German Police Identification Cards at YIVO in New York #general


Jerome Seligsohn <jselig1315@...>
 

A finding aid for circa 5,000 Kennkarten (German Police
Identification Cards) in YIVO's RG222 collection is now available
at the Center for Jewish History/YIVO. The index, arranged
alphabetically, can be viewed in the 3rd floor Reading Room, at
15 West 16th Street, NYC. In the Winter 2009 edition of YIVO News,
it was announced that grants >from the Conference of Material Claims
Against Germany and the Fondation Pour la Menoire de la Shoah in
Paris, were made to microfilm and digitize these identification
cards. Microfilming was recently completed.

The cards provide biographical information on 4,689 Jewish persons
who lived in Germany 1939-1941. The cards, on had stock paper,
include a photo of the individual if he or she was over the age of
10. They appear to be the master copy of the Kennkarte required
to be carried by every resident of Germany. Only a small fraction
found its way into this collection. Five locations account for
58.4% of the collection: Mainz (Stadt & Land: 1,125 individuals),
Frankfurt A.M. (502 individuals), Geissen (431 individuals),
Darmstadt (Stadt & Land: 426 individuals), and Worms (255
individuals).

These handwritten cards, in Suetterlin script, are 8" x 5 3/4."
A large "J" (for" "Jewish") is printed in gold color at the center.
At the top of the card is the name of the town of residence and
an identification number. Data elements include name (surname,
first name, maiden name). The middle names "Sara" for a woman,
and "Israel" for a man, are included on every card. Also included
are date & place of birth, occupation, physical marks (scars,
missing limbs, blindness, etc) and signature. The German
authorities added notes in the margins or on the back of the card,
if the person (1) was physically or mentaly unable to sign; (2) if
the person had died; and (3) if the person moved to another locality
in Germany or had emigrated. In a handful of cases, a page was
attached to the I.D. card with more information.

Jerry Seligsohn
Volunteer Archivist

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