Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Remains of Israeli MIA Found After 61 Years

Sixty one years after he was declared missing, the remains of a soldier were discovered buried in Jerusalem's military cemetery under a different name.
A report in Yedioth Aharonoth Tuesday said the remains of Yaakov Aviad were discovered in the Mount Herzl military cemetery.
Since the War of Independence, Aviad has been missing, his burial site unknown, the paper said.
"Every year I passed by the grave site when attending the annual remembrance day ceremony for Israel's fallen. It never entered my mind my father was buried there," Yehuda Aviad said.
Aviad was born in Yemen and at the age of 20 immigrated to Israel. With the founding of the state of Israel, he joined the army and fell in the battle against Jordanian soldiers at Jerusalem's Mandelbaum Gate in July 1948, the paper said. At the time military officials said Yaakov was buried under the rubble, and declared him missing, place of burial unknown.
In 2004 there was a breakthrough after it was discovered the bodies of two men with similar names had been taken to a Jerusalem hospital, and later buried at the Mount Herzl cemetery at the time of the battle, the paper said. (UPI)

Click here to read the entire article.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Audio tape helps family find Lodz grave of relatives

A 20-year-old audio tape made by his father has allowed a Boston man and his family to discover the graves of grandparents killed in the Holocaust, which they plan to visit for the first time next week.
"All of my mother's relatives, besides one surviving sister, were killed by the Nazis," explained Dr. Isaac Perle in a phone interview with The Jerusalem Post this week. His great-grandparents, Faivel and Hinda Schattan, died in the Lodz Ghetto in 1941 and 1942.
"About 75 people would go into the back of the van" the Nazis would herd them into, Perle explained. Inside they were gassed and "driven into the woods, where the bodies were burned."
Perle's mother and aunt escaped to America, never to be heard from and did not form any connection with their lost relatives. But recently, an unlikely set of circumstances paved the way for Perle and his family to discover the graves of Faivel and Hinda.
In 1988, Perle's father, Bendet Perle, traveled to Poland. He brought a cassette tape recorder with him and recorded his impressions and memories, unearthed by the familiar location. On his return to the US, the tape was put into storage.
Long after Bendet passed away, Isaac made a half-hour DVD about a trip he took to Poland. In the process, he found the long-forgotten tape and used it to add his father's voice onto the DVD. As the family listened to the tape, a discovery was made.
"My father was at the cemetery discussing the location of my mother's grandparents' grave," Isaac recalled. His mother, Helen, then contacted the Lodz Jewish Cemetery. "They ended up finding the original files," he said.
It turned out that the grandparents were buried in individual graves in the cemetery. The graves were marked, but they lacked headstones, which is what made them so difficult to find. Isaac, his mother, siblings, and nephew, are traveling to Poland next week to visit the graves. (JPOST)

Click here to read the entire article and here to visit the Lodz ShtetLink page

Small Jewish Community Still Remains in Syria

Even though most of his friends and relatives have left, Albert Cameo says he will never abandon Syria.

"My family has always been here," said Cameo, 68, a retired tailor and president of Syria's estimated 200-member Jewish community. "It's important for some of us to stay here to keep our traditions."

Most Jewish Syrians left in waves after the creation of Israel in 1948 and the enactment of harsh Syrian laws barring them from owning property, withdrawing funds from bank accounts and traveling.

Many Syrian Jews migrated to the United States. But others are scattered around the globe, residing in Europe, Israel and Latin America. Those who stayed behind say they did so because of advanced age, health issues, reluctance to move or unwillingness to face an uncertain future.

Today, a reporter must solicit permission from both the ministry of information and Syrian intelligence service to visit the lone functioning synagogue in the old Jewish Quarter in Damascus, which at its height had some 20 temples. The neighborhood is characterized by abandoned and dilapidated buildings and shuttered storefronts.

"It is very depressing to walk down the empty streets," said Allaham.
Most Jews arrived in Syria after being expelled from Spain in 1492 for refusing to convert to Christianity.

At its height, the Jewish community in Damascus had 20 synagogues. But life for many became intolerable with the onset of the international Zionist movement and the anti-Jewish sentiment that followed throughout the Middle East.

After the creation of Israel in 1948, some 860,000 Jews were forced to flee their native lands and properties in Arab nations in an exodus that didn't end until around 1970.

Jews were stripped of their citizenship in Egypt, Iraq, Algeria and Libya; detained or arrested in Algeria, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Egypt; deprived of employment by government decrees in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Algeria, and had their property confiscated in all Arab countries except Morocco, according to Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, a New York-based alliance of 27 Jewish organizations.

Anti-Jewish riots were widespread. In Syria, pogroms in 1947 drove 7,000 of 10,000 Jewish residents of the city of Aleppo into exile. Subsequent laws barred Jews from purchasing and selling land and froze their bank accounts. Syria's Judaic treasures were smuggled out, including a Bible written in 1260 known as the Aleppo Codex that is now in the National Library in Jerusalem.

For those who remained in Syria, the situation changed dramatically after President Hafez Assad assumed power in a bloodless coup in 1970 and lifted restrictive laws under intense U.S. pressure. The word Mossawi - Arabic for follower of Moses - was removed from Syrian Jews' identity cards. Domestic travel restrictions were lifted, as were restrictions on Jewish businesses and the buying and selling of property.

Today, only about 200 Jews remain in Syria, mostly elderly and almost all Damascus residents. (SFGATE)
Click here to read the entire artcile.
UPDATE: Visit the JewishGen Sefardic SIG to learn more about Jews from Syria.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Holocaust Memorial in Przemysl Synagogue

The Polish city of Przemysl commemorated Jews murdered in the Holocaust on Tuesday in a ceremony held at what was once the town's synagogue. The building, established in 1910, was confiscated by the Polish government after the war and used as a library.

Among those present was Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund, who was behind the effort to commemorate the synagogue. Freund described himself as “deeply moved” at the event, and called on the descendents of European Jews to ensure that European Jewish heritage is preserved.

Freund also called on local officials to return historic Jewish property to the Jewish community. Other Jewish sites he named include the town's Jewish cemetery and the grounds of a synagogue.

"We cannot change the past, but we can – and must – do it justice,” Freund said. “The time has come for the city of Przemysl to return the Jewish communal property in its hands to the Jewish people.”

An estimated 20,000 Jews lived in Przemysl prior to the Holocaust. Most were killed in the Holocaust, and few Jews remain in the area.

Tuesday's ceremony was also attended by Israeli ambassador to Poland Tzvi Rav-Ner, local officials, a representative from the United States consulate, and European Jewish activists. (INN)

Click here to read the entire article and here to read translated parts of the Przemysl Yizkor Book.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Afghan Synagogue Now a School


 Afghan school children wait outside The Yu Aw, an old synagogue in Herat city on June 8, 2009.
Photograph by: Mohammad Shoiab, Reuters
HERAT, Afghanistan - Behind a parade of old mud brick shops, through narrow winding alleys, a tiny door opens onto a sundrenched courtyard, where school children giggle and play alongside the ghosts of Afghanistan's Jewish past.
The Yu Aw is one of four synagogues in the old quarter of Herat city in west Afghanistan, which after decades of abandonment and neglect, has been restored to provide desperately-needed space for an infant school.
When Israel was founded in 1948, the estimated 280 Jewish families that lived in Herat began leaving. Today, there are no Jews left in the city and only one left in the entire country, the last remnant of a community that dates back some 2,500 years.
"Before this was a community centre and school it was a synagogue for the Jewish families who lived in the area," said Fatemeh Nezary, a teacher and supervisor of the school. The children don't know, they are too young to understand right now," she said, pointing towards her small class of doe-eyed five-year old girls and boys.
The Herat synagogue, over a century old, is comprised of a modest stone courtyard framed by a series of small rooms including a main prayer room which still has a raised platform where the torah would have been read. Parts of the prayer room's high ceilings are decorated in painted Persian-style floral patterns and motifs.
The "mikvah," an echoey underground chamber underneath the courtyard, has also been restored. Decades of rubbish was gutted from its cavity to reveal a natural pool of water which is thought to have been used for bathing rituals.
"Wherever possible we try and put back the elements. We can't put back what we don't find, some of the buildings have been stripped," said Jolyon Leslie, a South African architect who leads restoration projects in Herat's old city on behalf of the Agha Khan Trust for Culture. "What we're trying to do is protect as many old historical monuments as possible. Whether it's a mosque whether it's an ex-synagogue like this or whether it's a hamam, to try and put them in public use," Leslie said. "It's important that Heratis understand for future generations that this was a very rich society in the sense of its religious diversity and it's pluralism," he added.

Where Jewish prayers once rang out, now Afghan children chant nursery rhymes. The platform where the torah would have been read is left undisturbed to bask in warm sunshine which floods through wide, arched bay windows.
Three other synagogues in the same neighbourhood are being renovated. Two will also be used as schools for children living in the neighbourhood. The third is now a mosque for the residents who live in a cluster of simple, centuries-old abodes.
Afghanistan's once thriving community is believed to trace its roots to the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests in 720 B.C. and 560 B.C. when exiled Jews moved to what is now Iraq, Iran and neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan. By 1992, when the Soviet-backed communist leadership in Kabul collapsed, the community disappeared from Herat. A few have since returned to re-visit the refurbished relics of their past.
"Jewish visitors from abroad, even Herat Jews from abroad, have come back to visit these places and there's a sense of them re-owning these properties and being very proud to see them restored," Leslie said. He recalled a recent visit by a Herati Jewish family who had travelled from Canada to visit Yu Aw. They sobbed when they saw the restored synagogue. 
A few kilometres away from the old quarter, an Afghan boy unlocks a heavy wrought-iron door to an open field where overgrown thorn bushes and weeds breed unchecked around craggy and windswept white marble tombs inscribed with Hebrew.
The family which has taken care of the cemetery for the past 150 years continue to do their best to protect it, but since Herat's Jews left, they are no longer paid for the work.
"When my grandfather worked here, they were still here and they gave him a salary. But then when the security situation got bad the last of them moved to London. And so our salary was stopped," Jalilahmed Abdelaziz said, adding that the cemetery contained about 1,000 graves. Through three decades of conflict and the rule of the austere Islamist Taliban, Abdelaziz's family guarded the site, which is off a dirt track lined with Muslim cemeteries.
The Taliban, though responsible for harassing the family at times, resisted damaging the graves.
"The Taliban were not the worst of our problems. We had neighbours who would try and desecrate the graves or steal the stones, they were the worst, but we would tell them to stop and tell them what they were doing was unIslamic," Abdelaziz said.

UPDATE: Click here to view photos of the Yu Aw Synagogue before it was restored.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

IAJGS 2009 Conference Update

Posted By Ann Feder Lee
We are delighted to announce that the entertainment for the Philly2009 Banquet will be Yisrael Campbell  -- widely regarded as a premiere standup comedian in Israel -- he's an original and erudite comedian who has lived in Jerusalem and now lives in New York City. However, the journey that led Yisrael to The Holy Land began a long time ago in a place far, far away: he actually was born "Christopher Campbell," raised Catholic, and grew up in Philadelphia.  For more about Yisrael, see his website at www.yisraelcampbell.com or check under "program" at www.philly2009.org.
Yisrael will certainly entertain us ---laughing will be a wonderful way to end the very hectic conference week. We are lucky that he has agreed to be with us. This is a banquet you will not want to miss! It will take place on Thursday, August 6.
If you have already registered, and want to add 1 or more banquet tickets to your registration, please go to the conference website, www.philly2009.org and click on "Registration Update." You will need the login and password you received when you registered.  Once you are logged in, click on "optional program" at the left.... you will then see all the possible optional programs and can select those you want. You may bring a guest who is not registered for the conference to the banquet.
If you have not registered, please do so now and sign up for optional programs while there is still space.  You may check on-site to see if any tickets are still available for different optional programs ( but you may not be able to obtain what you want if they are all gone).
See you there!
Anne Feder Lee
David Mink
Philly2009 Co-Chairs

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hitler's Children


Posted By Ann Rabinowitz
Recently, I received a message about a documentary film project entitled “Hitler’s Children” which is being produced by Israeli documentary director and producer Chanoch Ze’evi. The project is expected to elicit a mesmerizing dialogue between the children of the Hitler’s elite perpetrators such as Himmler, Frank, Goering, and von Ribbentrop, and the children of Holocaust survivors. It proposes to be a riveting discussion of how these children have come to terms with the crimes of their parents, uncles and grandparents.

Some of the children have met Jews for the first time, some have married children of Holocaust survivors and others have been sterilized so that their family name is brought to an end. The children, now adults, are to be brought to Israel to meet with the children of Holocaust survivors for an interaction and resolution, if possible.

The project can both be read about and viewed in detail on the following site: www.mayapro10.com. The film clip on the web site is a must see to get an impression of the way in which the film will play out when finished. It is a remarkable search for answers and perhaps some closure for those involved. Well worth watching the clip.

In addition to this film project, a book was produced by Gerald Posner in 1991entitled “Hitler’s Children: Sons and Daughters of Leaders of the Third Reich Talk About Themselves and Their Fathers”. It was the first attempt to obtain interviews with a dozen of the children of the Nazi elite. An excerpt can be found at the following site: http://www.posner.com/book4.htm.

Jewish Roots in a remote corner of the Amazon

IQUITOS, Peru — If Ronald Reátegui Levy someday finds that he is the last Jew of Iquitos, it may well be of his own doing.

His dream, which he has vigorously pursued, is to persuade the descendants of Sephardic merchants who settled in this remote corner of the Amazon basin more than a century ago to reaffirm their ties to Judaism and emigrate to Israel.

“It is getting very lonely here,” said Mr. Reátegui Levy, 52, an inspector at Peru’s national oil company, referring to the more than 400 descendants of Jewish pioneers who have formally converted to Judaism this decade, including about 160 members of his immediate and extended family. Nearly all of them now live in Israel.

Until recently, such a rebirth of Judaism here seemed unlikely. The history of Jews in Iquitos, dating from the late-19th-century rubber boom that transformed this far-flung Amazonian outpost into a once thriving city of imported Italian marble and a theater designed by Gustave Eiffel, was almost forgotten.

But Mr. Reátegui Levy and a handful of others began organizing the descendants of dozens of Jews from places as varied as Morocco, Gibraltar, Malta, England and France who had settled here and deeper in the jungle, opening trading houses and following their star in search of riches and adventure.

The rubber trade collapsed, and fortunes here and upriver in the Brazilian city of Manaus vanished. Some Jewish immigrants perished young, succumbing to diseases like cholera. A few stayed, marrying local women and raising families. Others returned home, leaving behind descendants who clung to a belief that they were Jews.

“It was astounding to discover that in Iquitos there existed this group of people who were desperate to reconnect to their roots and re-establish ties to the broader Jewish world,” said Lorry Salcedo Mitrani, the director of a new documentary, “The Fire Within,” about the Jews of the Peruvian Amazon.

“We were isolated for so many decades, living on the jungle’s edge in a Catholic society without rabbis or a synagogue, in which all we had were some vague notions of what it meant to be Jewish,” Mr. Reátegui Levy said.

“But when I was a child, my mother told me something that forever burned into my mind,” he said. “She told me, ‘You are a Jew, and you are never to forget that.’ ”

Iquitos lies four degrees south of the Equator, reachable only by boat or plane. Isolation, intermarriage and assimilation nearly wiped out the vestiges of Judaism here. Storefronts chiseled with Jewish surnames like Foinquinos and Cohen, and a cemetery ravaged by vandals, served as some of the few reminders of the community that once thrived here. (
NYTimes)

Click here to read the entire article.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Resource Room Databases at the IAJGS Conference

The Resource Room Databases at the 29th International IAJGS Conference are still being worked on as we were waiting to post the list until some outstanding requests were finalized. Hopwever, there were inquiries and we are listing those which are confirmed, thus far, and when additional databases are confirmed a final list will be noticed.

Here is the list of confirmed databases on our 28 Resource Room Computers:-
Ancestry.com-
British Newspapers from the British Library-
FindMyPast.com/AncestorsonBoard.com-
Footnote.com-
Godfrey Library (without Newspaper Archive and World Vital Records)-
JewishGen.org-
NewsBank.com-
NewspaperArchive.com-
ProQuest (due to economy, as ProQuest has to pay the newspapers for theunlimited access, they will provide access to their databases only on oneday - that day will be announced later)- United States Holocaust Memorial Musuem-
World Vital Records.com

In addition, there will be a folder on each of the Resource Room Computers entitled, "Selected Genealogical Websites". It is not all encompassing ,but has many websites that should be of interest and helpful to the conference attendees. The subfolders include:-
General Interest-
Government Archives With Documents On-Line-
European and South African Websites-
Holocaust Websites- Israel Websites-
Latin America Websites-
Maps-
Newspapers (not covered in those above)-
Sephardic Websites-
United States Websites
Jan Meisels Allen
Resource Room Computer Database Manager
Director, IAJGS

NARA (USA) Proposal to Change Hours For NYC and Kansas City Regional Archives

In the June 12th Federal Register, the National Archives (USA) proposed tochange the open hours of the Kansas City , Missouri and New York CityRegional Archives.The New York City, the proposed hours are: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month, 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (40 hours per week, plus 7.5 extended hours per month). This is a reduction of 2.5 hours per week and 30 minutes per month (for the Saturday). The current hours are: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.until 4:30 p.m. and the first Saturday of each month from 8:30 a.m. until4:30 p.m. (42.5 hours per week, plus 8 extended hours per month). The proposal is based on a study which is included in the proposed rule of hours that visitors arrive at the Archives.

For Kansas City, Missouri the Regional Archive recently relocated and the proposed rule includes the new address and the new research room hours, 8a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. The new hours correspond with public hours for other institutions in the Union Station/ Crossroads cultural district.

Comments need to be submitted by August 11, 2009. Please include ''Attn: 3095-AB61'' and your name and mailing address in your comments. Comments may be submitted by e-mail, fax, mail or courier. For instructions on where and how to send your comments please see the proposed rule.http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-14009.pdf
Jan Meisels Allen Director, IAJGS
andChairperson, Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ann Rabinowitz Interview Now Online

As a follow-up to this post, you can now listen to the Ann Rabinowitz interview online, at no charge, by clicking here.

The Yiddish Thing - Life In The Shtetl - Kupiskis, Lithuania

Posted By Ann Rabinowitz

Kupiskis Wall of Memory Holocaust Memorial
July 13, 2004

Recently, a new Jewish Radio Station was created called ChaiFM 101.9 in Johannesburg, South Africa (www.chaifm.com).  One of the interesting weekly programming choices on ChaiFM is hosted by Eli Goldstein and called “The Yiddish Thing – Life in the Shtetl”.  The program focuses on shtetls in Lithuania and other countries as well as towns in South Africa where Jews lived and discusses issues of the Yiddish language, culture and music.  In the past, Eli has interviewed individuals about Rokiskis, Lithuania, and other shtetls as well as former Litvak SIG President Howard Margol. 

With the capability of audio streaming, and the ability to text, e-mail or call into the program, anyone, anywhere in the world, can participate in the program which means it has come to have a worldwide audience.

During the Sunday, June 14, 2009, program, Mr. Goldstein conducted interviews with three separate individuals.  The first segment was an interview with myself and dealt with Kupiskis, Lithuania, my ancestral shtetl.  Then, there was a segment with an interview with Aaron Lansky, founder and President of the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA.  
A final segment featured Elona Steinfeld, who is involved with the Country Communities Project, South African Friends of Beit Hatefutsoth, which has produced a series of books dealing with the small places in South Africa where Jews lived.  Her focus on this program was Parys, South Africa.  She and I had met whilst she was doing research on the place my family had settled in South Africa, Bot Rivier. 

During my segment, I read from an unpublished autobiography of Miriam Sachar Fendel.  The excerpt had shown the pain felt at parting when family left Lithuania for other faraway places.  Another reading was from a short story about Mendel-Leib Rabinowitz who was able to answer a kashe (a question about the torah) from two young students, Ephraim Oshry (later Rabbi Oshry) and Shlomo Kodesh. 

I had a call in from Cedric Ginsburg, Professor of Classical, Near and Far Eastern and Religious Studies at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, South Africa.  Whilst he was not a Kupiskis descendant, he was interested in the Holocaust and its impact on the shtetl and asked about the Yizkor Book for the town.  I could provide him with information on how to get a copy of the Yizkor book which had been written by the late Stanley Mayersohn.  Other individuals e-mailed me and called after the program, all interested in their actual connections to Kupiskis.
One of the serendipitous contacts was Les Melamed who missed the program as he was in the process of flying home to Canada at the time.  Upon reaching home, he sent me a photo of his great aunt's tombstone in Parys, South Africa.  His great aunt, Rachel Alufovitz Wunsh,  was born in Kupiskis and coincidentally lived and died in Parys, the town which was also under discussion on the program. 


It happened that the short story I read on the program was about Mendel Leib Rabinowitz whose wife Mina was Rachel’s sister.  Mendel Leib’s entire family had been killed in the Holoucast in 1941, but here was a branch of his wife’s family who survived as they had managed to reach South Africa years before.
Rachel Alufovitz Wunsh, Born Kupiskis, Lithuania
Sister of Mina Alufovitz Rabinowitz
Parys, South Africa

This information was transferred to Elona Steinfeld, who can now add this to her research on the families of Parys, South Africa, and use it in the next Country Communities book which will encompass that area.

The availability of such programs as this can be added to the arsenal of tools which genealogists can utilize to learn more about their ancestry.  This particular program and the segment about Kupiskis can be listened to by clicking here.
You can also learn more about Kupiskis by going to JewishGen’s ShtetLinks site. The site includes a section about the Holocaust and excerpts from the Yizkor Book as well as many photos and information about Kupiskis families.

For those interested in learning more about various shtetls and also places in South Africa, the next program on ChaiFM will cover interviews with Deena Berton, Board of Directors, LitvakSIG, who is researching the shtetl of Pikeliai and Abel Nathan and his brother Dr. Mossie Nathan of Vrede, South Africa, on Sunday, June 21, 2009, at 16:30 p.m. Johannesburg time, and 10:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time in America.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

IAJGS 2009 Conference Update

Posted By Ann Feder Lee
Anyone planning to attend the 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Philadelphia, who wants their family research names/towns in the conference family finder, must register by 12 midnight, U.S. Central Time on June 21, 2009.
Why: in order to meet an earlier deadline set by our printer than originally planned.
Anyone wanting to update their family research names/towns already submitted must do so by 12 midnight, U. S. Central Pacific Time on June 21, 2009.
Why?  Please see above.
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause -- but it is imperative that we meet the printer's schedule.
 
Thanks for your attention to this matter.  We look forward to seeing everyone at what will be a super conference.
Anne Feder Lee
David Mink
Philly2009 Co-Chairs
Information@philly2009.org

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Savior of Jews in Holocaust gets Tel Aviv burial

The ashes of a Polish man who saved 12 Jews during the Holocaust were buried in the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv Tuesday, along with those of his wife.
Warsaw native Jerzy Wunsche hid the Jews, who had escaped the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, in an apartment he rented especially for that purpose. Two of the people he saved in 1943, Yosef Atlasowicz and Miriam Sherman, attended the funeral. Wunsche raised Sherman, who was a baby at the time, for three years after World War II ended; he then handed her over to the Jewish Agency.
Wunsche, who moved to England and Monaco after the war, died about a year ago. At that point, his family discovered that in his will, he had asked to be buried under the tree planted in his honor at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. His wife Zofia, who died afterward, asked to be buried beside him.
However, burial at Yad Vashem proved impossible, so the museum and Atlasowicz instead arranged for the couple's burial in the portion of the Kiryat Shaul cemetery reserved for righteous gentiles, the term used for non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust. His family flew to Israel for the unusual ceremony.
"He was a very modest man," said Wunsche's son, John. "He thought what he was doing was normal, and that everyone should have done it." (Haaretz)

Click here to read the entire article.

Tracking Down the Secret Jews of the Southwest

Click here to read the interesting article over at the Jewish Exponent.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hungarian Vital Records

One of the many virtues of helping to transcribe the Hungarian Vital Records is the opportunity to come across records of historical value.
One such record is the birth register for
Theodor HERZL, born in Budapest on 2-May-1860 
to Jacob HERZL and Jeanette DIAMANT.
If you would like to help unearth more such treasures by helping to transcribe Hungarian Vital Records, please get in touch me by clicking here. 

Amazing discoveries await those who participate!
Malvern, PA

Survivor donates items smuggled from Nazi death camp

A 95-year-old Auschwitz survivor donated jewelery he took from the clothing of Jews who were gassed to death at the Nazi camp to Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum on Monday. 
Polish-born Meyer Hack, who now lives in Boston, found the gems while sorting the clothing of victims sent to die in the gas chambers, which was his job at the camp where his mother, brother and two sisters perished. He hid the eight rings, watches and brooches of diamond and gold beneath his barracks.
Hack said he took the jewels with him stuffed in a sock on what was known as a winter's "death march" from the camp in Poland to Dachau camp, near Munich, in Germany, in January 1945. He escaped Dachau and hid until World War Two ended.
As he handed over the jewelery to the museum, Hack told of his experiences at Auschwitz, where he survived for more than two years as hundreds of thousands of others died. "Anne Frank wrote a famous diary, my diary is deep in my heart. There is no detergent in the world that can erase my diary," Hack said.
Hack, among hundreds of Polish Jews deported from his home town of Ciechanow, broke down as he spoke about how he had to sort and bundle the clothes of victims forced to disrobe before they were gassed.
He said he had walked passed the open doors of the gas chambers and seen bodies piled up and the victims' bloodied faces, apparently from clawing each other to get out. He saw the bodies of a woman and baby she had been nursing.

Yehudit Shenhav, an official at Yad Vashem, said the museum has collected some 22,000 artifacts from survivors such as Hack, and that many handed them over in later life as a way to record their ordeal.
German officers executed prisoners caught with any smuggled items and Hack watched three friends hanged for similar deeds.

Click here to read the entire article.

Hero who defied the Nazis

A Polish pensioner honoured for risking his life to hide Jews during the Holocaust told his remarkable story on a visit to Manchester.
Jozef Mironiuk, 85, joined the ranks of Oscar Schindler - the inspiration behind the film Schindler's List - when he was awarded the title Righteous among the Nations. The honour is given by Israel to those who saved Jewish lives during the Second World War.
Mr Mironiuk risked the death penalty for his entire family to hide three men on their farm for 18 months, creating a secret room and an underground bunker to keep them from concentration camps. He was 19 at the time and the eldest of eight brothers and sisters.
Speaking at Manchester Jewish Museum, where he was launching the Polish Heroes exhibition, he said: "I was constantly afraid. I slept in my shoes and clothes, ready to escape if the Germans came to arrest me. In such times there are a lot of heroes. But I do not consider myself a hero.
"It was a natural thing for us. These Jews in the camps were Poles. It was a natural thing to help other Poles.

"A few times we were close to being caught. One time my young sister was playing in the courtyard and keeping guard. The Germans came and the dogs were leading them to the barn. She knew what it meant and was so scared she started crying and trembling and shaking.
"She wet herself and the Germans felt like they were kings of the world because they had made this young girl so terrified. They laughed and kicked her and forgot about the dogs. That was the closest moment."
Mr Mironiuk, who became the head of his family after his father was beaten to death by Nazis, gave shelter to the three men, who had escaped from a slave labour camp. They stayed in hiding until 1944 when the front line moved.
The three men survived and eventually moved to the US. Mr Mironiuk, a retired engineer, now tells his story to groups from around the world. "The message is simple," he said. "Do whatever you can to make sure there's peace. War is evil. It takes the best years of people's lives and never gives it back. It's much harder to find a friend during war so have friends now then they will help you. It was not bread or milk these people needed, it was survival."

Click here to read the entire article

IAJGS 2009 Conference Update


Posted By Anne Feder Lee

We are pleased to let you know that all optional programs are now on the conference website and you can purchase tickets for those you want to attend.
To obtain your tickets to these fee based programs, please visit www.Philly2009.org and click on Registration Update. You will need your User ID and Password received in the e-mail confirmation for your registration to proceed. Click on optional programs and select those you want to attend.
Listed below is the complete list.  You will see that there are fascinating Breakfasts with Experts, interesting SIG Luncheons, helpful Computer Workshops and other special Workshops.  There are some wonderful tours being offered as well as trips to cemeteries for research.
We encourage you to sign up for the Welcome Dinner so you can meet people and start networking. We also hope that you will come to the Banquet to enjoy a final evening together with new and old friends and to celebrate the announcement of the 2009 Achievement Award winners.
All of these optional programs will enhance your conference experience.

Important Note: The deadline for purchasing tickets is Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm US central time.  Should you purchase a ticket and then wish to cancel your reservation, you must do so before Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm US central time for a full refund.  No refunds will be made for cancellations after that date. You may check at the registration desk once the conference has started to find out if any tickets are still available for purchase.
Please see the conference website for more details about these programs:
  • Welcome Dinner and Get-Together $65.00, Saturday, August 1, 2009: Saturday, August 1, 7:00 pm  
  • Breakfast With The Expert - Philadelphia Research with Steve Schecter, $29.00, Monday, August 3, 2009:  7:00 am - 8:00 am 
  • Breakfast With The Expert - Ukraine Research with Miriam Weiner and Olga Muzychuk, $29.00, Monday, August 3, 2009:  7:00 am - 8:00 am       
  • Breakfast With The Expert - Galician Research with Suzan Wynne, $29.00, Tuesday, August 4: 7:00 am - 8:00 am 
  • Breakfast With The Expert - German Research with Roger Lustig, $29.00, Tuesday, August 4, 2009:  7:00 am - 8:00 am 
  • Breakfast With The Expert – Israeli  Research with Michael Goldstein, $29.00, Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 7:00 am - 8:00 am
  • Breakfast With The Expert - Polish Research with Stanley Diamond, $29.00, Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 7:00 am - 8:00 am 
  • Breakfast with the Expert - International Tracing Service (ITS) Records with Megan Lewis and Jo-Ellyn Decker,  $29.00, Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 7:00 am - 8:00 am 
  • Breakfast With The Expert - Lithuanian Research with Howard Margol, $29.00, Thursday, August 6, 2009:  7:00 am - 8:00 am 
  • Breakfast With The Expert - New York City Research with Avrum Geller, 29.00, Thursday, August 6, 2009:  7:00 am - 8:00 am 
  • JRI-Poland Luncheon, $39.00,  Sunday, August 2, 2009: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm 
  • Belarus SIG Luncheon , $39.00,  Monday, August 3, 2009: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 
  • Gesher Galicia Luncheon, $39.00, Monday, August 3, 2009: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 
  • Latvia SIG Luncheon, $39.00, Monday, August 3, 2009: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 
  • Austria-Czech SIG Luncheon, $39.00, Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 
  • ROM-SIG Luncheon, $39.00, Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 
  • LitvakSIG Luncheon, $39.00, Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 
  • Hungarian SIG Luncheon, $39.00, Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 
  • GerSIG Luncheon,   $39.00, Thursday, August 6, 2009: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 
  • Ukraine SIG Luncheon, $39.00, Thursday, August 6, 2009: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 
  • Banquet: Thursday,   $85.00  August 6, 2009: 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • *When you purchase a banquet ticket, you select: Chicken Meal, Fish Meal, Vegetarian Meal or Kosher Meal
  • Family Tree Builder 3.0 – Basic: Computer Workshop with Daniel Horowitz, $25.00, Sunday, August 2, 2009: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm         
  • JewishGen Databases:  Computer Workshop with  Nolan Altman,  $25.00, Sunday, August 2, 2009: 2:00 - 4:00 pm         
  • Family Tree Maker for Beginners and Intermediate Users: Computer Workshop with Duff Wilson, $25.00, Monday, August 3, 2009: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
  • Introduction to JewishGen : Computer Workshop with Debra Kay-Blatt, $25.00, Monday, August 3, 2009: 8:15 - 10:15 am         
  • MyFamily and Facebook and Twitter - Social Networking: Computer Workshop with Crista Cowan, $25.00, Monday, August 3, 2009: 2:00 - 4:00 pm     
  • Publishing Your Own Family Book: Computer Workshop with  Banai Feldstein, $25.00, Monday, August 3, 2009: 4:15 - 6:15 pm   
  • Ancestry/JewishGen: The Dynamic Duo: Computer Workshop with Debra Kay-Blatt, $25.00, Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 4:15 - 6:15 pm     
  • Family Tree Maker for Advanced Users: Computer Workshop with Duff Wilson, $25.00, Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm   
  • Getting the Most from the Yad Vashem Shoah Victims' Database: Computer  Workshop with Gail Saini, $25.00, Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 8:15 - 10:15 am
  • Using WORD and WORD Tables for Genealogy : Computer Workshop with Phyllis Kramer, $25.00, Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 2:00 - 4:00 pm     
  • Genealogy Super Search Engine : Computer Workshop with Daniel Horowitz, $25.00, Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 8:15 - 10:15 am     
  • How Does a Beginner Find His/Her Way Around the FamilySearch Website: Computer Workshop with Paul Smart, $25.00, Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 4:15 - 6:15 pm
  • Jewish Records Indexing - Poland for Beginners: Computer Workshop with Robinn Magid,  $25.00, Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm     
  • Social Networking with Facebook: Computer Workshop with Banai Feldstein, $25.00, Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 2:00 - 4:00 pm     
  • Family Tree Builder 3.0 - Advanced: Computer Workshop with Daniel Horowitz, $25.00, Thursday, August 6, 2009: 2:00 - 4:00 pm     
  • Hands-On with Advanced Googling: Computer Workshop with Michael Marx, $25.00, Thursday, August 6, 2009: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
  • Tour- Colonial Jewish Philadelphia, a Walking Tour, $15.00, Tuesday, August 4 from 9 am to 12 noon
  • Tour- Jewish Quarter of Philadelphia, a Walking Tour, $15.00, Thursday, August 6 from 9 am to 12 noon
  • Tour- Eastern State Penitentiary, a Walking Tour, $15.00, Wednesday, August 5 from 4 to 6:30 pm
  • Tour- Back To The Future:  A Historical Journey Through Some Of Philadelphia’s, Historic Synagogues, a Bus Tour, $40.00,  Monday, August 3 from 1 to 5:30 pm
  • Tour- Drive Through South Philly, a Bus Tour, $30.00, Tuesday, August 4 from 1:30 to 5 pm
  • Tour- South Jersey Agricultural Colonies, a Bus Tour, $40.00, Wednesday, August 5, 8:30 am to 4 pm
  • Tour- Historically Significant Jewish Cemeteries in Philadelphia, A Bus tour, $30.00, Thursday, August 6 from 8:30am to 1 pm
  • Tour- Research in Cemeteries In NE Philadelphia, $40.00, Sunday, August 2 from 9 am to 3 pm
  • Tour- Research in Cemeteries in Delaware County, PA, $40.00, Monday, August 3 from 9 am to 3 pm
Time is passing quickly; we will be seeing you soon.
Sincerely,
Anne Feder Lee and David Mink
Co-chairs

Monday, June 15, 2009

Join the JewishGen Basic Genealogy Course

Posted By Phyllis Kramer
New to genealogy? Not sure how to begin? How to organize? What JewishGen has to offer? Best websites? Well, consider JewishGen's Basic Jewish Genealogy course, which consists of 8 text lessons, delivered online twice weekly, which you can read online or download at your own pace.
The course will cover using genealogy formats, assembling trees, organizing and tracking information, interviewing, Jewish naming conventions, Internet genealogy Resources, U.S. Vital Records, U.S. Census and U.S. passenger manifests (Ellis Island) and two lessons will be devoted to JewishGen's web site and its many databases. 
It will also contain hints and tips on how to best use your computer and the Internet.  Best of all we feature an online FORUM where students can post their ancestral information, documents and photographs, and get answers and suggestions from the instructor and fellow students.
The tuition for Basic Genealogy is $60; however, if you qualify for the Value Added Services by virtue of a $100 donation to JewishGen's general fund within the past 12 months, you are welcome to enroll at no additional charge (to get the waiver don't enroll just yet, instead send a note, with your JewishGen ID, by clicking here, we'll send you the instructions to register with the waiver).
For more information and to enroll online, go to http://www.jewishgen.org/education and read the description. Students should be comfortable browsing the internet and have 5-8 hours per week available to read the lessons, sample the websites, and interact with the FORUM. Registration is limited to 60 and once the class is full, registration will be closed. For questions, please email us by clicking here.
Hope you can join us
--
Phyllis Kramer
phylliskramer1@att.net
VP, Education, JewishGen, Inc.

Friday, June 12, 2009

IAJGS 2009 Conference Update

Posted By Anne Feder Lee
We are very pleased to tell you that the tours being offered during the conference and the films being shown for the Film Festival are now at the conference web site: www.Philly2009.org

(1) Tours. You may now register for the wonderful tours being offered. 

If you have already registered, go to Registration Update (you will need your Log-in and password received with your registration confirmation).  Click on "optional programs" and select the tour or tours you want to take.

If you have not registered yet, please do so now so you can sign up for the tours, as well as all the other fee based options that are available.

There are 3 walking tours, 4 bus tours, and 2 cemetery visits for research available. You can find information about these specific trips by going to the Program and searching in the "Session Topic" box for Sightseeing Tours or Cemetery Visits.  Or, you can click on the left hand button on the home page for "Travel and Tours."  Please carefully read our advice for those taking tours and/or going on the cemetery visits for research.

The deadline for purchasing tickets for trips is Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm US central time. Should you purchase a ticket and then wish to cancel your reservation, you must do so before Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm US central time for a full refund. Cancellations after that date will not receive a refund.

However, we urge you to make your reservation before June 30 because we must inform the bus company in early July as to the number of registrants. Low ticket purchases at that point will likely lead to cancellations. 

You may purchase trip tickets for guests who are not registered for the conference. Once you are at the conference, you can check at the registration desk to see if tickets are still available for purchase.

(2) Film Festival.  The complete schedule for the IAJGS Conference Film Festival is now online.  You can view each film in the context of the entire day of programs by going directly to the link at: http://www.philly2009.org/program.cfm

If you want to view just the films at a glance, go to "Session Topic" and click on "Film Festival" and then "Search." If you click on the film's title, the descriptive section with a synopsis and photos will pop up.
Please note that some of the films are being shown more than once during the conference week to make it easier to catch them. 

Many of the films have speakers
attending -- filmmakers, researchers, or participants in the creative process -- who will introduce their work and then discuss and/or take Q & A afterwards. 

The Film Festival is open to all conference registrants and attendance does not require any addition fee payments.

We look forward to seeing everyone in Philly,
Anne Feder Lee
David Mink
Philly2009 Co-Chairs

Press Release: JewishGen Board of Governors


JewishGen, the Premier Site for Jewish Genealogical Research, Re-energizes Board of Governors, Electing 10 New Members

NEW YORK, NY — JewishGen, a non-profit organization dedicated to researching and promoting Jewish genealogy and an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Lower Manhattan, has re-energized its Board of Governors, whose major responsibility will be to focus on long-term planning for the organization.  
Honorary Chair Harvey Krueger, and Co-chairs Karen S. Franklin and Gary Mokotoff will be joined by Board Members: Stanley Diamond, Saul Issroff, Phyllis Kramer, Anne Lee, Hadassah Lipsius, Howard Margol, E. Randol Schoenberg, and Walter Weiner.  Ex-Officio members include Museum of Jewish Heritage Director Dr. David G. Marwell, JewishGen Managing Director Warren Blatt, JewishGen Vice-President Michael Tobias, and JewishGen Administrator Avraham Groll.

The Governors hail from London, Montreal, Hawaii, Atlanta, Florida, Los Angeles, New York, and beyond.  They bring with them more than thirty years of extensive knowledge about genealogy, philanthropy, and Jewish history.

Dr. David G. Marwell, Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, said, "The continuity of Jewish heritage is central to the Museum’s mission.  We welcome the new Board of Governors and look forward to working with them to ensure the future of JewishGen, an organization that provides a vital public service, connecting families to one another."

Following the Board’s initial meeting last week, Stanley Diamond summarized the Board’s charge as follows: "In addition to planning, the Board must help management make certain that the structure is in place to enable JewishGen to keep pace with ever-changing technology and encourage management to bring other organizations with content under a mutually beneficial umbrella that ultimately best serves all researchers.  It is our hope that the Board can also play a role in both raising the profile of JewishGen internationally and identifying potential sources of new data.”

The new members of the Board of Governors bring extraordinary strength and vision to the organization.  Gary Mokotoff is the first recipient of the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) Lifetime Achievement Award; Stanley Diamond, Howard Margol, and Warren Blatt have also received this honor.  Anne Lee is currently IAJGS President; Karen Franklin, Howard Margol, and Gary Mokotoff have also served in this capacity.  E. Randol Schoenberg, while known in genealogy communities in his capacity as co-founder of the Austria-Czech SIG (Special Interest Group), is more widely recognized in his role as litigator in the case of Republic of Austria vs. Altman, which resulted in the restitution of the famous Gustav Klimt painting.

According to Phyllis Kramer, a JewishGen Vice President and board member, "The Board of Governors is intent upon developing our volunteer outreach, sustaining and supporting our existing extraordinary volunteers and building capacity to incorporate new talent into our JewishGen family."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

ShtetLinks Update: May 2009

The JewishGen ShtetLinks project has been updated. Click here to search for a ShtetLinks page by region or here to learn more about the project.
Below is a quick list of ShtetLinks that have been updated during May 2009:
 
New:

Updated:
Adopted:
We are looking for volunteers to help create new ShtetLinks pages or to adopt current "orphaned" pages. For more information, and to help with HTML, please email us by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Norway King Visits Oslo Jewish Community

Norwegian King Harald V and his son, Crown Prince Haakon made a historic visit to the Jewish community center and synagogue in Oslo on Tuesday. Local Jews expressed hope that the royal visit will help alleviate the growing anti-Semitic trends in the country.

The king and his son visited the local synagogue and Jewish nursery school, attended a Torah reading ceremony, listened to songs by the community's cantor and joined the kindergarten's children in song. (YNET)
Click here to read the entire article. To learn more about the Jews of Norway, visit the JewishGen Scandinavia SIG.

Interesting: The Lawrence Marwick Collection of Copyrighted Yiddish Plays at The Library of Congress

Click here for The Lawrence Marwick Collection of Copyrighted Yiddish Plays at The Library of Congress: An
Annotated Bibliography
.

NOTE: THIS IS A LARGE FILE

Updated Legislative Alert Posted to IAJGS Website

There is a new, updated, legislative alert posted to the IAJGS website. To access the report go to the IAJGS website: www.IAJGS.org and click on either the left hand button that says "Legislation" then "Latest Alert" or scroll down to thePublic Records Access portion of the home page (where the newspaper boy icon is) and click on Latest Alerts.

As most US state legislatures and the US Congress have been grappling with draconian budget issues there was relatively little legislation introduced that would effect genealogical records. However, there are a few and they are summarized in the alert. A few are noted below:

Of concern is California AB 130-- which adds marriage records to the restrictions onindices already in place for birth and death record indices (enacted in 2002). AB130 already passed the California Assembly by a vote of 79-0 this week and is now in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting committee assignment.

Another bill we are watching, but has not yet held a hearing is NY 784 which would open death records to the public and redacting Social Security numbers on the records.

PA has two bills of interest...1. HB 563 which would require an electronic database for all records, with SocialSecurity Numbers redacted, and would require birth records after 100 years and death records after 50 years to be turned over to the PA Historical and Museum Commission. No hearing is yet scheduled.

2. HB 931 would require the PA Department of Health to provide for an internet baseddeath registration AND make any birth record after 100 years and death record after50 years a public record available to the public on the internet. No hearing is yetscheduled.

There are other bills mentioned in the alert.

The Public Records Access MonitoringCommittee continues to monitor these bills and when hearings are scheduled, writes letters advocating access to vital records. Remember, that all politics are local, so if you are interested in a particular bill, especially if you reside in that state, become involved. A list of state legislature websites is on the IAJGS website "legislative websites".

If you know of any legislative or regulatory proposed actions that would either enhance or adversely effect access to vital records, any where, not just the US, please let me know.

Jan Meisels Allen
Director, IAJGS andChairperson,
Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

1911 Census (UK) for Wales Now On-Line

Last October 20, 21 and December 27 I reported to teh JewishGen Discussion Group that parts of the 1911Census for England, Wales and Ireland being released before the 100-year rule (for background on why read the October 20, 2008 posting by going to the JewishGen archives). The National Archives developed an on-line 1911 census service with itsexternal partner FindMypast.com. (www.findmypast.com)

To access the records, Go to http://www.1911census.co.uk/click about the 1911 census" then on the left hand side click "The Welsh Records".

Every ten years the United Kingdom (for purposes of this posting, England and Wales) conducts a census. There is a long-standing rule that census information may not be released in less than 100 years. The 1911 census for Wales has just been released and posted on-line at FindMyPast.com. The census was taken Sunday, April 2, 1911 and covers 2.4 million people. The 1911 census is the most detailed census since the UK started to take the decennial census and the first in which the original census forms were preserved, therefore enabling the viewer to see the person's actual handwriting.

There are some unique challenges for the Welsh census. Prior to the 1911 census, only the enumerators’ books were retained, and these were completed in English. On the1911 census, householders were given the option of filling in the form in Welsh or English. Around eight and a half per cent of the population in Wales spoke Welsh as their first language, so a percentage of the forms were written in Welsh. The difficulty of searching Welsh records is compounded by the fact that a few common surnames account for a large percentage of the population, and you may need extra information to narrow your search. On the FindMyPast website under Welsh records, they have Welsh translation tables and search tips to assist you, as well as a sample of the census form.

Information contained on the census form includes: the name, age, place of birth, marital status and occupation of every resident in every home, as well as their relationship to the head of the household. Because these records were released in advance of the scheduled 2012 date, certain sensitive information relating to infirmity and to children of women prisoners is not yet available.

This is a subscription-based site; searches are free, but you pay as you go to view each record - 10 credits per transcript and 30 credits for each original household page. Visitors to the website can buy 60 credits for £6.95. Great News! FindMyPast.com will be one of the many available databases on the 28resource room computers at the 29th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy inPhiladelphia August 2-7, 2009! FindMyPast.com is making their databases free on theresource room computers- so take advantage while you are at the conference!

Jan Meisels Allen
Director, IAJGS and
Chairperson, Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You Never Know When An Important Document Will Surface

HONOLULU (June 9) -- Documents bearing signatures of U.S. presidents have turned up in a lot of unexpected places: Attics, libraries, even thrift stores. But how did an innocuous Civil War-era memo bearing Abraham Lincoln's signature end up in the state archives of Hawaii, which was still a kingdom at the time? State researchers are trying to find out. 
The memo dated Sept. 22, 1862, orders the secretary of state at the time to affix the U.S. seal to a separate piece of paper, a proclamation dated the same day. That proclamation was the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln's official warning to rebellious Southern states to return to the Union within three months or face military emancipation of their slaves.

Hawaii records indicate they've had the memo — but not the proclamation — for at least 74 years. "We knew we had it," said Luella Kurkjian, chief of the archives' historical records branch. "Quite frankly, we didn't know what it was. There was no documentation with it."

Hawaii's archives also contain one letter each from Lincoln to King Kamehameha IV and to his brother, King Kamehameha V, and a note from Lincoln appointing a new U.S. consul, Alfred Caldwell, to the Kingdom of Hawaii.

"Those three all make sense to be in the Hawaii State Archives," said Daniel Stowell, director of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill.

"This one is a fish out of water," Stowell said of the 1862 memo. "I mean, it doesn't fit. Why is it here?"

Officials are following a couple of clues.

Back in the 1920s and '30s, the archives received several donations from a collector named Bruce Cartwright Jr., grandson of Alexander Joy Cartwright, considered by sports historians to be the inventor of baseball.

One of those donated items was the Lincoln-signed note announcing Caldwell's appointment, Kurkjian said. "It's my guess that (Cartwright) is the donor" of the proclamation memo "and for whatever reason it wasn't properly documented," she said. (AOL)

Click here to read the entire article.

Auschwitz camp to get $5.9M restoration

The European Union is giving $5.9 million to help fund structural repairs to the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, an official says.
Rafal Pioro, the conservation department head for Auschwitz, confirmed the EU has agreed to provide funds to help preserve the World War II site that has become a tourist destination, The Scotsman reported Friday.
The former Nazi death camp near Oswiecim, Poland, draws nearly 1 million tourists annually.
The site consists of dark brick administrative buildings now housing exhibits of hair, clothes and eyeglasses taken from prisoners, and the main camp with remains of the gas chambers and crematoriums facing the railroad tracks where prisoners were brought in. Officials say the camp has fallen into disrepair since the war, while museum officials have struggled with their preservation efforts, the Scotsman said. (UPI)

Click here to read the entire article.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Volunteer and Help Thousands!


Posted By Phyllis Kramer
JewishGen needs a Genealogy Instructor and a LYRIS/PERL trained technician.

Attendance at the Basic JewishGen Genealogy Course is fully subscribed within a few days of announcement. JewishGen would like to hold these workshops more frequently but we need a volunteer to be responsible for additional sessions (the course is fully written, you would respond to student questions on diverse topics).  
Your background for this volunteer positision should include:
  1. Solid knowledge of U.S. Jewish genealogy and sources
  2. Ability to research student questions quickly
  3. Approximately 2 hours per day for 2 weeks, then 1 hour per day for 2 weeks.
Our JewishGen Discussion List uses Lyris, written in PERL. There are various technical issues and we need someone to interface with Lyris technical support. There are email deliverability, text-parsing, and networking issues. Knowledge of SQL-MS databases a plus.

If you would like to volunteer to help grow JewishGen, please contact me directly by clicking here.
 
Phyllis
VP, Education, JewishGen, Inc.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jewish Graves desecrated in Sombor, Subotica

SOMBOR, SUBOTICA --  Sombor police say that an Orthodox cemetery was vandalized yesterday in Stapar and that about 200 gravestones were damaged.

The police stated that the investigative judge was looking into the situation along with the deputy municipal public prosecutor, the local police chief and other police officials.

Police are working intensively on getting to the bottom of the case and identifying those responsible for the crimes, which occurred in the early morning hours of Monday, according to the statement.

The Orthodox graveyard in Sombor is over 200 years old and locals living in this part of the town do not remember any similar cases of vandalism ever taking place.

Meanwhile, in Subotica, a Jewish cemetery was vandalized and 11 gravestones destroyed yesterday, police stated. (B92)
 
Click here to read the full article:

Quick Facts About Sombor from JewishGen 
Alternate names: Sombor [Serb], Zombor [Hung], Czoborszentmihály
Click here to learn more from JewishGen.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Time For A Nice Learning Vacation- Jewish Heritage Sites In The Caribbean


The 5Towns Jewish Times has an interesting article about Jewish Heritage sites in the Caribbean. Some of the places mentioned included, Curaçao, Aruba, Jamaica, Nevis, Barbados, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Click here to read the entire article.

Personal items of Auschwitz prisoners found

Several hundred personal items and objects of everyday use belonging to Holocaust victims at the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz have been discovered.
The discovery was made during conservation work near Crematorium No. 3. The find includes medication, jewels, cosmetics, family mementoes, toys, baby bottles and dummies. Many of them have inscriptions in Hungarian as all the objects belonged to Hungarian Jews, who were brought to Auschwitz and killed there between May and July 1944.
A total of 430,000 Hungarian Jews were brought to Auschwitz during that period and most of them were exterminated by the Germans.
A spokesman for the Auschwitz Museum said that all the newly-found objects will undergo conservation in the museum’s workshops and some of them will then be put on display in a new exhibition, currently in preparation.(Polskieradio)  

Click here to read the entire article.