South Africa SIG #SouthAfrica Re: Looking for contributions to the SA-SIG Newsletter! #southafrica

David Lewin

Hello Roy - you ask for contributions.... Could the following be made to fit?

I have been a genealogist for 25 years and much enjoyed the freely
given contributions of strangers who donated to the web the results
of their researches.
A chance meeting with a nonagenarian a couple of years ago led me to
a South African publication of a journal published in Johannesburg by
the refugees >from Nazi Germany. She had published there the story of
her escape and one page of her copy had been lost over the years.....

To cut a long story short, H.O. SIMON published >from 1939 - 1948 the
journal he named "Union - Blaetter der Emigration". It is very
similar in aim and content to "Aufbau" which was published in the USA
and England. "Aufbau" has been digitized and is freely available to
researchers on the web. I tried to achieve the same for "Union".

I learned that microfilm versions are available mainly in German
archives though copies also exist at the Leo-Baeck Institute in New
York and at the US Holocaust Memorial in Washington and
elsewhere. None of them were prepared to go to the effort and
expense of having this microfilmed publication digitized and made
available to researchers and genealogists.

After a considerable battle with the London Borough of Barnet (
Where "Libraries are a dirty word" ) I eventually managed to get a
loan of the microfilm >from a library in Germany and had the British
Library in London transfer it to a DVD disc. I felt elated - I
was finally able to solve the problem - or so I thought!

What I did not count on was the fact that the original filming >from
which the microfilm was created - was flawed or only slovenly
done. My Optical Character Recognition simply cannot cope with a
sizable proportion of the over and under exposed, slipped, out of
focus, images. Correction of the digitized output often means a
re-typing of large proportions of the text. I am too old and will
never be able to complete this even on a full-time basis

As a result, I halted this work mid-way and began to search for a
paper version of "Union."

The initial response >from the Reference Librarian, Information Access
Services, Reference and Official Publications at the National
Library of South Africa was "Unfortunately we do not have what you
are looking for in our records". When I subsequently asked where
else I might look she responded "We have copies >from Jan 1945-Sept 1948 only."

That is far better than nothing at all, though only a small part of the total.

Next began an exchange with her concerning Copyright. Here too I had
done extensive research. Hans Oscar SIMON was unmarried and died in
1961 without children. His nearest relatives were more than
cooperative on the subject. I am certain that there is NO residual copyright.

What I am now hoping for is for volunteers who would go to the
library and carefully photograph the available issues.

Let me add that I personally have no particular interest in the
content of the journal. My wife, an ex Johannesburg lady left there
in the 1960's because of Apartheid. We are fully aware of the South
African era of this ex-German family. I am driven by the fact that
"Union" exists, that it is of equal importance to "Aufbau" and that
it ought to be on the web.

As it says in the Ethics of the Fathers "It is not your duty to
complete the work; neither are you free to desist >from it -
but equally you are not entitled to simply drop it"

Will someone help to make this a reality?

David Lewin

At 00:56 13/08/2017, Roy Ogus r_ogus@... wrote:
Just a reminder that the Southern African Special Interest Group (SA-SIG)
Newsletter is a high-quality journal which contains articles of interest to
researchers whose families have connections to the Southern African area.
Articles cover a wide variety of topics such as:

- Jewish communities in SA
- Jewish personalities and families in SA
- Rabbis and congregations in SA
- South Africa-Israel connections
- Stories of SA expatriates in other parts of the world
- Detailed research topics
- Book and periodical reviews of interest

and many other topics.

Previous issues of the Newsletter, as well as information about the SA-SIG
Newsletter in general, can be found at the the following link:

I'm always on the lookout for original article contributions for the
as well as for references to previously-published articles that may be of
interest to the SA-SIG Newsletter readers. Please feel free to contact me
directly if you have any articles that you wish to contribute to a
future issue
of the Newsletter.

Many thanks!

Roy Ogus

Editor, SA-SIG Newsletter, and Vice President, SA-SIG
Palo Alto, California
r_ogus at

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