Sources of Information on
German/Austrian Holocaust Survivors and Victims
the overwhelming majority of German/Austrian Jewish Holocaust
victims were deported directly from these countries, many had
fled to neighboring countries in the vain hope that these would
prove to be safe havens. Relatively few perished in their country
of origin. Researchers should, therefore, examine non-German/Austrian
sources of information. The following is an attempt to pull
together the major sources of such information, as well as information
on concentration camps, and, finally, survivors.
years the number of names of Holocaust victims and survivors,
Jewish and non-Jewish, available in electronic form has virtually
exploded and exceeds 6 million (there are many duplicates).
This tremendous progress obscures the fact that a far greater
number of names has not been made available and that each of
the major databases poses significant problems for the researcher.
and most inaccessible collection of information remains the
Swiss Red Cross' International Tracing Service (ITS) located
in Arolsen, Germany. ITS continues to ignore its legal obligations
and international pressure to open its collection. More recently
all but Germany of the countries represented on the ITS board
have joined in calling for full access and there is hope that
this will have results.
has placed its three million name database, (www.yadvashem.org),
on the web. It is technically excellent, and can be searched
in a number of different ways. However, most of this database
consists of testimonial information, submitted decades after
the fact, which, while useful, should be used with care. It
is hoped that Yad Vashem will release its digitized version
of ITS name lists through 1955, and its "list of lists",
i.e. an inventory of material in its collection.
States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) has extensive holdings
of computerized name lists, roughly 3 million victims and survivors
almost all of which comes from documentary, i.e non-testimonial,
without any form of soundex. The total database, as well as
non-computerized information, are used to reply to inquiries,
which may be submitted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Equally important,
the USHMM has made available on its website, in the Survivors
Registry area , under Research Services, a Holocaust Name Lists
Catalog, a "list of lists", 8,000 name lists from
archives and books located around the world, many of which have
not been computerized, but which can be accessed by the energetic
Holocaust database (http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Holocaust),
has reached one million names, none of them testimonial. It
is technically not as good as Yad Vashem, but still better than
the USHMM in that it includes a soundex option. Contributors
may employ a sophisticated search engine while others may need
to utilize as many as thirty searches for a single family name.
Jewishgen provides a guide to items particularly related to
Germany at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Germany.
is an attempt to summarize sources of information for the major
countries to which Jews fled or deported. It is followed by
a list of concentration camps where name lists are available
as well as some sources for information on survivors. All sources
should be used with care. A memorial book may list a person
as having been deported to a particular camp, sometimes even
with a date of death. However, tens of thousands of Jews were
transported between camps and ghettoes and the initial place
of deportation may not be the place of death. Even a date of
death may be incorrect since some reference books simply list
the date of arrival at a camp or the end of the war as dates
of death. The researcher should also be aware that the spelling
of names in Holocaust documents is extremely variable. Names
were often entered phonetically by persons totally unfamiliar
with the language of the persons they were listing. Even dates
of birth and ages vary, since prisoners often made themselves
younger or older in the hope of avoiding execution as too old
or too young.
Recht als Unrecht lists Austrian Jews who had to submit property
declarations in 1938. Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen
Widerstandes lists 61,000 Austrian Jewish victims, available
at http://www.doew.at. An immense
collection of Austrian Jewish community records is currently
being processed by the Austrian Jewish community and USHMM.
Memorial de la Deportation des Juifs de Belgique lists 25,000
Jews deported from Belgium, many of them non-Belgian, and identifies
those who survived. A major newly acquired Belgian film collection,
CEGES, available at USHMM RG 65.001-004M supplements this and
gives additional information on camps.
Terezinska Pametni Kniha: Zivdoske Obeti Nacistickych Deportaci
Z Cech A Moravy 1941-1945 lists 15,000 Czech Jews (some of whom
formerly resided in Austria or Germany) deported from Bohemia
and Moravia to Theresienstadt.
A new website, www.memorialdelashoah.org,
is the place to start and largely replaces . Klarsfeld's Deportations
from France. Most Jews deported from France were not born there
and they included thousands of Germans and Austrians.
The Gedenkbuch contains the names of about 125,000 West German
and West Berlin Jews who perished. There have been repeated
promises that a new edition including all of Germany in its
1937 borders (estimated at 200,000 names) will be published
in 2006. Recently the German Government announced that it planned
to develop a database of all Jews resident in Germany in 1933
(over 500,000) but access to this information will be subject
to Datenschutz restrictions. Most large German cities and many
smaller towns have published their own memorial books, often
containing much more information than the Gedenkbuch. In addition,
Theresienstadt Gedenkbuch lists German Jews sent to that camp,
while Buch der Erinnerung lists German, Austrian and Czech Jews
deported to the Baltics. Die Ausbuergerung deutsche Staatsangehoeriger
1933-1945 lists those German Jews where their citizenship was
stripped -mostly emigrants. Finally, the 1939 census of Jews,
prior to significant deportations is available through LDS Family
Hungary. Some Jews formerly resident in Germany and Austria
fled to Hungary. Yad Vashem has published a series of books
including Names of Hungarian Jewish Women in the Stutthof Concentration
Camp, Names of Jewish Victims of Hungarian Labor Battalions
and books listing Jews subject to deportation in Hajdu, Békés
and Zala counties. Counted Remnants lists 65,000 survivors in Budapest and "Hisek
az Elhurcoltakrol" lists survivors in postwar camps. Beke
Poraikia provides a different list of Jewish labor battalions.
There are also separate lists of residents/victims in various
Libro dalli' Italia della Memorial Gli Ebrei deportati lists
Jews deported from Italy, including a number of German and Austrian
Jews. Ferramonti un Lager di Mussolini lists Jews held at Italy's
largest concentration camp.
There is no overall list of victims but see the Yad Vashem website
for Lodz (thousands of German and Austrian Jews). For other
cities, such as Cracow, consult USHMM.
camps. Extensive records exist for Dachau (available on Jewishgen),
Bergen Belsen, Buchenwald, Flossenburg, Natzweiler, Theresienstadt,
Mauthausen and Stutthof (German prisoners listed on Jewishgen).
Partial records exist for Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, Gurs,
Sachsenhausen, Neuengamme, Majdanek, and Gross Rosen. Since
these records are kept separately, camp by camp, it is necessary
to search all of them unless one knows where a prisoner was
sent. Gedenkstaetten for these camps are generally willing to
respond to requests for information on individuals.
is being made to develop a list of all transport records as
a prelude to computerizing the names on these lists, and the
first project involves transports from Auschwitz. Several camp
memorial sites are planning to issue memorial books this year
(60 years after the end of World War II) and these should be
useful. There are no prisoner lists for death camps such as
Sobibor, Belzec and Treblinka, other than limited records of
transports to these places.
There is no single list of survivors but the Survivors Registry
at the USHMM (available in a five year old book) and Sharit
Platah (on the web) are useful beginning places. The Register
of Jewish Survivors, issued by the Jewish Agency for Palestine
includes 120,000 names, mostly Poles, while World Jewish Congress
records and "Lakarov V'larahok" contain many lists.
A Swiss list of 22,000 Jews admitted to Switzerland between
1933 and 1945, available at USHMM, contains the names of many
German Jews. Unfortunately, the Swiss Government does not permit
this list to be made available on the web. From 1944 to 1947
Aufbau published numerous name lists of survivors and persons
looking for family members. These names appear on Jewishgen