Gersigers at the Washington Conference #germany
The following brief summary of Washington sources of information of special
interest to GerSigers might be useful to those planning to come to
Washington. All are available on computers at the Holocaust Museum.
1939 Census *** The census has long been available through LDS Family History
Centers as long as one knew where a person resided in 1939. The digitized
version permits you to search by any field, e.g. family including maiden
name, given name or even date of birth, without knowing where a person
resided. Moreover, while there are geographic gaps in the census, e.g.
Thuringia, many of the gaps are filled by books which provide even more
information that does the census.
Residentenliste *** Some years ago the Bundesarchiv decided to put together a
single database identifying the estimated 600,000 who resided in Germany in
1933, i.e the year Hitler came to power. The format of this digitized list
is unusual in that it is more of a bibliography than a "what happened to X"
list. In each case the person listed is identified by name and date and
place of birth (where available) with a notation of the sources of
information which apply to that individual.
Name Search and Survivors Registry *** Since its opening Museum staff and
volunteers, often working with JewishGen, have been compiling a database of
Holocaust victims and survivors drawing on documentary, i.e.
non-testimonial, sources held in the Museum archives and library. This
database, called Name Search, has grown to over 6 million names, though far
less than that number of individuals since many persons' names appear in
more than one source and they are never merged. In addition, the Museum
maintains the Survivors Registry, a listing of survivors and their families,
which is testimonial.
Books *** It sometimes seems that there has been a Holocaust victims book
written about every city, town and village in Germany, ranging >from Berlin
to Muenster to Hemer. (I bet that few of you have ever heard of the last of
these, but, believe it or not, there is a Hemer book). In addition, for
those of you who are interested in localities in the former DDR or what was
once Germany but is now Poland or Russia, I strongly recommend Quellen zur
Geschichte der Juden in den Archiven der Neuen Bundeslaender and Quellen zur
Geschichte der Juden in Polnischen Archiven. Both these series contain
Personen and Orts Registers which identify all sources of information held
in archives in these localities. The material itself is not included but
you now know what is held and where. For example I found to my surprise
that before he left Germany my father had donated the Lande family history
to a museum in Berlin.
International Tracing Service (ITS) *** Last but certainly not least, this
huge collection has 50 million names providing information on an estimated
17 million victims and survivors, Jews and non-Jews. As is the case in Name
Search, information on each individual is not merged and there may be 5-10
"hits" per person. While most of you will concentrate on the Central Names
Index which is supposed to lead you to all information relating to an
individual, be aware that this is not true and there are many databases
which need to be explored. One particularly interesting aspect of the
collection is a listing of all inquiries received by ITS linking the person
who wrote and the victim/survivors about whom they were inquiring, thereby
linking victims and surviving family members. While you will have to wait
until you get to the Museum to access ITS material, before you come I do
recommend checking the ITS Inventar/Inventory at
http://resources.ushmm.org/itsinventory/home.php for a rough overview of the
holdings/sources of information collected by ITS. This cannot be searched by
personal names, but it can be searched by locality. For example you can
identify all the collections which focus on Cologne and, if an entire
document is of interest, you can retrieve that document at the Museum.
Peter Lande, Washington, D.C. firstname.lastname@example.org