JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen (US) FOIA The Dead #general

Jan Meisels Allen

"FOIA the Dead"-a new website to me-creator Parker Higgins was interviewed
on National Public Radio on April 1, according to Jeremy Frankel, president,
San Francisco Bay Area JGS. Evidently, Mr. Higgins has set up an automatic
online FOIA request for notable people who have a New York Times obituary
since November 2015-not the paid obits. When Mr. Higgins receives the
information he posts it in full online. See

Mr. Higgins apparently worked at the Electronic Frontier Foundation as a
copyright activist. To read a transcript of the NPR interview see:

Evidently a person's FBI file becomes available to the public at the moment
they die. Mr. Higgins has submitted 1300 requests so far of which one-third
have been processed. He received 29 FBI back files and for an equal number
he was told to contact the National Archives as the files were moved there.

An example of one of the persons was Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor who
served as a translator in the Nuremberg trials before she emigrated to the
United States where she worked as an activist for various causes over a span
of more than five decades. Her FBI file covers those five decades, and the
overwhelming majority concerns housing discrimination cases she helped
prepare in the 1970s.

Thank you to Jeremy Frankel for informing us about this interesting website.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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