Re: "Researchers" submitting Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony #holocaust #israel

Jay L Gordon

I am pretty new to the Yad Vashem names database. The problems people are reporting sound like the problems that would come with any crowdsourced clearinghouse of information. I do understand the concern that there could be a lot of bad information mixed in with the good, but short of changing the entire model of data collection, I don't think there's much that can be done. Yes, certainly some denier could latch onto the narrative that this big source of evidence is corrupted by bad data, and that somehow that undermines the integrity of the whole enterprise, but... that's a false narrative and we know that.

Also, I think the user bears some responsibility here. The testimonial sheets look like one potentially useful but also potentially problematic form of data. As a user, I take that for what it is-- I'd need corroborating materials to render that sheet meaningful. I can't speak for anyone else, but in my case, most of my family was already in the USA well before 1920, mostly between 1890 and 1905. So when I research METZENDORF in Bochnia and I find there's a Kalman Metzendorf in the database, all I can conclude is that possibly there's a connection, and that's that. I can't claim I have family I'm certain perished in the Holocaust.


Jay Gordon

Looking for the name of a righteous gentile in Vienna who died approximately 1980-1985 #austria-czech #general #holocaust


Hello, I want to help honor a righteous gentile who hid my family from the Nazis in 1939.  I met her in Vienna in about 1980 and she was close to 100 years old.  She lived at 12 Tandelmarktgasse and had been the superintendent of the building beginning probably in early 1930's.  Her last name was Stepanek but I don't know her first name.  I searched the Zentralfriedhof but looks like there are a few possibilities.  Any suggestions for finding her first name? Are there telephone directories from the 1970's that might list her name? 

George Frankel
SF  California

Researching:  Beller, Zell, Frankel, Bleich:   Vienna; Bobrka Galicia; Mikolajow Galicia,

Re: Trouble finding relatives in Ellis Island Passenger Lists #records #names

Murray Sperber

No one in the family could find my father-in-law or his brother on  A cousin claimed a fire had destroyed the files.  A visit to the National Archives in Southern California yielded an email contact for the National Archives in New York.  Knowing the name of the ship and approximate arrival date a researcher at the National Archives found my father-in-law.  Not only was the name reversed, i.e., first name listed as last, last name as first, but it was also misspelled.  We knew it was my father-in-law as the number on the Certificate of Arrival matched the number written in on the line above his name on the manifest.

JewishGen Talks: Roots of Jews from Eastern Europe #JewishGenUpdates #education

Nancy Siegel

We invite you to attend another free presentation in our series of JewishGen Talks webinars, with our speaker, Dr. Alexander Beider.


Roots of Jews from Eastern Europe:

Names, Language, and History

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

2:00 pm Eastern Time (New York)


About the Talk

According to the traditional point of view, the ancestors of all Ashkenazi Jews (including those from Eastern Europe) lived in the Middle Ages in the Rhineland, western Germany. This consideration is supported by the religious rite practiced by Ashkenazim that originated in the area in question. The provenance from Germany seems also to be confirmed by the daily use of Yiddish, a language whose German basis is on the surface. Further analysis of this language and the given names used by Jews in Eastern Europe reveals a more nuanced picture. Alongside the real migrants from the Rhineland, we find traces of Jewish ancestors who spoke Slavic languages in the Middle Ages and lived in the Czech lands as well as in the territories of modern western Ukraine and western Belarus. 

About the Speaker

Alexander Beider was born in Moscow in 1963. He studied mathematics and theoretical physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, from which he received a PhD in applied mathematics (1989). Since 1990, he has lived with his family in Paris, France. In 2000, he received his second PhD, this time in the domain of Jewish Studies, from Sorbonne. 

Dr. Beider uses onomastics and linguistics as tools to unravel the history of the Jewish people. He has written a series of reference books dealing with the etymology of Jewish surnames, all published by Avotaynu Inc. They include:
A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire (1993, 2nd revised edition in 2008), Jewish Surnames in Prague (15th-18th centuries) (1994), A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Kingdom of Poland (1996), A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia (2004), A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Maghreb, Gibraltar, and Malta (2017), and A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Italy, France and “Portuguese” Communities (2019). His Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names (2001) is the reference study in the domain of traditional Yiddish first names. Origins of Yiddish Dialects (Oxford University Press, 2015) synthesizes scholarship on the subject for the half century since the publication of Max Weinreich's “History of the Yiddish Language” (1973) and, according to certain critics, represents a comprehensive and convincing revision of its esteemed predecessor, no less than a new standard work in the domain. Dr. Beider is also the designer of the linguistic part of the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching method of computer-based searches for equivalent surnames.

Registration is free with a suggested donation.

Please click here to register now!

For more information regarding JewishGen Talks webinars, go to:

Nancy Siegel
Director of Communications
(San Francisco, California)

Re: "Researchers" submitting Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony #holocaust #israel

zionsharav <ari@...>

I am a bit puzzled by the concern expressed over incompletely researched names submitted to Yad vaShem.  Far more harm is done by the  often near-mythical lineages appearing on Geni. 
-Ari Dale,
Vered Jericho, Israel

US Supreme Court to Hear Nazi -Era Art Forced Jewish Art Sales During Nazi Era #holocaust #germany #hungary #usa

Jan Meisels Allen

A medieval bust of St. Blaise, part of the Guelph Treasure, is displayed at the Bode Museum in Berlin.
(Markus Schreiber / Associated Press)

A medieval bust of St. Blaise, part of the Guelph Treasure, is displayed at the Bode Museum in Berlin.



Heirs of several Nazi-era Jewish art dealers have tried to regain possession of art treasure, specifically the Guelph Treasure, a collection of Christian relics. During the Nazi-era under pressure by Herman Goering a consortium of Jewish art dealers agreed to sell the collection to the Prussian State Museum. On June 14, 1935, Saemy Rosenberg signed the sale documents in Berlin on behalf of his partners, receiving about one-third of what they had paid for the items in 1929.  Most of the collection known as Welfenschatz in Germany is on display at the Bode Museum in Berlin.


The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case on December 7 regarding whether Rosenberg’s grandson and other art dealers’ heirs can sue Germany and its state museum to recover the treasure or obtain compensation for the loss. This is one of two Holocaust-era cases to be heard by the Supreme Court on December 7th. The other case involves Hungary and the issue before the Court is whether a foreign state may be sued in the United States for “rights in property taken in violation of international law.”


Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 foreign governments and their agencies are shielded from litigation –however, there is an exception for an “expropriation” that violates international law, and the federal appeals court in Washington last year refused to dismiss the suits against the Hungarian national railroad and the German state museum because the alleged seizures of property were acts of genocide.


Hungary rounded up and deported over 430,000 Jews for deportation to the death camps with the state railroad taking the victims four trains daily to the death camps. Rosalie Simon and 12 other survivors of the death camps sued Hungary and its railroad in the DC Circuit Appeals Court by a 2-1 vote rejected Hungary’s claim of immunity.  This cleared the way for the suit against Germany and the Guelph Treasure.


Two co-plaintiffs had filed a claim for recovery in Germany with an advisory commission or the Return of Cultural Property Seized as a Result of Nazi Persecution. The Commission which included several retired German politicians and judges decided the 1935 sale was the result of a back-and-forth negotiation and “not a compulsory sale due to persecution” saying the reduced value of the art was due to the Great Depression.


The suit was then heard in federal court in Washington DC where the DC Circuit Court agreed and refused Germany’s claim of immunity. However the dissent by Judge Gregory Katsas, a Trump appointee, warned against opening the US Courts to resolve historic foreign disputes.


When Germany and Hungary filed appeal petitions before the Supreme Court, the Trump Administration advised the justices to hear the cases and is now urging the court to throw out the suits from both sets of plaintiffs. It is customary for government lawyers to argue in favor of sovereign immunity because the principle also protects the U.S. government from being sued in foreign courts.  The administration lawyers argue that Holocaust-era seizures of Jewish property were “domestic takings” that were off limits to US law. This Administration position is contrary to the position of the US since World War ll.


This brings to mind the case before the Supreme Court of Maria Altmann who sued to recover Gustav Klimt’s painting Adele Bloch-Bauer, “The Lady in Gold” which was litigated by E. Randol Schoenberg head of JewishGen’s Austria-Czech SIG ad Board of Directors. Randy won the case when the US Supreme court refused to dismiss the case based on Austria’s claim of severing immunity and permitted her case to go forth, but Austria’s government arbitrated instead agreed to return the painting.


The two cases to be heard are: Republic of Hungary vs. Simon and Federal Republic of Germany vs. Philipp.

To read more see:



Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


Re: Looking to find a researcher for help in tracing family in Belarus #belarus

Schelly Talalay Dardashti

I have known Yuri Dorn for 25+ years and have done several major projects with him. There is no learning curve with Yuri. He know what records are available (or not) for which places in Belarus.

Schelly Talalay Dardashti
New Mexico

Help tracking down family origins from names on certificates #names #bessarabia #records

Aline Petzold

Hello All:
 I am trying to track down where my maternal great grandmother, Gitl Grinberg Vigderovici was born.  I have the marriage certificate of one of my grandmother's sisters.  It  mentions their mother, "Gitl, born of Avram Grinberg".  I tried to look up Avram Grinberg on JewishGen and on, but there are so many Avram Grinbergs and I have no way of knowing if any  of them is Gitl's father. To complicate matters, family lore also has my great grandmother's name as "Gitl Osias", but  I have no documentation for this.  Any suggestions as to how I can find out where Gitl was born and other details, such as her mother's name etc.?
Aline Petzold
St. Paul MN

Re: Looking to find a researcher for help in tracing family in Belarus #belarus

Harry Auerbach

I am also using this group. They will do an initial search for less than $200, then tell you the probability of success from a Phase 2 search before giving you a cost. You can decide whether to go on to the second phase. I did, with an 80% probability of success on my great-grandfather's side, and only a 40% probability on my great-grandmother's side. I'm happy to take the shot, because I know nothing about this side of my family history. They did advise me the other day that research is slowed because the Archive iis closed due to COVID-19. So, I'll wait.
Harry Auerbach
Portland, Oregon

Help with the name of a town on a marriage certificate #romania #names

Aline Petzold

Hello All;
I am wondering if anyone can help me figure out the name of a town in Romania.  It is mentioned in the marriage certificate of my great uncle and his first wife, my grandmother's sister in 1903.  It looks like"Ostopeni" or "Ortopiceni", but I cannot find that town's name anywhere.  I have included a screen shot of the certificate where the town is mentioned: Thanks, Aline Petzold,St. Paul MN

Aline Petzold
St. Paul MN

Genealogy Classes offered by GHJGS in January 2021 #jgs-iajgs #announcements #education #events #records

Stefani Elkort Twyford

The Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society will be offering two hands-on web based classes taught by noted genealogist Michael Moritz. The class will feature two parts. 

Part 1 is US Research
It will be offered Sunday January 24th during 2 time slots; 10 AM to 2 PM CST and 3:30 to 7:30 PM CST. 

Part 2 is Jewish Research
It will be offered Sunday January 31st during 2 time slots; 10 AM to 2 PM CST and 3:30 to 7:30 PM CST. 

You need not participate in both sessions.

Please visit our website calendar at to learn more about each workshop with a link to register for each session. We've also listed each session under the "Events" on our Facebook page.
These will be some excellent hands-on lessons in how and where to conduct your research with sources you may not be familiar with and methods of utilizing each source.

Thanks so much

Stefani Elkort Twyford
Researching: Siegal/Segal, Spiel, Tarle, Ilkovics, Feiermann, Kronenberg, Szerman, Kletzel, Ricker/Ricken

Stefani Elkort Twyford
Researching: Siegal/Segal, Spiel, Tarle, Ilkovics, Feiermann, Kronenberg, Szerman, Kletzel, Ricker/Ricken

Katz family from Potok Zloty #poland

Milton Koch

There is a gravestone indicating that Raisa, the daughter of Shneur Katz, died in 1780 and is now buried in Potok Zloty cemetery.
Please let me know if this is your family. I will share the gravestone picture with you.
Milton Koch
Bethesda, MD, USA

Tips on Finding Missing Manifests #announcements


The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando is hosting a Zoom meeting entitled “Missing Manifests – Tips for finding those elusive passenger lists” on December 8, 2020, at 7:00 pm ET, with Risa Daitzman Heywood.

Risa Daitzman Heywood is a professional genealogist, writer and speaker specializing in Ashkenazi Jewish research. Risa earned a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She is Past-President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado and served as co-chair of JewishGen’s original Belarus Special Interest Group (SIG).


To register, send an email to jgsgo.blogger@... requesting registration for this date.

Diane M. Jacobs

President, JGSGO

Re: Documents from The State Archives of Ternopil Oblast #ukraine #translation #records

Moshe Berman


I’ve been told by the Ukrainian embassy in New York the same, that communication is Ukrainian only. If you don’t want to wait to find someone, the classic answer is to try Google Chrome / translate. 

What I do is translate and send both English and Ukrainian - Ukrainian at the top. 

Moshe Berman,
Boca Raton, FL

Re: Russian Records ("Moscow Fund"/"Fonds de Moscou") in the French Archives/KALKOPF, Cutla #france #poland #russia

Bernard Flam

Hi from Paris,
Dear Catherine,
I have started to check as I have names of our "Bundists" living in Paris before WWII and I found already some names.
So you can add "Bundists" in your list of suspicious persons.
May I add that French political police had some agents who learnt Yiddish (as others learnt Italian or Spanish , look how many "Ruiz" are in this archives) in order to be able to understand what was said during meetings.
Bernard Flam
Archives & History of Medem Center - Arbeter Ring (Bund-Workmen Circle of France)

Re: Hungarian Jewish Survivors in Hirek az Elhurcoltakrol: view the original? #hungary #holocaust

Valentin Lupu

Hi Emma,
Try this link
At the bottom of the screen you'll find the five issues. Every page in each issue is downloadable as a pdf file.
Valentin Lupu

This week's Yizkor Book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #yizkorbooks #ukraine

Bruce Drake

"Over A Glass Of Tea With Nikita Khrushchev."
How is that for an attention-grabber among titles of Yizkor book chapters? This one is from the book of Rokitno-Wolyn and Surroundings in Ukraine.
Khrushchev, of course, is remembered for many things, ranging from his "secret speech" in 1956 in which he denounced the late Josef Stalin’s “cult of personality” and brutal rule, to his uncharacteristically garrulous personality he had as a Kremlin leader (including the memorable scene of pounding his shoe on a table at the United Nations after a delegate accused the Soviet Union of trampling freedoms in Eastern Europe.
Khrushchev was certainly no angel, having, like other Russian officials under Stalin, made his way up the Communist ranks through either loyalty to him or fear of him, and enabled Stalin in his purges and other crimes. When the author of this chapter, Baruch Shehori, met him it was about a year after Khrushchev arrived in the newly liberated Kiev in 1943, wearing the uniform of a Major General.
This portrait of an amiable and sympathetic Khruschev is what it is, a memory of one encounter at a time after the yoke of the Nazis had been lifted from Ukraine. It was translated by Ala Gamulka, who has worked on many of JewishGen’s Yizkor book (she helped me finish the translation of the book of Kovel) and knew Shehori).

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

Re: "Researchers" submitting Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony #holocaust #israel



According to a webinar I attended yesterday (hosted by the Center for Jewish History), Yad Vashem's online databases contain "7.5 million records related to 4.8 million Jews murdered and to hundreds of thousands of Jews persecuted" whose final fate may not be known.  About 40% are from Pages of Testimony, while 60% are from other sources.  It is not uncommon for there to be several records from different sources for the same person.  They try to "cluster" those records; however, slight variations in the spelling of names and other details can make that a challenge, so they rely on family members to compare the records and determine whether they reference the same person.  

Ellen Morosoff Pemrick 
Saratoga County, NY


Re: Incorrect ship manifest exclusion/deportation designation? #general #usa #records


Hello Michael,
As I read it you are asking two questions:
First, other responses to your post are correct that this immigrant likely was deported and turned right around and entered through the same or another port.  Look for them arriving about 10 days to a month later.  Philadelphia was common for these second attempts—but they could come back through any port of entry, via Canada, etc.  The chance the “deported” stamp on the manifest is wrong is low.  The record would have been stamped upon the immigrant’s departure.  Meanwhile, the statisticians were counting everything daily and at some point those numbers would not add up if it were in error.  Also, the SS Company would be billed for the detention of the deportable immigrant, and the SS Co. had a team of people scouring their records to ensure they didn’t pay fees they never incurred.
Second, you ask “Is there a straightforward way to check that?  Might there be a correspondence file on his case and what's the best way to search for such a file these days?”  This is where it gets tricky because the answer depends on the date.  In YOUR case, from 1909/1910, there are two fairly straightforward good options:
  • You can search the INS Subject Index, name-searchable at at  But that index is incomplete, especially for early years, and so is not conclusive.  Yet this may be the only available index for people name-searching for correspondence files about appeals after ca. 1910/1911, and is a long-shot for those searching any name prior to 1906.  In those early years one is better off searching by the name of the ship.
  • In YOUR case from 1909/1910, you can also search the INS Name Index which, despite the dates in its title, really only covers cases ca. 1903-1911.  Perfect for you.  That index is comprised of two separate name indexes.  One has been completely digitized and name-indexed and made searchable in the NARA catalog.  The other is being digitized and NARA has begun loading some of those to the catalog as well.  You can search everything loaded so far by clicking the “search within this series” button on this page
Good luck!
Marian Smith

German reparations #germany

Melissa Kahn

My grandparents left Rockenhausen, Germany in 1938 and came to NYC, and they later received reparations payments from the German government.  How can I find details of the payments, e.g., their application for payments, approval letter, and when the payments started?
Thank you,
Melissa Kahn

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