Required evidence to prove a death in 1946 Warsaw court #holocaust #poland #warsaw


My father's uncle and aunt reportedly died in Warsaw Ghetto in August of 1942. In 1946, the Administrative Secretary for the Uncle's pre-war business presented the court in Warsaw with hand-written Last Wills and Testaments for my father's uncle and aunt. She stated that they died in the Ghetto and they left her their villa in Konstancin. My question is this: in Warsaw in 1946, what requirements were in place in the Polish version of Probate Court for confirming that someone had died during the war and occupation? What evidence would have been required? Would the court have taken witness testimony? Would more than one witness be required to confirm a death? Where would the record of such testimony be found? I have typed copies of the supposed hand-written Wills but I have not found any transcript of the actual court proceeding - if there was one - where a magistrate summarizes what evidence has been presented, declares the uncle and aunt legally dead, and authorizes the distribution of their properties as indicated in their Wills. Does anyone here have knowledge of early post-war probate court inheritance procedures in Warsaw?
Many thanks,
George Mason (Mozeson)

Kathryn Kanarek James

Consider contacting the Holocaust Museum in DC.
They have experts on their staff who may be able to provide you with guidance. Good luck. -

Kathryn Kanarek James
Annandale, VA, USA
Names of interest: WEGODNER/WAGNER, SIDUCH  (Sokolievka/Justingrad Ukraine), GOLDSTEIN, LANDA (Shpikov, Ukraine), WANG (Janow Lubelski, Russia Poland), KANAREK, BROD (Tarnobrzeg, Tarnow, Galicia) SINGER/KATZENELLENBOGEN (Tarnow, Galicia)

Lewis, Megan

The courts that declared people deceased were called Sąd Grodzki,   USHMM has records from the Warsaw Sąd Grodzki in our archives as RG-15.270.  The collection description is at  The finding aid, under  supplementary materials, lists the names of the people who were the subject of the cases but it is in Polish.  You can do a search but need to be careful of suffixes that change the spellings of names.  If you find your aunt and uncle you can email reference@... for a copy.  Please include the collection call number, the file number and the names of your aunt and uncle.  You can direct the request to me if you wish.

We have Sąd Grodzki records for many towns/cities, but not all of them contain post-war records.  Some are wartime records and a few have interwar records.  Look at the date field for the time period covered.

You should also consult Polish database SEZAM at and Polish National Archives digital resources:

Megan Lewis
reference librarian
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum