JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Prussia in Poland #general

Martin Davis <dawidowicz@...>

Sy Pearlman wrote: Prussia occupied western Poland for more than a hundred years.
Did the Prussians make a set of vital records for themselves, in German? Or did
they just deal with the records in Polish? Or are there vital records of residents
of Poland in some archive in Germany.

The Republic of Poland is a country with provinces which, in their history, have
been administered by civil/military authorities who used German as the official
language. Examples are the German/Prussian provinces of Pomerania (now Zachodnio-
Pomorskie and Pomorskie) and Silesia (now Dolnoslaskie) which are today part of
western Poland.

The complicated history of Poland does not make it easy to give a straight answer
to Sy's pertinent questions (1. were vital records written in German and 2. could
there still be vital records related to Polish citizens still in Germany?). Simply
speaking, central Poland, western Poland and southern Poland were all at sometime
in their history (>from the first partition of Poland in 1772 administered by
record keepers who used German as their language of administration so - depending
on when that occurred - the records are in the German language and, in later
records, on German language printed forms. Many of these records are held by the
Polish State Archive and it would be worthwhile visiting their site at for more
detailed information.

As to whether there are records still held in Germany, it is difficult to say. The
short answer is that during the past 60 years vital records which seem to have been
in Germany at some point have been sent to the Polish State Archive. As an example,
the Pinkas of Dzialoszyn (Jewish Council accounts book of a town at sometime in
Southern Prussia), was handed over by the Soviet Authorities - along with a larger
amount of archival documents - in the late 1950's. The Pinkas has a German archive
stamp on it and the assumption is that the Soviet army had taken the archive as
part of war spoils on their invasion of Germany in the World War 2. Could there be
more either in Russia or Germany?

In any event, a useful starting point for a Jewish genealogical perspective on all
matters related to 'Vital Records in Poland' is Warren Blatt's article at .

Martin Davis
London (UK)

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