now available by subscription for only $35.00 per year. Windows/Mac/Linux/Etc: If you can access the Internet, you can subscribe to this service.

To gain an understanding of the vast scope of articles that have appeared in AVOTAYNU in the past 27 years—more than 1,000—an index to articles that have appeared in the first 24 years, 1985–2008 can be found at

The system uses the powerful Google search engine to search the back issues. Clicking on a result of a Google search brings up a PDF file that contains the search request. The actual entry is found by using the browser’s search function. The relevant article can then be read and/or printed.

Persons who previously bought AVOTAYNU back issues on CDROM will find significant improvements in the Internet version. The new version presents a scanned image of the actual page from the issue with all pictures, illustrations and advertisements.

The website now has all back issues through Winter 2011. Future editions of AVOTAYNU will be posted about two years after publication (so as not to compete with the printed edition).

Subscribe to the service now at Within 48 hours of subscribing you will receive an e-mail with a unique registration number and instructions how to register and use the system.

Important: How It Works
As was true of the previous CD-ROM versions of back issues of AVOTAYNU, a subscription is tied to a single computer location. While the CD-ROM version literally tied the application to a specific computer, the Internet version ties the application to a specific IP address. If you have a network at home or in the office, any computer in the network can use the service. If the network (or a single computer) has wireless capability, any computer within range of the computer can use the service.

Yad Vashem Creates “Transports to Extinction: Shoah Deportation Database”
Yad Vashem has created a new database called “Transports to Extinction: Shoah Deportation Database” which maps the deportations of Jews to concentration and extermination camps and killing sites in Europe. Yad Vashem notes that while in the past, historians have seen the deportations simply as a necessary logistical step on the way to the “Final Solution,” the research undertaken in the “Transports to Extinction” project indicates that the deportations were not simply an intermediary stage between transit camps and ghettos and finally extermination camps, but had an overall plan, unique in its design, its implementation and its historical significance.

Thus far, the project has mapped some 400 transports from Vienna to various destinations, among them, Minsk, Riga, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, and from Berlin, Cologne, Breslau, and several Czech cities, including Prague, Brno and Plzen to Terezin. Using all the resources available, Yad Vashem researchers have reconstructed the transport's route, including information on the persons involved in organizing the transport, the socio-economic characteristics of the Jewish deportees, and recollection of survivors to build a complete picture of these transports. The findings are available, in English, German and Hebrew at

In association with the project, Yad Vashem has announced an agreement with the National Society of French Railways (SNCF) to increase research into the scope of deportations of Jews from France during the Holocaust. The SNCF's contribution will support research into the French section of the “Transports to Extinction: Shoah Deportation Database.” This portion of the database will be available in French.

SNCF's contribution will assist researchers in more fully documenting the some 80 transports of Jews from France. Approximately 76,000 French Jews were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The research will build on the work done by Serge and Beate Klarsfeld. Their book, Memorial of the Deportation of Jews from France, identifies the Jews by name on the 80 transports from France. A detailed analysis of records of the SNCF during the Holocaust, of which Yad Vashem has received a copy, will be conducted in order to explore the processes involved. Survivors' testimonies, private documents and photographs will shed light on the deportees’ experience. The research will also map transports within France, from small towns and villages to Drancy.

1940 Census for 14 States Now Searchable at FamilySearch
The 1940 census for 14 states are now searchable at They are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, New Hampshire, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. FamilySearch states the total project is about 45% complete.

Other FamilySearch projects. While much focus is on the 1940 census, additional indexes have been added to the Brazil Immigration cards 1900–1965 project. Also additional indexes have been added to the Canada, Ontario—Marriages, 1869–1927 project.

Follow-up on German Address Books Online
The January 8, 2012, edition of Nu? What’s New? noted a large number of German address books online at It appears a superior site by the same group is located at If nothing else, the latter site is in English; the former is in German. Because many of the books are pre-World War I, the area covered is the German Empire including towns that today are in Poland. Example: Breslau which today is Wroclaw, Poland. The site contains more than 3 million entries from 373 address books for 6,872 towns and cities.

Belarus SIG Plans Newsletter
The Belarus Special Interest Group of JewishGen plans to publish a quarterly newsletter in PDF format. The first edition should appear about June 18. If you have any family history, links, questions or stories from Belarus that you would like to share, send it to If you wish to receive the newsletter, subscribe to the Belarus Discussion Group from the link at

Finding Living People in the U.S.
This week I was able to help a New Zealand woman locate a Holocaust survivor family living in the United States. The project came at an appropriate time, because I would not have been able to find the family but for the 1940 census. I also would not have been able to find the family but for the online Social Security Death Index to which the U.S. Congress wants to ban public access. Finally, the announcement of back issues of AVOTAYNU available on the Internet reminded me that in the Spring 2010 issue of AVOTAYNU, I wrote a three-page article titled “Locating Living Americans: Selected Resources.” It is available as part of the back-issue collection.

Shame On You, Salt Lake Tribune
The Salt Lake Tribune ran an editorial opinion article last Wednesday that was downright racist. The gist of the article was that Jews should vote for Romney because he is Mormon and Mormons love the Jews. They should not vote for Obama because Obama is black and blacks hate the Jews. The article was written by 26-year-old Stephen Richer, described by the Tribune as a “SLC Jewish advocate” and a director at a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. 

I sent a Letter to the Editor to the Tribune which they never ran. It said:

"I have never read a more un-American editorial piece than Stephen Richer’s “Romney, Obama and the Jews.” The gist of the editorial is that Jews should vote for Romney because he is Mormon and the Mormons love the Jews, and should not vote for Obama because he is black and the blacks hate the Jews. Its conclusion is that one should vote for a candidate based on his religious affiliation and/or skin color. This Jew plans to vote for Romney or Obama based on which person can do the most for America using the political philosophy that comes closest to mine."

You can read the Richer article at

A columnist with the Jewish Telegraph Agency picked up on the article and wrote a column that essentially agreed with my viewpoint. It is at

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Submit Pages of Testimony (online).”

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
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