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Tracing Jewish Roots
Jewish Perspectives on UK Records
Service Records of Jews
Records in Other Countries
Pulling It All Together
An estimated 6 million Jews and many gypsies, homosexuals and disabled people were killed in the Holocaust. Families who had previously emigrated to the United Kingdom had relatives in central and eastern Europe who were killed. Some of those in danger were fortunate to be given refugee status in Britain.
There are many research institutes and a profusion of published material is available in central and eastern Europe; however, few institutions are organised for genealogical research:
Yad Vashem (Jerusalem) is the major repository of information about the Holocaust and it has a:
Research institute (www.yadvashem.org/research_publications/index_publication)
Hall of Names
The library of 100,000 volumes includes over 1,200 yizkor books (see below), and the archives contain primary source material, including many testimonies from survivors.
The Hall of Names houses the Pages of Testimony (filled out by relatives of Holocaust victims), which is a manuscript collection of information about the victims. There are several million Pages of Testimony and each page contains:
Yad Vashem's address is:
The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
P.O. Box 3477
Tel: (02) 6443400
Web site: www.yadvashem.org
To search for names: www.yadvashem.org/remembrance/temp_remembrance
Yad Vashem' s databank, containing information on approximately three million victims of the Shoah, is not accessible on the internet. However, a large subset of it, containing information on over two million victims, is accessible on an Intranet browser application for visitors who come to the Hall of Names for short queries, or in the new Archives building for research. The use of the facilities is free of charge, but there is a small fee for the printing of copies. A member of the Hall of Names staff is available at all times to offer assistance and guidance with searches whenever necessary.
If it is not possible to visit Yad Vashem, it is possible to request a names search via email. In order to ensure accurate results, please supply as much specific or detailed information you know about the individuals you wish to research:
Searches by last name alone cannot be carried out. Searches will be carried out on the computerised databank as well as on archival names collections. As a general rule, responses will be sent within two weeks. Search requests should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
International Tracing Service (ITS), Große Allee 5-9, 34454 Arolsen, Germany was set up by the International Red Cross after the war and maintains 40-million index cards of victims and survivors. It is preferable to direct an inquiry through a local Red Cross branch that will redirect it. Yad Vashem has copies of some of these records on microfilm.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington (opened 1993) has a library and archives of Holocaust research material, including documents recently microfilmed in the former Soviet block. They also have a co-operative agreement with Yad Vashem. The Museum can be contacted at:
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW
Washington, DC 20024-2150
Tel. (202) 488-0400
Web site: www.ushmm.org
The Survivors Registry:
The address of the Registry of Holocaust Survivors is:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2126
Tel: (202) 488-6130
In the United Kingdom a copy of the Registry is kept at:
The Holocaust Centre
Notts NG22 0PA
Tel: +44 (0) 1623 836627
Fax. +44 (0) 1623 836647
The Wiener Library is a major Holocaust Resource centre but concentrates on central and Western Europe and does not have much material on Eastern Europe. It is a research institution and cannot usually respond to enquiries. The address of the Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library is:
4 Devonshire Street
London W1N 2BH
Tel: 020 771 636 7247
Fax: 020 771 436 6428
HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) has assisted more than 70,000 Holocaust families in the 1940's and 1950's, and maintains case files on these persons and will search for a $25 fee. The address of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) is:
333 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001-5004
Tel: (212) 967-4100.
www.jewishgen.org has a Holocaust Global Registry page that provides a central place for:
In conjunction with Yad Vashem, the Pages of Testimony can be found on the Jewishgen website.
The names of Shoah (Holocaust) victims in family trees are submitted at www1.yadvashem.org.il/download/remembrance/english.pdf
Many concentration camps have archives and are able to respond to specific inquiries.
Reading around your subject is almost as important as doing primary research and in no place is this truer than those who suffered during the Holocaust. With a good understanding of the political and social history that affected the lives of your ancestors during this time you will be better able to place your own research in context, and to find new avenues to explore. Our further reading suggestions on the Holocaust are good places to start.
Creators: Dr Saul Issroff
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