Post-WWII Declarations of Death #austria-czech


I recently found in the newspaper Wiener Zeitung notices published in 1947
and 1948 of my cousin Paul SONDHOFF's applications for declarations of
death of his mother, Helene GOLDBERGER SONDHOFF and sister Agnes Alma
SONDHOFF respectively. According to the notices, Helene, age 48, and Agnes,
age 12, were deported >from Vienna in May 1942 to somewhere near Minsk,
and disappeared. Paul survived in hiding in Vienna throughout the war,
emigrating to the US in 1951 and died in 1993. We now have information that
Helene and Agnes were murdered upon arrival at Maly Trostinec in 1942.
Paul was Helene and Agnes' sole survivor.

My question is why Paul would have sought legal declarations of death for his
lost family members, as did many others, judging by the pages of similar
published notices. Was this done solely for inheritance purposes
(not that the then-widowed Helene or young Agnes would have had much proper
ty to leave)?

June Friedman Entman
St. Augustine, Florida

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