Four years ago when my interest in Jewish genealogy began, I started a web site dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust. As a result of that I've received many requests for family roots information, mainly from Poland, the country where my research is concentrated. These requests are similar to the letters sent to JewishGen and its SIG discussion groups.
To be able to answer those requests, I used to apply to a researcher in the Galilee who was very active at the beginning of the "Missing Identity" project. The researcher had in her possession the Pinkas Hanitzolim, Register of Jewish Survivors, published by the Jewish Agency in 1946. This incredible book contained 58,000 names of Holocaust survivors. My friend used to send me all the information concerning a surname which I was helping to find. When we found a supposed relative, we sent an inquiry to the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation Genealogy Project at the Jewish Institute of Poland, which holds the original cards completed by the survivors in the various Jewish Committees founded after the war in various places. Those cards contained more details than what was published in the Survivors Register - for example, parents, town of origin, etc.
I then learned that this book was a major tool in the searching activities of Batya Unterschatz, the last director of the Search Bureau for Missing Relatives of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, which unfortunately recently closed down.
Therefore, I suggested to my friend that we post this entire book on the Internet, but she informed me that the book was under the copyright of the Jewish Agency. At that stage I realized that only an organization like JewishGen could get permission from the Sochnut (Jewish Agency) and could organize the resources to get all the 58,000 names into a database and make it available to the entire Jewish world.
The problem was to get two copies of the two-volume books. I searched second-hand bookstores and finally found the Pinkasim in a shop and purchased the last copies. JewishGen's VP, Research, the tireless Joyce Field, was already negotiating with the Jewish Agency through the efforts of Shalom Eitan in Israel. Finally the permission was obtained, thanks to him.
All of this took about two years, until Yad Vashem entered the picture, as described by Joyce in her introductory comments.
I wish to thank Joyce Field for her vision, persistence and dedication to this project. Also thanks to David Amdurer who did most of the proofreading so that this dream could come true.
It is my sincere deep belief that posting the lists of survivors in the Internet at the JewishGen web site will lead to finding lost relatives and reuniting families broken apart under the cruel circumstances of the War. Because the HOPE that such a miracle will happen hasn't left the survivors' and their relatives' hearts, although nearly 60 years have passed! And for fulfilling this dream, even for one single survivor, all our efforts were not in vain.
Many years ago Ada Holtzman proposed that we create a database on this file of Jewish survivors. There were three problems: getting permission from the Jewish Agency, getting copies of the original book, and then raising the funds to hire people to scan the pages.
JewishGen, Inc. received permission from the Jewish Agency of Israel on January 3, 2001
to publish this list of survivors on our web site. Mr. Shalom Eitan acted as our
representative in Israel to secure this permission. The permission letter, from the Office
of the Legal Advisor of the Jewish Agency, was signed by Attorney Fran Barnis, with copies
The letter states: "On behalf of the Jewish Agency for Israel, I wish to inform you that the Jewish Agency has given its approval to the Jewish Generation Association [sic] that you represent, to publish the "List of Survivors" book on the Internet. The condition for the Jewish Agency's approval is that the introductions from both the volumes will be included and it should be mentioned that the Jewish Agency's Missing Relatives Bureau published the book."
Although we had permission and Ada was able to find two copies of this book, we were unable to raise the funds to have the book scanned and "OCR'ed." One day, purely by accident, Zvi Bernhardt of Yad Vashem mentioned to me that Yad Vashem had scanned the books years before but needed help with proofreading the output. We agreed to find JewishGen volunteers to do that. David Amdurer took the lead in validating the data, which proved to be a mammoth undertaking, and Ada Holtzman and Sandra Krisch assisted him with the huge task. Volume 2 is now in a searchable database because David and Ada worked on this collaborative effort between Yad Vashem and JewishGen.
Click here for information about the contents of volume 1.
Click here for an image of a sample original page from volume 2.
The original introduction published in volume 2 follows.
The Search Bureau for Missing relatives of the Jewish Agency which was set up to assist in re-establishing contact between the Jewish survivors in Europe and their relatives in Palestine and in overseas countries, is issuing this second volume of the “Register of Survivors” which contains the names of 57,702 Jews who were found in Poland after its liberation.
The list was prepared by the Central Committee of Polish Jewry in Warsaw and bears the date of August 15th, 1945. There can be no doubt that this list does not include all the names of the Jews who were alive on that date in Poland. Thus, for instance, under “S”, 2,546 names are missing which were registered by the Warsaw Committee but which have not yet been received in Jerusalem (the last number under “S” is 50,254 while “T” begins with the number 52,801. The fact that “S” is not complete is also evident from the name “Schwartz” not appearing at all in it). We are in communication with the Warsaw Committee about these missing names and when they are received in Jerusalem they will be issued in our current publication “To the Near and the Far”. It should also be mentioned that some 13,000 names of Jewish soldiers serving at the time with the Polish Army were not included in the List.
