JewishGen, Inc.
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Fax: (713) 522-7599

January 29, 1998

Susan E. King ( (713) 522-7599 (FAX)
John Garrard (


JewishGen, Inc., a non-profit corporation and the leading internet site for Jewish genealogy, has been selected as the web host for the Phoenix Project, a database culled from the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission Archives.

The first phase of the project is a list of more than 12,000 persons 14 years and older who were required by the Nazis to obtain photo identification cards in order to live in the Brest ghetto. This archive was brought to the U.S. by Louis Pozez. Mr. Pozez's desire was to fund further research in Brest and to foster development of an accessible database.

When the material first reached Professor John Garrard (Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Arizona), he obtained a grant from the Louis and Ruthann Pozez Philanthropic Fund of the Tucson (Arizona) Jewish Community Foundation and asked graduate research assistant Phillip Hammonds to digitize the list of names. It was Dr. Garrard who named the project Phoenix, to signify his plan to recover Holocaust victims' names and as much information as possible about them and their families. He stated, 'in this way we prevent them from dying a second death through neglect."

The newly formed alliance between the University of Arizona and JewishGen, Inc. not only provides worldwide access to this material, but also permits expansion of the files with eyewitness testimony and recollections of relatives now living throughout the world who will be locating the material through the internet. Of particular note and a first for JewishGen, the new searchable database now includes direct hyperlinks to the original source documents as retrieved from the archives, which are stored in scanned image files.

This represents only the first of many databases that will come from the archive, held by the Extraordinary State Commission on Atrocities Committed by the Nazis and their Accomplices. For example, names of Brest children have not yet been recovered, and preliminary research indicates that there are many other lists of victims that can be accessed and digitized.

The Phoenix Project, including any future databases emanating from the same archive, will be maintained by JewishGen volunteers. It is the intention of JewishGen to make the current database as well as any future information available to the Jewish world through its website Brest passport photos are not digitized and are available at Yad Vashem and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Professor Garrard is creating a Phoenix Project database at the University of Arizona providing additional background information from former Soviet archives and other sources.

He previously published two separate lists of victims from Berdichev, Ukraine, featured in his book "The Bones of Berdichev" (co-authored with his wife Carol) and in his article, "The Nazi Holocaust in the Soviet Union: Interpreting Newly Opened Russian Archives" (East European Jewish Affairs, vol. 25, no. 2., 1995, pp 3-40. These lists, along with other details about the victims from the Extraordinary State Commission archive, will be added to The Phoenix Project database.

JewishGen, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporaton. The JewishGen website averages nearly 1,000,000 hits a month. Tens of thousands now utilize the internet services of JewishGen, spanning all continents.

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