Message from Yad Vashem #galicia

Joyce Field

I have been asked by Nadia Kahan of Yad Vashem to post the following message:

Joyce Field

I would like to avail myself of the opportunity to tell you and your
readers what has happened here in the three weeks since the launch,
and what they can expect >from Yad Vashem.

First of all I would like to thank all of you for the overwhelmingly
positive responses that we have received >from the more than 2.75
million visitors to the site.

For those of you who sent us comments or corrections through the
site: We are currently working our way through the backlog of
approximately 12,000 such queries. We appreciate your patience. I
am providing details and suggestions regarding some of the most
common categories of responses.

For those of you who have received responses which seem
unsatisfactory, feel free to contact us again. We are trying hard to
find a balance between the efficiency of standard answers, and the
need to examine each case individually. Many of our policies are
still being clarified and modified based on actual responses, and we
can only do this through your feedback. Also, as our staff becomes
more experienced we hope that fewer errors in judgment will occur.

If you have not managed to access the site we suggest trying again.
Many of the initial technical problems have been solved. We suggest
trying again. Appendix 1 includes a few suggestions for those still
experiencing technical difficulties.

Appendix 2 includes a few guidelines regarding corrections. These
are designed to help you in your submissions, and in your evaluation
of our responses.

After corrections, the most frequently asked questions are about
locating submitters. Unfortunately we rarely have information beyond
what can be found on the Pages of Testimony. Appendix 3 includes
guidelines which you may find helpful.

The other type of comment which we are pleased to receive, is that an
individual who appears in the database survived. See Appendix 4 for
various possibilities.

If you discover overlapping records pertaining to the same individual
such as two different Pages of Testimony, or the person's name in a
list and on a Page of Testimony, we will make a note of it so that we
can link the records at some point in the future.

When dealing with Pages of Testimony this is rare, but in the case of
material derived >from archival lists, this is to be expected. While
all the archival lists in the database include mostly people who
perished, in some cases they include people we know survived, and in
this case the fact that they survived is noted in the database. In
cases of individuals >from lists where we do not know their fate (even
though we know that statistically, most of those in the list
perished), the people in the list are not marked as people who were
murdered in the Holocaust . (See, for instance, the records >from the
census of the Lodz ghetto.) Not all individuals who were deported--
from Drancy, for example--were subsequently murdered. If someone is
not marked as a survivor and you know that they in fact survived, we
want to know about it these cases, so we can, in fact, note this in
the database. We can note that the individual is a survivor, but will
ask for documentation, such as a copy of an identity card or
passport, to verify it.

The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names is a work in progress,
and the product of cooperation between the public and Yad Vashem. We
continue to welcome your corrections, comments, photographs, and new
Pages of Testimony, even if there may be a delay in our replies.

With best wishes for a Happy Hanukah,

Nadia Kahan
Director of Reference and Information Services
Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

Appendix 1 - Technical Suggestions

At times, the database has been hard to access because it was
overloaded. This is no longer happening. If you have tried getting
into the database a few times at different hours and failed, we
suggest you check the following points:

-Do you have a version of Explorer above 5.5?

-If you have a firewall, at times turning it off will allow access to
the database.

-If you have protection against pop-up ads, canceling this protection
will allow access to the database.

-It is not always possible to access the database with Apple computers

Appendix 2 - Corrections

Yes we want them!

Submit corrections through the "correct our deciphering form" >from
the individual Page of Testimony, on the "more details" page". It
saves time and confusion in identifying the Page in question.

If the Page of Testimony is correct, and we agree that the
information was keyed in improperly, we will correct it. If we
disagree, we will tell you that we disagree.

Note that it will be several months before these corrections appear
in the online database, which is only updated periodically.

If the mistake is on the Page of Testimony and not in our
transcription, we cannot alter the Page of Testimony which is in and
of itself a piece of archival documentation. We suggest submitting a
new Page of Testimony.

In the case of a minor mistake on a Page of Testimony, which you
yourself submitted, we will alter it as per your specific

Appendix 3 - Finding Submitters

Yad Vashem's goal and mandate in collecting Pages of Testimony and
developing the Central Database was to commemorate the victims of the
Shoah. Reconnecting family members is a secondary function.
Unfortunately, we rarely have information on whether the submitter of
a Page of Testimony is still alive, nor on how to contact them today.

To locate a person's current address in Israel:

1. Look for them in the online Israel phone book The site is in Hebrew. Stephen Morse at has created a utility which
allows non-Hebrew speakers to use the Bezeq site.

2. Call or write the Israeli Ministry of Interior. 972-2-6294666. Generally, the information they
can give is the person's current address, or whether the person is
deceased. The more you know about the person, the more likely they
are to be able to supply you with information. This service is
limited to one request per day.

3. Use the various services on the JewishGen website Note that there are many different services on
this website, some of which require registration.

4. Use the service being developed by the Israel Genealogical
Society [IGS]. By sending full information to: "Rose Feldman" who will post it to In
"Projects" on the side bar, there is a category called "Searching for
Submitters of Pages of Testimony in Israel".

5. If you know Hebrew, send a letter to the family roots
(Shorashim Mishpachtiyim) forum on the Tapuz website

For survivors outside of Israel there are local and online phone
books, as well as various Internet services such as Yahoo's People

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum maintains a registry of
Holocaust survivors.,
which includes survivors primarily, but not exclusively, >from North

The Yad Vashem Archives and Library include extensive offline,
information about survivors, but few of the records go beyond the
year 1954. As such, the submitter's information on the Pages of
Testimony, is usually more recent than what we are likely to find for
you at Yad Vashem. However, you are welcome to contact us. There is
a fee for the research and it may take us up to two months to
respond. You are also welcome to come to the reading room, where our
staff can help you to research the matter yourself.

We hope that you will find this information helpful, and that you
will succeed in contacting your family members.

Appendix 4 Individuals who survived who appear in the database.

When dealing with Pages of Testimony this is rare. Verify that the
details, such as parents' names, spouse's name, and approximate dates
of birth match before contacting us.

In the case of material derived >from archival lists this is to be expected.

All the archival lists in the database include mostly individuals who
perished, but in some cases they include people we know survived, and
in this case the fact that they survived is noted in the database.

If someone is not marked as a survivor and you know that they were,
please tell us so that it can be noted in the database. In order to
maintain the integrity of the database, we require documentation,
such as a copy of an identity card or passport, to verify that the
individual indeed survived.

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