Since the List was compiled, a certain number of the
survivors have left Poland. We have, nevertheless, decided to publish the List
as received from the Warsaw Committee without any alternations. In order to
assist readers, we are attaching herewith an abbreviated Note drawn up by the
Warsaw Committee on the subject of List No. 1.
JEWISH AGENCY FOR PALESTINE
SEARCH BUREAU FOR MISSING RELATIVES
Hamadpis Liphshitz Press, Jerusalem
NOTE ON LIST No. I DRAWN UP BY THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
OF POLISH JEWRY IN WARSAW
The Statistical Department has a card index which was compiled on the basis
of material supplied to it by the Jewish Local Councils in the various townlets
and districts. From the moment that the offices of these Councils were opened,
the Jewish population in each place spontaneously poured in for registration.
During the first period of mass registration, when material was collected
without any plan, and without any regard to accepted modes of registration, the
manner in which the various local committees were set up differed widely
according to the time of their establishment. Before the Central Committee in
Warsaw had yet been able to take control of the whole work and give it central
direction, the first registration had already been completed all over Poland.
Anyone who regarded himself as a Jew, anyone who came out from bunkers and
hiding-places, asked to be registered. Even persons who declared themselves to
be of Polish nationality- and of not being attached to the Jewish community
registered with the Jewish Council as this was regarded the only way of tracing
In some cases persons only gave their first names, family names and present address without adding any other data. The first List, which was drawn up in a most superficial manner, was in fact, the most comprehensive, because it comprised the entire Jewish population. On their journeys from one place to another in Poland these persons registered with every Local Council. Later on, the lists were everywhere compiled in accordance with accepted statistical - standards, but by that time the first spontaneous rush for registration had ceased. This was in some cases due to fear of anti-Semitism and to growing anxiety to hide the fact of being a Jew. In other cases it was the result of persons having meanwhile made contact with their lost relatives. For the most part, however, the waning interest in the registration was due to neglect and failure to appreciate the importance of the matter. Now there is again a steady flow of applicants for registration reminiscent of the first response. This is due to the return of persons from abroad, in particular those coming from the various camps who are anxiously looking for their surviving relatives.
It is probable that the new registration which has now been decided upon by the Central Committee of Polish Jewry will be designed to include everybody, among them also those who were not comprised within the last registration. Effective measures will be taken to ensure this. Nevertheless, there can be little doubt that as in the case of every other census, a certain percentage of persons will not be included. The Central Committee, in working up the material and statistical data, has certainly not omitted any name which appeared in the List even though the data given are too meager to enable a definite identification of the person concerned. It goes without saying that when many persons have the same first name and family name and one of them has failed to provide exact additional data, he may or may not be the person looked for. If his name were omitted from the List the result be that the relative searching for him might arrive at the erroneous conclusion that he was not alive, inasmuch as the exact data provided by the other persons of the same name make it clear who they are. It is for this reason that we have included all names which at one time or other appeared in the list of registration.
The alphabetical list which follows hereunder was compiled on the basis of all the material collected from the first moment of the liberation of Polish territory to the 1st June 1945. This list includes 60,933 names. Of these 55,187 were found alive in Poland itself and the remaining were prisoners and camp inmates.
The other lists which have so far been received still require verification. The alphabetical list No. 1 comprises material which has been carefully checked up. As stated above, it happened in many cases that the identical persons were registered in various places. Where it was possible to establish this fact definitely, the names were excluded from the List. Where this could not be definitely established, the names remained in the List. It is estimated that the number of person who appear more than once in the List represents about 4% of the whole.
The alphabetical list comprises the following columns:
The alphabetical list follows the
accepted phonetical order.
1. For reasons connected with Polish phonetics:
a' follows after a e' -"- e c' -"- c l' -"- l n' -"- n o' -"- o s' -"- s z' -"- z
2. For phonetical and other reasons the following rules of transcription have been observed:
Owing to various technical defects and delays the above rules were not observed in the case names of similar sound. Thus persons of the name of Silberberg may be found both under Zylberberg and Silberberg. The same applies to Singer (Zynger) and Silberman (Zylberman), Zymerman (Cymerman), Zimer (Zymer), Zweibaum (Cwajbaum).
Filips is transcribed as Philips.
Similarly, the alphabetical, and not the phonetical order, has been observed in the case of the following names: Maczek, Maka, Gasior, Labedz.
3. In some cases names of similar sound appear together while in other cases they appear under different heads. Thus both Posner and Pozner appear under Posner: but Prezman and Presman appear separately.
foreign names (such as Silbersmith, Swani, Aandagt, Zsigmonde) are arranged in
In all foreign names V is transcribed w.
CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF POLISH JEWRY IN WARSAW