Suggestions for tracing Hungarian Shoah survivors? #hungary #holocaust

Peter Cherna

Arolsen Archives has what looks like matching records:

Ilona Herschkowits born Weiss, Ponyola August 30 1930. Married with a family unit of 3 (i.e. one child). Entered Austria in 1949 then to Israel.
Irene Klein born Weiss, Panyola December 2 1928, Married with a family unit of 3. Entered Austria May 1949 thence to Israel August 1949.

I strongly recommend reaching out to the Arolsen archives. They have skilled researchers. They might for example find a Herschkowits whose card serial number is adjacent, which in turn would give you the husband's first name and birth date. Or they may be able to dig deeper into archives that are not searchable yet.

Good luck!

Peter Cherna, Exton PA (peter@...)
Researching CSERNA (Budapest, Székesfehérvár), GRUNFELD (Székesfehérvár), BRAUN, REINER (Budapest, Nyíregyháza, Máriapócs), EHRENFELD (Pozsony, Balassagyarmat) BRACK (Ipolykeszi)


Hi Wendy,

I just found a great aunt after a year of searching.  I could not find anything at Yad VShem, US Holocaust Museum, Jewish Gen, etc., etc., etc.
My lucky break happened last week.
I submitted a records search request at the Arolsen archives.
I couldn't answer everything they asked for but I gave them every bit of information I had which was not much. 
I now have 50 pages of documentation including her testimony taken after she moved to Israel in 1948.

Here is the link to the general website:

General Search link



Best of luck in your search, 

Deborah Barany

John Kovacs

Dear Wendy, 
here are some comments that may or may not be helpful to your letter.  You probably know that Panyola is a village in Szabolcs Szatmar -Bergen County with a population of 606 in 2015 per Microsoft Bing. and since Ilona and Iren in 1944 were relatively young and were able to work, but the parents may have not been to at the time that's the reason you don't find them together.  
It's possible that after the war they went back to their hometown.  If they did go back to their hometown, then a synagogue may have kept records of people who returned say in a large city like Nyiregyhaza. I mention this because in the city of Miskolc, that is not too far from Nyiregyhaza, did kept such records. Maybe these remarks could help you.  Wish you the best. 
John J. Kovacs

Lewis, Megan

Dear Wendy,

You can contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center to see if they are listed in our voluntary Registry of Holocaust Survivors.  Their email address is resource-center@....  Also check our Holocaust survivors and victims names database,  You can also check our Collections Search catalog,, to see if they donated any items to us or did an oral history.

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute has information about each interview, including in which country an interview was recorded.  The website is

Have you tried the Arolsen Archives,  I believe the emigration lists are online already.  Only a small portion of the records are online.  If you do not find anything you may want to submit a full search request with the Arolsen Archives or USHMM ( .)

Megan Lewis, reference librarian

Peggy Mosinger Freedman

I have had amazing success (found unknown cousins who went to Venezuela) using the Shoah Foundation index on JewishGen.  But I was looking for an unusual surname (SPIELBERGER).  Your surnames, WEISZ and KLEIN, will be much more difficult.

The rules for name with this database appear to be that women are shown by their married names.  But if they mentioned relatives in their interview, you might find them with the relative's name.  The first search on JewishGen in the Holocaust Database / USC Shoah Foundation-Survivor Interviews gives you a list of names.  If you click on the View Full Record link, you will see a list of names mentioned in the interview and the relationship to the survivor. I think the JewishGen index only includes the person who was interviewed but the search includes all the names in the interview.  To see the relatives, you need to drill down into the interview.  But I am not certain of that - experiment with it and see what you find.

Good luck,
Peggy Mosinger Freedman
Atlanta, GA USA

Wendy Kalman

In tracing relatives of my husband, I found that, per Yad Vashem, two daughters in one family from Panyola, Hungary survived the Holocaust: Iren Weisz, b. 1928  ( and Ilona Weisz, b. 1930 (, while their parents Bela and Pepi (nee Klein) Weisz did not. I tried searching JewishGen in English plus Googled their names and dates in both Hebrew and English, but have not come up with anything I am sure about.

Yad Vashem does not show a scan of the source but says the info for each came from a "List of survivors, found in Official Archives in Hungary - Card file of names of survivors who returned to Hungary, prepared by DEGOB, 1945-1946." In 1946, they would've been 18 and 16.

I did see references online to their names on lists about Bergen Belsen, but without parents or Panyola mentioned (but other Hungarian towns) -- and with both listed as born 1929, I cannot know this is them -- and even it was, it still doesn't tell me where they went next. 

Would anyone have any suggestions to share on what my next steps should be to try to find out what happened to the sisters? TIA.

Thank you for any suggestions.

Wendy Kalman
Acworth, GA