Re: Discovered my grandmother owned land before the war, what now? #austria-czech #holocaust

Peninah Zilberman

Interesting story, but it was in Germany, the thoughts and reactions are very different between the countries...Germany lets face it has somewhat a constant guilt  where all the rest of the eastern block countries....were very pleased to see us Jews out of their countries and they obtain all they could that belonged to us...therefore they created laws which prevent us from reclaiming
Good Luck

Fundatia Tarbut Sighet
+40 74 414 5351

Re: Discovered my grandmother owned land before the war, what now? #austria-czech #holocaust

Theo Rafael

Oh, forgot to add, first order of business should be to check at the property/land registration office what happened with that property right after your grandma's ownership, maybe she just sold it and that would be the end of your quest. If you're lucky this could be even done online or over the phone (or snail mail).
Good luck!

Theo R.

Re: Visas issued overseas (Riga, Latvia) in 1926 #latvia



So it sounds like my best bet would be to write to the National Archives at College Park and request a search.  Those files don't appear to be online.  And I wasn't able to find the House of Registers for Riga on FamilySearch.

Thanks,   Ellen. lnmp@...

On Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 12:25 PM, Renée K. Carl wrote:
Hi Ellen
The records of the US Consulate for Riga are a robust set of records, though for reasons lost to time, more is available if your surname is at the beginning or end of the alphabet. The consular records are different than the documents for the Visa File that you sought from USCIS and that Marian responded to. I presented on the consular records to the Latvia Research Group at IAJGS in Cleveland. These records are at the National Archives, College Park.
National Archives, U.S. Consulate, Riga (organization description):
National Archives U.S. Consulate, Riga (records):

There is also the collection of House Registers for Riga, these are in browse mode at Family Search - Marion Wehle or Arlene Beare might be able to provide the link or additional information. Even if people staying in a house for a night or two, their names appear on these lists.

Re: Discovered my grandmother owned land before the war, what now? #austria-czech #holocaust

Theo Rafael

Hi Moses,

There are variable laws depending on specific countries and there are no hard and fast rules.

Our family owned property in Transylvania (Romania) which was first confiscated by the fascists, then returned at the end of WW2 only to be retaken by the communists over the next few years. 
After 1989 there were a series of laws  in Romania that allowed for restitution of property or compensation depending on specific rules. It was a very long battle with laws changing every few years, old laws being changed or replaced by new ones but we were able to get back some property over the years.. My father was lucky to get help from successive local friends (paid on an annual basis and contingency fees), and there were multiple lawsuits filed, lawyers hired, various committees attended and evaluations made over these decades.
Two lawsuits are still ongoing; those were filed in the past 2-5 years after authorities didn't move forward as required by law on SOME of the properties. 
You have to investigate what such laws are in effect in your specific country and whether you can still file under such laws or maybe you can just file a lawsuit. In Romania most of these laws are already past their expiration date, not sure if and what could be done if you were to start now in Romania.
So to sum it up, a lot depends on specific laws in specific countries, in our case there were mixed results over the last 3 decades and the process has still not been finalized.

Theo Rafael     nloftis@...

Re: Discovered my grandmother owned land before the war, what now? #austria-czech #holocaust

Elisabeth Gelb

Decades ago, we attempted to reclaim land in Csenger, Hungary. Our significant property was first stolen by nazis, then confiscated by communists in 1956. After significant expense and effort, the end result was that we could 'reclaim', our land, but first had to pay the 'back taxes'. It seems we were 'negligent' in paying these taxes for decades. As you may guess, the taxes owed was far greater than actual property value. However, we commend all efforts to regain stolen property. For past years in Csenger, the Jungreis family and other invested Jews are buying land near the cemetery to keep the memory of our loved ones and our once thriving community alive.

Elisabeth Gelb     egelb18@... 

Re: Discovered my grandmother owned land before the war, what now? #austria-czech #holocaust


Dear Moses et. al.

My father spent more than 50 years pursuing a claim for his parents' property that was "aryanized" in 1938 in the small German town of Ilmenau.   The Thuringia region was part of the Soviet-controlled sphere after 1945.   My father submitted his case right after the end of the war, but nothing happened until German reunification. He hired a local attorney who took the case. Our family  property, consisting of a modern department store and living quarters completed in 1929, had been held in a national trust along with other seized former Jewish property (as well as nationalized assets from Nazi Party members and collaborators -- possibly the same way under the CSR.)  The former ownership was well documented and my father successfully had the deed reassigned to him.  I relate his ceaseless pursuit in a memoir, Loss and Legacy: The Half Century Quest to Reclaim a Birthright Stolen by the Nazis.

Amnon Gronner <yo_sam2077@...>

Re: Lost family from russia somewhere #latvia #lithuania #russia




You did not write if you have exhausted absolutely all possible sources of information available to you in England.


For example, what is “Jewish community”?  A synagogue? Which one? Have you inquired if they had any records of interest to you?

Have you checked published sources, e.g. newspapers? There may be a 25 words news piece.

What is “taught a trade”? Which trade? Who taught? There may be a paper trail there.


Without knowing anything else about the family location, a reasonable assumption is that it would be Latvia (i.e. Courland) rather than Lithuania. However, Cossacks did not operated in Courland. They were a scourge in Russia and Ukraine. That is until World War I, when there were everywhere, as a part of the Russian Army. (butu you did not write the year your grandfather came to the UK).


Good luck.


Boris Feldblyum
FAST Genealogy Service

Re: The crumbling structures of Romania’s Jewish past

David Lerer

Interesting article:


"Like much of Eastern Europe, Romania’s synagogues and "other symbols of Jewish life are in decay. As the community dwindles and cemeteries become parking lots, will Jewish history also fade away?............"

Re: Lost family from russia somewhere #latvia #lithuania #russia


Have you checked the British National Archives?  They have files on many immigrants and with a name like Samuel Rosenberg there are many candidates but when I have found a relevant file it usually produces a lot of information.

Good luck with your search,

Judy Wolkovitch    <judywolk@...>

Researching: CHAIT, KESSEL, ZEID from Yampol, Ukraine

Rosenbusch #germany


Any family??

Re: Identifying mystery relatives #general


It would have been better if you had given more information, such as the time period of these photos.  Here are some ideas:

1. Send copies to relatives and ask if they can identify anyone.  Or post them on your FB page, if you have one, with the same request.

2. If these photos are from the USA, you might give them or copies to your local library when it reopens.  Maybe they could do a display asking if anyone can identify the "mystery" people.

3. There are FB groups dedicated to various localities.  Another place to post and ask if anyone can identify the people in them.  I've seen this done successfully where I live.  There may be FB groups related to the places where your foreign photos originated where you could do the same thing.

Good luck!
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC

Re: Holland-American records - Dutch document ViewMate VM79365 #translation

Alan Shuchat

The last two columns on the right in ViewMate 79365 are for cash back payments. Vreemde munt means foreign currency and Ned. crt. probably means the corresponding amount in Netherlands currency (the guilder, abbreviated by the symbol f. or fl.). I don't know what the exchange rates would have been, but I'm guessing that R323.80 means that Marcus had 323.80 in rubles, which was exchanged for 404.75 guilders.

We can check to see if this is reasonable by using historical exchange rates for that time period. According to (in Russian), $1 was worth 1.94 rubles in 1897. According to, $1 was worth about 2.46 guilders in 1914. Using these exchange rates, 323.80 rubles would have been worth $166.90, or 410.59 guilders. So my interpretation of those columns seems to make sense.

Alan Shuchat, 
Newton, MA  ahs613@...

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

Bruce Drake

The Sabbath has arrived, and in these troubled times, I found this excerpt about the celebration of the day and its loving description of shtetl life comforting, and a reminder that there were happy days in towns and villages who would undergo such hardships and destruction.

The allure of this account is in the details, so I won’t spoil them other than to share with you this lyrical ending:

“The shul grows dim [as the sun sets and the lamps stay unlit]. Jews stroll about the shul, singing their prayers with utter sweetness. It is a holy atmosphere. People are transformed into shadows. The prayer-leader is also a shadow, and all are bound up into one prayerful choir. I feel as if the roof is opening, the words floating up, up, becoming luminous, and turning into fiery arrows, shimmering and flashing like lightning-bolts. In turn, the heavens open, angels with fiery wings are singing praises to the Throne of Glory. Elye-Leyb is standing, humbly, next to Him.”


Bruce Drake,  Silver Spring MD

Re: Discovered my grandmother owned land before the war, what now? #austria-czech #holocaust


I am a retired lawyer from Texas. I had a German client, who emigrated after WWII,  who was contacted By a distant cousin to sign a deed because heirs were trying to sell a small apartment building in Dresden. We hired a very large international law firm with offices in Germany. Since they were an american firm, they had ethical duties to worry about.

so, search for a large international law firm in the same area as the property and write to see what they can do. They should charge a small retainer to check into it. If they can get something for you they will ask for more money. They probably will not work on contingency, as that is rare overseas. If they think it is a bad case, they should say so. Important that they have offices in US to protect you in case of trouble. Good luck. We got net of 200,000 dollars for her one sixty fourth share.

[unsigned]   <Arneschonb@...>

Moderator Note:  Signature: Please include your full name at the end of your email. It’s helpful, but optional, to include your location and any names and towns you
are researching that relate to the contents of the message and topic.

Re: Identifying mystery relatives [using old photographs and social media] #general


Excellent question.  I don't have a definitive answer.  With some photos of unknown people in the collection of my husband's great-grandmother, I posted an inquiry on an Ancestry Message Board for the county in which she'd lived.  I included a link to the photos, which I'd posted on Flickr.  That was 8 years ago, and the photos have been viewed hundreds of times.  To my surprise, someone responded just last week, leaving comments for me on Flickr that identified many of the people in the photos, one of whom was her grandmother (as a child!). 

Perhaps this is an opportunity for someone to develop a better tool for searching/indexing large photo collections.

Ellen <lnmp@...>

REISFELD, LEWIN, KANNER, Rabbi Dr Isaac LEVIN of New York - RZESZOW, Brody, Lviv, New York #galicia #poland

Carol Jean Weightman

I am searching for information on a RZESZOW family. Family members probably also lived in Brody and Lviv in the late 1700s, during the 1800s and in the early 1900s.

I have some information from Gesher Galicia and JRI Poland, from family sources and from the Memorial Book of Rzeszow. I still struggle to put together a more complete family tree.

I would very much like to make contact with anyone who has researched these families. I would also like to make contact with the family of Rabbi Dr Isaac Levin of New York in order to see if there are shared ancestors.

I can provide further information to anyone who thinks they can help.

Thank you,    Carol Jean Weightman <c.j.weightman@...>

Re: Finding the SHERESHEVSKI siblings #poland #ukraine #lithuania #belarus

Jack Berger

I found two instances of the name Shereshevsky in my English translation of the Zelva Memorial Book. Both seem to be excerpts from Newspaper articles.

 Since this is Belarus, there is a chance there is a connection.

Good luck,  Jack Berger   <Jsberger@...>

Re: Visas issued overseas (Riga, Latvia) in 1926 #latvia


Hi Ellen
I researched a couple who immigrated from Switzerland to the United States in 1914. They were not naturalised until 1944 and they had children born in the United States before 1920. They all travelled to Switzerland for a visit of relatives in 1926. I found the passenger manifests for their travel back to the United States in 1926. The parents are on the passenger list for immigrants, the children are on another list for American Citicens. But I couldn't find the children in the Passport Applications Database on familysearch, which ends in 1925. In my case a descendant of the daughter found an old passport of the father. It contains stamps (with dates) from all boarders they crossed on their travel from the United states to Switzerland. 



IGRA Free Webinar and Zoom Meeting April 22 #events

Elena Bazes


The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) will be broadcasting a free webinar and a “Show and Tell’ free Zoom meeting both on Wednesday, April 22nd.

“The IGRA Collection”, a webinar in Hebrew, will be broadcast on April 22 at 7 pm Israel Time, 12 pm (EDT). The lecturer will be Rose Feldman.

One of the goals of IGRA is to make available documents and documents about people living in Eretz Israel since the 19th century. We have collected scans of documents and documents from many archives in Israel and abroad. The database is searchable by name, one search covers all the documents. Our database, as of today, has over a million and a half lines. The bulk of the collection is from the British Mandate period. The lecture will show the diversity of the repository and the sources of the documents and documents.


Rose Feldman is in charge of developing new databases for IGRA. She has lectured at nine IAJGS conferences starting in 2003, at various annual seminars and branch meetings of IGRA and IGS, at the Israeli Association for Archives and Information workshop, and the genealogy workshop of the Central Zionist Archives. In 2017 she was the recipient of IAJGS Award for Volunteer of the Year. Rose was one of the three coordinators of the Montefiore Censuses Project and has four Kehilalinks sites on JewishGen, and operates two twitters for IGRA – Israelgenealogy and IGRA_Hebrew and IGRA’s facebook page


Registration is required as there are a limited number of “seats” available. Reminders will be sent out closer to the date of the webinar. To register go to the link below.


The Zoom “Show and Tell” meeting in English will be broadcast the same day, April 22 at 9pm Israel Time, 2 pm (EDT). The topic is “Holocaust Resources”.

There is no need to register in advance. “Show & Tell with IGRA” will be open to those who connect to ZOOM with the following meeting code.


The Zoom Meeting will be held on this week Wednesday due to Yom Hashoah Eve in Israel on Monday night. There will be NO Zoom meetings on April 27th and April 19th due to several holidays in Israel.   


Elena Biegel Bazes

IGRA Publicity Chair 


Yad Vashem Exhibit: Rescue by Jews; Gathering of Fragments-Request for Personal Items Related to Holocaust Before and Immediately After #holocaust #israel

Jan Meisels Allen



Yad Vashem has an online exhibition, Rescue by Jews  “One for All”.  Throughout the Holocaust, in the shadow at the hands of the Nazis there were Jews who attempted to save their fellow Jews despite difficult conditions.  Not all were successful. Jews saving Jews was accomplished by forging documents, locating hiding places, smuggling, providing food, clothing and medicines. Rescuers worked in camps, ghettos, partisan ranks on their own and in communities. Non-Jews who helped them were later recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.


The exhibition is based on survivor testimony and tells the stories of the “Nasza Grupa” (“our group in Polish) and other rescuers and features 11 stories of Jews saving Jews, from Belarus, Germany, the Netherlands. Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, France, Croatia and Romania.


Click on the photograph of one of the 11 persons featured at :  and you will be able to read their stories.


Gathering of Fragments is a campaign to rescue personal items from the Holocaust. Yad Vashem is asking survivors, family members and the general public to search for documents, photographs or objects from the years before the war, during the Holocaust, life in DP camps and immediate post-war period and submit them to Yad Vashem so they may be preserved for posterity. For more information email them at: collect@...


There is an exhibition, Gathering the Fragments: Behind the Scenes but that is only available at Yad Vashem not virtually.

To read more:


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee