Lublin, Poland: Seized Property Cards Index - 1940s
Introduction by Robinn Magid
The Jews of Poland owned property throughout the Lublin region by the time that the Germans invaded Eastern Poland in September of 1939. This area included not only the city of Lublin, whose population was 35 percent Jewish on the eve of the Shoah (Holocaust), but approximately 90 other towns and cities in the area where large and small industry, homes, cottages and apartment buildings were often owned in whole or in part by Jews.
German handling and management of plundered property varied by region within the "annexed lands". In the Lublin region, the Treuhandstellen ("Trustee Board") of the Nazi "General Government" has not been as well-studied as other regions; however, it is known to have differed from the other "Trustee Boards" in that it most often employed a complex "commissionary management" system for these looted assets rather than trying to sell them. Rural wooden houses were the exception within their system because they were difficult to rent and easy prey for looters searching for fire wood. Therefore, rural homes were generally auctioned off or sold for building materials. The management of these confiscated Jewish properties, including rural houses is documented by the Seized Property Cards.
The Lublin Area Seized Property Cards are primarily written in German and are part of the collection of the Polish State Archives. The original cards are kept at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland (Fond 253/2). They were acquired from the Central Jewish Historical Commission in 1947 and provide an important yet incomplete record of the robbery of Jewish property in the Lublin district. As found, they were organized by the first letter of the name of the town in which the property was located. Very few of the properties represented by the cards were within the city of Lublin. And often, the owner of the property lived in a different city or town than the location of their property.
Each card represents one distinct property and may include information about the owners, absentee landlords, mortgage holders, tenants prior and after confiscation, and even heirs. Some of these properties were communal in nature as indicated by listing "the Jewish Community" or "old synagogue" as the "owner". Over 2,000 distinct surnames are represented in the file.
Family relationship between people is often mentioned on the card and this has been faithfully transcribed in the "Additional Data" column where possible. Occasionally, a birthplace or maiden name is mentioned on the card, and we have made all these names and places searchable. Specific data often includes what percentage of the property was "Jewish-owned", the exact location and detailed description of the buildings on the site, and notes about when it was identified, confiscated, vacated, sold off or demolished.
Curiously, there are almost 300 towns mentioned in the Seized Property Cards, and these include the foreign places in which owners or heirs lived. Thus, the confiscated property list may illuminate the emigration destination of particular family members prior to the invasion of Poland. It is also interesting to note that many people who had emigrated still owned property in the Lublin region after they had settled in other countries.
This database includes only the Jewish people that we identified on the cards. Each Jewish person mentioned on a card appears as a separate entry in this database. As such it includes 5,081 entries - each person a party to the ownership of a specific property. The fields for this database are as follows:
The Seized Property Cards are part of the Lublin collection maintained by the Polish State Archives, a copy of which was given to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The original cards are maintained by the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. It is possible to email them or to visit them in person in Warsaw at the Emmanuel Ringelblum Family Heritage Center. Madeleine Sann, a JRI-Poland and JewishGen volunteer, performed the detailed data entry portion for this project.
Special thanks to Peter Landé, Robinn Magid, Stanley Diamond, and Jewish Records Indexing - Poland for organizing the material for typing. Thanks (special kudos) are due to Madeleine Sann and her cousins for deciphering and translating even the nuances in the building descriptions from these cards. Their dedication to this project was incredible. Thanks also to Tadeusz Przystojecki for researching the historical significance of these cards and performing fact checking of this introduction with Emil Majuk.
In addition, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible. Special thanks to Avraham Groll, Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy. Particular thanks to Nolan Altman, Vice President of Data Acquisition and Coordinator of JewishGen’s Holocaust Database files.
Searching the Database
Last Update: 12 Mar 2019 by WSB.