Thursday, October 30, 2008

JewishGen in Announcement with Ancestry.com and AJJDC

Dear JewishGenners:
JewishGen is proud to announce an arrangement between JewishGen, Ancestry.com (The Generations Network, Inc.) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJJDC) to provide access to the world's largest online collection of Jewish family records.
All the particulars of agreement between JewishGen and Ancestry.com were already announced at the IAJGS Conference in Chicago last summer.
Ancestry.com announced yesterday that a collection of records from the Joint Distribution Commitee was added to their website.
Click here to read an article in Newsday. Further information can be found here.  
I invite all of you to take a look at this collection by going to the JewishGen.org website and searching your surnames through the box on the top of the page for Ancestry.com. All of the JewishGen and Joint Distribution Committee records are free and will continue to be so.
Finally, we are in the midst of finalizing the rehosting of our servers. The rehosting will provide you with better service. This is a process which may take several weeks, and you may notice interruptions in access to JewishGen.
We apologize for any inconvenience. We will continue to update you on our progress.
Warren Blatt
Managing Director, JewishGen

Monday, October 27, 2008

JewishGen ****Updated Below****

The JewishGen site is currently experiencing technical difficulties. We are working to resolve this issue quickly and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Further information and updates will continue to be posted here.

Should you require immediate assistance, please contact us using the 'contact us' form located on the right hand side of this page.

****Update: 10/24/2008 11:40 AM EST****

We are working diligently and hope that JewishGen will be available soon.

We apologize for the continued inconvenience and thank you for your support and understanding.

****Update: 10/27/2008 11:50 AM EST****

All efforts are being taken to ensure that JewishGen is up and running soon.

We appreciate your patience and apologize for the continued inconvenience.

****Update: 10/27/2008 4:10 PM EST****

The site is now partially available. JewishGen users may experience disruptions while using the website and/or various webpages. If this occurs, please refresh the page you are attempting to view by clicking the refresh button on your internet browser (or click F5). If this fails to reload the page, please try again at a different time.

Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience, and we appreciate your continued patience and understanding.

****Update: 10/28/2008 11:00 AM EST****

The site is still experiencing interruptions. If the webpage you are on fails, please referesh your browser (or click F5).

Thank you for your continued understanding.

****Update: 10/30/2008 9:50 AM EST****

The JewishGen homepage is now up again, however many of our users have encountered the following error message when trying to login:

Please note this message indicates that there is a problem with the JewishGen site, and not with your own personal computer. We appreciate the many who have contacted us with offers of assistance and hope that this will be resolved soon.

Please continue to check this blog for further updates and information.

****Update: 11/03/2008 4:42 PM EST****
We are pleased that JewishGen is now operational and users can login and access all parts of the website.

Note: there may be a few lingering service disruptions for the next few hours. If this happens, simply close your web broswer and then open up a new web browser. In addition, the H-SIG homepage(www.JewishGen.org/hungary) may not be accessible at the current time. If that is the case, please click here: jewishgen.org/hungary/index.htm

We thank you all for your continued patience, offers of advice and good will.

****Update: 11/10/2008 11:55 AM EST****
Unfortunately the ViewMate feature is still experiencing difficutlies. For immediate assistance translating or identifying pictures and documents, please post a message on the discussion group or leave a comment in the comments section below.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Germany presents Israel Holocaust-era directory

The German government on Thursday handed Israel's national Holocaust memorial the personal details of 600,000 Jewish residents of Nazi Germany, the most comprehensive record to date of German-Jewish life during the Nazi era.

German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann presented the directory during a ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial, saying that it allowed for the first time to show the Jewish residents of Germany from 1933-1945.

"But this list is much more than a list," Neumann said. "It is a unique document about life in Germany and tells the story of those who could not tell their own story."

The ceremony took place in the Hall of Names, a cone-shaped room whose walls are lined with bookshelves containing folders upon folders of pages of testimonies about the Holocaust victims. Yad Vashem currently has records on 3.3 million of the 6 million who perished and continues to collect archival material from around the world.

The new directory includes the names and addresses of the Jewish residents and classifies them into those who survived, those who perished and those whose fate remains unknown. The list includes details on emigration, detention and deportation, as well as where and when people died.

With this latest list, Yad Vashem has essentially completed its database on German Jewry during the Nazi era, Shalev said.

Its focus will now turn to compiling a similar database on the Jews who lived in Poland and eastern Europe, an extremely difficult task because of poor record-keeping, large-scale executions and mass destruction of villages.
Around 2.5 million data records were collected from more than 1,000 sources, including Jewish and Nazi archives, according to "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future," the German foundation that produced the directory together with the German federal archives.

Following Yad Vashem, the records will also be made available to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the Jewish Claims Conference and the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany.

The list is not being made public. It is subject to strict German data protection laws, given that it has names of people who are still alive.
(Source: AP)

Click here to read the entire article

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Shana Tova From JewishGen

Dear Friend,

Every so often, we ask our JewishGen family to help support us and we are grateful for the generous response we always receive. As an independent, non-profit organization, we rely on this support to perpetuate the memory and heritage of previous generations. Now more than ever, we need your immediate help to continue offering you the essential services of JewishGen. Without your help, we won't be able to continue.

As someone who uses JewishGen, you understand the importance of being able to access family records that would be impossible to find without travelling around the world and spending countless hours in libraries and archives.

With more than four hundred ShtetLinks websites, over one million burial records, hundreds of Yizkor (memorial) books, millions of vital records, a comprehensive Holocaust database, genealogy courses, discussion groups, and many other constantly updated resources and tools, JewishGen provides you with the means to discover your family history in ways never before thought possible.

Right now, you can help by contributing generously to JewishGen so that we can continue to offer you, and thousands of others like you, this valuable service.

Your generous donation of any amount - whether it's $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more - will make an immediate difference and help us provide and expand the wide array of services we offer to you and family researchers throughout the world who so desperately wish to connect with their past and present family heritage.

Gifts of $100 or more will grant you access to enhanced database search capabilities, enrollment in our online genealogy course and other extra features.

JewishGen has accomplished much - but there is so much more still to do, and we thank you for helping us continue our important mission of "preserving our history for future generations."

Credit Card contributions can be submitted on our secure website by clicking here. If you prefer to donate by check, please make it payable to JewishGen and send it to:

JewishGen
36 Battery Place
New York, NY 10280
USA

With grateful appreciation and warm wishes for a happy and healthy New Year,





Warren Blatt
Managing Director, JewishGen

P.S. JewishGen is the premier online resource for Jewish genealogy and it is only with your support that we can continue. Please contribute whatever you are able at this time - it will make an immediate difference.

Announcement from the JGSLA

To announce a JGS event, please contact us by clicking the 'contact us' link on the right hand part of this page.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

IMPORTANT: ITS Now Accepting Online Tracing Requests


FROM THE ITS WEBSITE:

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen serves victims of Nazi persecutions and their families by documenting their fate through the archives it manages. The ITS preserves these historic records and makes them available for research.”

The ITS archive holds 26,000 metres of various types of records.

The alphabetically and phonetically arranged Central Name Index contains over 50 million reference cards for over 17.5 million people and is the key to the documents and correspondence files.

Effective immediately, you can submit a tracing request or an inquiry for information on imprisonment/labour/whereabouts by completing our online inquiry form.

Click here for more information and the online inquiry form.

Friday, October 3, 2008

JewishGen


The JewishGen site is currently experiencing technical difficulties. We are working to resolve this issue quickly and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Further information and updates will continue to be posted here. 

Should you require immediate assistance, please contact us using the 'contact us' form located on the right hand side of this page.

***UPDATE: 10/03/2008 10:45 AM EST***
As a result of Hurricane Ike, there are significant service delays throughout the Houston area. We are working diligently and hope that JewishGen will be available soon.

We apologize for the continued inconvenience and thank you for your support and understanding.

***UPDATE: 10/04/2008 10:00 PM EST***
JewishGen is now operational again. Thank you for your patience - good luck with your research!

Jews of Cape Verdean


In Cape Verde, a small stretch of islands just off the coast of West Africa, some residents talk about what it means to them to be the heirs of the islands' Jewish past.

At the main cemetery in Praia, white crosses stretch in every direction.

But a quick question to the guard, and he leads visitors sure-footedly up the hill to the left.

Here, a few stone tombs lie flat in the ground, and there are no crosses.

Jose Levy describes what he sees.

"Some of the graves have descriptions in Hebraic, others have descriptions in both Hebraic and Portuguese," he explains.

These are the graves of some of Cape Verde's former Jewish population. There are about half a dozen here. They mostly come from the late 1800s.

Jews first reached Cape Verde in the 1400s, when Portugal colonized the then-uninhabited islands.

The island became an important trading post for Portugal. But many of the Jews came under pressure from the Spanish Inquisition. Portugal, seeking a royal alliance with Spain, followed Spain's example and declared in 1496 that all Jews must convert or be expelled.

A second wave of Jewish immigrants came to the islands from Morocco starting in the 1850s. They were mostly looking for economic opportunities. Levy's family was part of this wave. At one time, Levy's father, Abraão Levy, says, his family owned and farmed a great deal of land on Santiago, the island where Praia is located.

Abraão Levy says the descendants of the Jewish immigrants have played prominent roles in Cape Verde, including a former prime minister, and a finance minister. (Source: VOA)

Click here for the entire article.

Some quick research online turned up some fascinating results, including a website for The Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project.

Below are a few more links that tell the story of the Jews in Cape Verde.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Robert Maistriau: Farewell to Resistance Hero


Belgium paid its final respects Wednesday to the last survivor of a resistance team that in 1943 rescued over 200 Jews from a train to Auschwitz with no more than a pistol, three pairs of wire cutters, a lantern and a red rag.

Robert Maistriau, who died on Friday aged 87, was 22 when he and two friends hijacked a train deporting over 1,600 Jews from Belgium to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

On the night of April 19, 1943 (the same day that the Warsaw ghetto uprising began), the trio Maistriau, Youra Livchitz (25) and Jean Franklemon (25) bicycled from their Brussels homes some 40 kilometers to Boortmeerbeek in Flanders.

There they wrapped their lantern in a red rag and laid it on the eastbound railway track as an impromptu stop sign. Lying in the darkness, they watched as the train ground to a halt.

Maistriau then crept out and ran to the train, forcing a carriage door open with his wire cutters.

Seventeen deportees jumped out of the wagon and fled as guards opened fire. While Livchitz fired, Maistriau and Franklemon broke open a second wagon, urging the prisoners to run for their lives.

As the guards closed in, the trio took to their bicycles, racing back to Brussels. When the train finally set off, the men in another wagon broke into the open cars and escaped as well.

It was the only time in occupied Europe that resistance fighters liberated a deportation train.

Livchitz was shot by the Nazis in 1943. Maistriau was arrested in March 1944 and deported to Bergen-Belsen, from which he was liberated in April 1945. Franklemon died in 1977.

He was buried in the cemetery of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert in Brussels Wednesday. (Source: Haaretz)

More Information: