Re: Hamburg Archives Weeds Medical Certificates of Death 1876-1953 #germany

Corinna Woehrl (nee Goslar)

Dear Gersig-Readers,

as a Hamburg-based researcher and member of two local genealogical
societies, researcher friends had many (and I just a few) of these
destroyed documents in hand. I feel I have to reply to the "official
version" of the Hamburg State Archives and clarify some points >from the
user point-of-view.

1. the documents were enlisted in the official inventory - for the user
it was not evident that these assets hadn't really been classified for
long-term archiving
2. the documents were easily accessible because you only needed the
specific register office, year, volume and number of the death register
to order them
3. the documents were complete >from beginning of the introduction of
civil records in Hamburg
4. the documents we had in hand were undamaged and in a good condition
5. the documents were the only continuous source for finding out the
cause of death
6. the users of the Archives were not informed about the planned
casssation beforehand

I assume that the decision makers didn't realise the historic value of
these documents, not only for the "Third Reich"-Period in Hamburg but
for finding out medical conditions and other research. Only insight in a
medical certificate of death revealed a suicidal death and the death as
a result of tuberculosis - both information that also uncovers facts
about the life of the deceased!

Further research for the death causes in Hamburg is very complex and
unfortunately the fewest death causes will be clarified >from now on.

Several attempts of alerting the local press weren't fruitful - the
media haven't really covered the problematic decision of the Hamburg
State Archives, except for one short coverage in the local
Saturday-night tv-news.

Corinna Woehrl (nee Goslar) Hoisdorf, Germany goslar@...

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