East German Sources of Genealogical Information #germany


The six volume Quellen zur Geschichte der Juden in den Archiven der neuen
Bundeslaender, which were published in the 1990s, was an attempt to provide
a guide to information in East Germany on German Jews, which had previously
been largely unavailable. In fact, it provides a rich and, unfortunately,
often ignored coverage of dozens of collections of interest to genealogists.
There is not enough space here to describe fully all that these reference
guides offer, but the following is a brief synopsis:

State (Land) by state and locality by locality the volumes list all
library/archival holdings which relate to Jews, beginning in the late 18th
century and extending up to the immediate post-WWII years. A few random

List of Jews in Crossen in 1812,
Potsdam marriage, adoption and inheritance documents 1765
Trip of a Jewish bank to St. Helena in 1815 (visit to Napoleon?)
List of Jews in Jena 1892-1935
Commercial disputes in Königsberg 1777
Nazi seizure of property in Plauen.

In addition to describing holdings of local libraries archives, there are
also descriptions of the holdings of the Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer
Kulturbesitz and the Stiftung Neue Synagoge. To my astonishment one of
these institutions even had a copy of the family tree prepared by my father
in 1935, presumably deposited by him, and this is only one of a large number
of family trees identified in various collections.

Most important, each volume of the collection ends with an Ortsregister
(names of towns), where documents are held or referred to and a
Personenregister (names of individuals who were the subject of a
document/collection). I should stress that this does not mean that every
name which appears on a list is registered in the Personenregister, but
rather only where a collection e.g. a family tree, relates to a single
family or individual. Moreover, of course, to obtain a documents referred
to, one would have to turn to the institution where it is held.

I would like to suggest that interested GerSig members digitize at least
the Personenregister (and later the Ortsregister) and make this available on
the web. Researchers would still have to turn to the books themselves,
available at Leo Baeck, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and,
presumably other major libraries, to obtain the specifics of the citation
and location. Perhaps this could be discussed at the August IAJGS meeting
in Philadelphia.

Peter Lande Washington, D.C. pdlande@starpower.net

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