It is estimated that in 1933, when Hitler came into power, there were
roughly 600,000 Jews resident in Germany. Yet only 160,000 names appear in
the Gedenkbuch, and, even taking into account survivor name lists which appear
in various books, less than half of the 1933 population is accounted for.
In the 1960s, the International Tracing Service (ITS) attempted to deal with
this "mystery". ITS wrote to all West German communities asking them to list:
a) all Jews (as defined by the Nuernberg laws) resident in the community in
b) to the extent known, what happened to them, i.e. deported, emigrated,
Several hundred replies were received, alphabetically ranging >from Aachen to
Zweibruecken, but these have never been made public. (Berlin was not included.)
While the replies vary widely in format and scope, and some merely list
those who were deported, many provide a wealth of previously unavailable
information such as family relationships, street addresses, emigration
Those of us who only knew the family town of origin may be surprised
to find that an individual moved elsewhere in Germany or emigrated to
Paraguay. Many responses came >from Kreis officials and included
information on more than one town, e.g. the Alfeld (Leine) response
includes information on Elze, Freden, Gronau, Lamspringe, Netze and
What is needed is a single searchable database which includes information
from all of the responses.Working with another volunteer, we have entered all the responses where the
community begins with the letter A but, obviously, we need help if this
massive project, community by community, is to be completed.
At this point all I ask for are (non-binding) responses indicating a
willingness to participate, i.e. enter names and other information into
Excel spread sheets.
If I get sufficient positive responses at firstname.lastname@example.org we
shall go ahead. Participants will receive community material and format
instructions. Knowledge of German would be helpful but little is needed
more than perhaps twenty words such as deportiert, verzogen, emigriert,
Tochter and Vater.
At this point, please do not ask me whether your favorite town is
included--I would be swamped --and be aware that for organizational purposes
we will proceed alphabetically. I hope that everyone's favorite towns begin
the letter B.
Peter Lande, Washington, D.C. email@example.com