Jan Meisels Allen
Dear Jewish Genealogist:
I will be talking in Europe in June on access to Holocaust and
Holocaust era records. I am asking you for your assistance on
problems you may have incurred when trying to access these
Holocaust records. Not all records are birth, marriage, death or
census records. These records could be institutional records,
passport, transit visas, concentration camp records, property
records, art works and other similar documents. With respect to
access to archives, either in person or by written communication,
had you encountered problems or obstacles with respect to the
availability of the records. I do not mean if the records are not on
the Internet and therefore, they are not accessible >from the
comfort on our homes.
The scope of this covers not only vital records >from 1860-1948 --
the time frame people in the Holocaust may have been alive to just
after the Holocaust and includes displaced persons camp records.
We need to know who was there in order to know who is no longer
there- which is why I am also asking about records that would tell
us who was alive at the time -- i.e. starting in the 1860s -- the
outside date of someone still alive in 1939-1945. If you know the
person died before the Holocaust please do not reply that you can't
get their records -- this if for people alive at the beginning of the
Holocaust. I am looking for information on access problems --
whether a government agency or private archive ignored your
request, refused access to the records, the records were not
researchable when at the archives, the cost of obtaining the records
was prohibitive, in other words obstacles you may have encountered
from a government archive or private archive for archival documentsthat cover the Holocaust or Holocaust era type governments.
I would appreciate if you would get back to me back with the
following: name of country, archive and the type of access problem
you incurred. We recognize that some countries have specific time
embargoes before records may be accessible -- and that is an
access impediment that can be submitted. I would appreciate your
objective comments and not "complaints" as we need to know where
and what the problems are before we can try to get changes.
On the other hand, if you had a positive experience I would also like
to hear about that as positive examples to show others is helpful.
I would appreciate hearing >from you before April 30.
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee