Friday, July 31, 2009

The Spanish Inquisition and Me


Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. I grew up in the city of Caracas, Venezuela, in a wonderful, close-knit family surrounded by cousins, aunts and uncles. We spent more time with my mother's side of the family, perhaps because we lived right next door to my maternal grandmother, a woman of great stamina and control over every little detail of her family. I was raised with excellent family values, tremendous respect for authority and a great fear of heaven. I was also raised as a Catholic.

My parents sent me to Catholic school for almost my entire life. But I knew there were people of other faiths because I had a neighbor that was an Evangelical Christian. 
Somehow I was always fascinated with Judaism. I didn't know anything about it, but I wanted desperately to know more. I only knew about the Jews from the Old Testament but I knew these people still existed. I started reading and learning about Jews on my own, convinced they would have an answer. Little did I know that this search would take me so far – all the way back home.
The first time I saw a Jew was one Saturday as we were driving to see my paternal grandparents. We saw several men with black hats, black coats, and beards walking in the streets of my grandfather's neighborhood. "Who are these men?" I asked my father. "They're Jews." He then mentioned that my grandfather's house was in the Jewish community. I always felt apprehensive around my paternal grandparents. There were very old and strict, especially my grandfather, who jut sat in his "special" chair where no one else was allowed to sit. My sisters and I were not allowed to get up from the couch and run around like normal kids.
"What do you mean our family is Jewish? I have never heard of this!"
One day I asked my Aunt Sarah who lived with my grandparents, if she knew their house was located in a Jewish Community. Her answer changed my life forever. She said in a whisper, making sure my grandfather would not hear, "Of course I know our home is in a Jewish community. After all, our family is of Jewish origin. Our last name had been changed from Peres to Perez."
She told me that the family had come from Spain a few hundred years after the Spanish Inquisition and settled in Venezuela. They changed their name to blend in and avoid persecution. "You mean you never wondered why all of our names are Jewish names?"
I had to sit down to recover. Hundreds of images and situations flashed in front of my eyes. All the strange things my father's family did were not idiosyncrasies; they were mere family traditions dating back to the time of the Inquisition. I had found the lost piece of the puzzle. I was closer to the truth than I had ever been. I had a reason to embrace the fascinating religion with which I had become obsessed. I was going in the direction of truth. After all my family was Jewish, or was it?
I immediately started researching and reading about the Inquisition. I learned that the Jews in Spain had been tremendously affluent and relatively accepted in the early years, under the Muslim rulers-early 10th century, but suffered during persecutions by Iberian Christians such as the pogroms in Cordoba (1011) and Granada (1066). These attacks continued as the "Reconquista" took full blow, and by the 14th century the Christians had taken most of Spain from the Muslims. Many Jews decided to escape these attacks by converting to Catholicism. These Jews were the most affluent and did not want to give up their social and commercial status. They were called "conversos."

Many of these conversos practiced Judaism in hiding, pretending to be Catholics on the outside. They lived side-by-side with their Jewish brethren and some even remained active in the Jewish communities. At first this solution proved beneficial and many conversos became very successful. But inevitably, this very success sprouted jealousy within Catholic Spaniards who reported unfaithful conversos to the authorities. At the time many conversos practiced several Jewish customs that, for the Catholics, were definite signs that these people were not true converts and were still spiritually linked to their Jewish past. These conversos were then called marranos (pig in Spanish), or crypto-Jews, and were to become the main focus of the Inquisition's agenda.

My research about "marranos" made me realize that my family was one of them. I always wondered about the rare customs of my father's family. The earliest anecdotes I can remember were all linked to food. Unlike most Venezuelans, my grandmother was keen for making all kind of eggplant dishes, in particular fried eggplants. Although the Arabs introduced eggplants to Spain, it was the Jews of Spain that became exceptionally fond of it and later brought this vegetable to South America after the expulsion (around 1650.) Spanish Jews were so fond of eggplants that even the satirical poetry of the day made reference of this preference.* She also made a dessert called "Cabello de Angel" that I later found out is of marrano descent, and a dessert called "Marzipan," a staple for converso families. Sadly, thousands of marranos were murdered because of adhering to their culinary customs. In fact, the Inquisition Trial Documents (still available after all these years) are crammed with testimonies from maids or neighbors testifying in court against conversos making these dishes. Sadly, the Inquisition used cultural information to build cases against conversos that were under examination for heresy.

Speaking to my relatives, I discovered more information. My grandfather had a house in the town of Zaraza, Guarico State, the first town in which my family settled. They came by boat in the 1700s from the River Unare that leads into the Caribbean Sea. I have in my possession today one of the family's precious pieces of fine China, which they brought with them to the New World. It is a sauce dish dating back to 1767. My father recalls that in the house of Zaraza there were two paintings that always puzzled him. It was a painting of Queen Esther pointing at Mordechai and another called "La Plegaria de Esther" (Queen Esthers plea). The story of Purim has no real relevance in the Catholic religion. I didn't even know this story existed until I became Jewish! I discovered that Queen Esther was the heroine of the converso Jews because she was the quintessential hidden Jew.

I also have my grandmother's precious candelabras, extremely old baccarat crystal, that sit next to my Shabbat candles. Every Friday I get goose bumps just imagining my relatives lighting these old candelabras with a hope that one day they could practice Judaism in public.

One uncle remembers seeing a Chanukah menorah and even kippot in the Zaraza home. Many people recall how my grandfather had a midnight private wedding ceremony where only a few were invited, perhaps because this ceremony was to remain a secret for the rest of eternity. Many converso Jews "sacrificed" a family member to the church to become a priest in order to not bring any doubt the family was indeed devoted to Christianity. And many celebrated "Mass" in their home, lead by the alleged family priest. One of my father's uncles was a priest who later in life gave up priesthood, and many times there was a private "Mass" held at my grandmother's house.

It wasn't until my grandfather passed away when I was 15 that many other "secrets" came to light. My grandfather kept locked in his room many pictures and documents that helped the family reconstruct the past. The names of my ancestors and even of family members today are mostly Jewish names. We not only have converso family in our genealogy but also European Jewry (my great great grandfather's first wife was Carmen Martin Rosenberg). My grandfather was General Guillermo Isaac Perez Telleria. He was given the honorary title of General for financing part of the Venezuelan independence war (Venezuela used to be a Spanish colony).

I remember going to the cemetery with my father to visit our late relatives. Instead of bringing flowers we would search for little rocks to put on the top of the graves. I always wondered why we did this; I don't think my father even knew. I now know this is a Jewish custom.(AISH)

Click here to read the entire article.

ShtetLinks Update: July 2009


Posted by Susana Leistner Bloch
We are pleased to welcome the following webpages to JewishGen ShtetLinks. We thank the owners and webmasters of these shtetlpages for creating fitting memorials to the Jewish Communities that once lived in those shtetlach and for providing a valuable resource for future generations of their descendants.
New Pages
Chynadiyovo (Szentmiklos), Ukraine
Created by Adam Smith
Webpage Design by ShtetLinks volunteer Gregory B. Meyer

Edeleny (Balajt, Ladbesenyo), Hungary
Created by Viviana Grosz & Leah Kraus
Web Design by ShtetLinks volunteer Sam Glaser

Kovel (Kowel), Ukraine
Created by Bruce Drake

Selets (Shiletz), Belarus
Created by Bob Ruskin

Vamospercs, Hungary
Created by Eugene Katz and Marshall J. Katz

Zloczew, Poland
Created by Felicia P. Zieff
Webpage Design by ShtetLinks volunteer Judith Goldsmith 

ShtetLinks webpages recently updated

If you wish to follow their example and create a ShtetLinks webpage for your ancestral shtetl or adopt an exiting "orphaned" shtetlpage please email us by clicking here.

GOOD NEWS!! As a result for our appeal for HTML volunteers we now have a team of dedicated people who will help you create a webpage for your ancestral home. Please contact us if you would like help in creating a ShtetLinks webpage.

Susana Leistner Bloch, VP, ShtetLinks, JewishGen, Inc.
Barbara Ellman, ShtetLinks Technical Coordinator

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

See you at the conference

Posted By Warren Blatt
JewishGen would like to invite you to join us at the 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy , August 2-7, 2009, in Philadelphia.
Join us at our presentation on Tuesday, August 4, 2009, and come meet us at our vendor booth all week long.

Warren Blatt, Managing Director
and the JewishGen Staff

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Announcement: New JewishGen Website Design


JewishGen is pleased to announce the completion of the first phase of the redesign of the JewishGen website.  JewishGen is the premier website for online Jewish genealogy, and has been an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage since 2003.  The free, easy to use website features thousands of databases, research tools, and other resources to help those with Jewish ancestry research and find family members.

The current redesign will offer users an easier way to begin research into their Jewish roots and to connect with family members.  This redesign will be implemented in several phases.  The first phase, the redesign of the JewishGen homepage, is now complete and accessible at www.JewishGen.org


The homepage was redesigned with the goal of easy access for new users and enhanced searchability and functionality for existing researchers. Some of the enhancements to the homepage include:
  • SIMPLICITY – New visitors to JewishGen can quickly learn about the mission of JewishGen, the primary features, and how to get started on their own family research.
  • EASY LOGIN – Registered users can login immediately using the Login to JewishGen feature on top of the page.
  • NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS FEATURE – The homepage will be continually updated with important news and announcements, such as the addition of new databases, information, projects, search tools and more. 
  • APPEARANCE AND FUNCTIONALITY – The homepage is visually appealing and easy to load for users with both high and low speed internet access.
Future phases will involve updating additional components of the website, which consists of over 40,000 webpages, and improving functionality for all levels of users.  In addition, JewishGen continues to add new data on a continuous basis, with approximately one million items of data added each year.

JewishGen depends primarily on the labor and financial contributions of its volunteers.  It is only with their help that JewishGen is able to assist the hundreds of thousands of family researchers throughout the world.  


If you would like further information or you would like to participate in our growth and improvement, please email us by clicking here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Historical collection readies for its new home

For years, Jerry Nathans’ two-bedroom apartment was packed with scores of boxes filled with synagogue membership records, photo albums of confirmations, bar mitzvah classes and old Torah scroll coverings – the entire collection of the Jewish Historial Society.
Nathans, who says he’s been holding the society together as its president, finally has decided to move the collection out of his apartment, to the old Barnert Hospital, and in the process, he’s closing a historical circle.
Nathans, 82, hopes that moving into Barnert – founded by one of the most prominent Jewish citizens of the city’s history -- will mean a fresh start for his 30-year-old organization. The society has had trouble securing money to hire an archivist to properly maintain the records. With the move to Barnert will come a reorganized board, a reinstated newsletter and, once again, lectures and exhibits, Nathans said.
Among the boxes that must be unpacked and catalogued in the new society space are old photos of people making Challah and celebrating Purim, stacks of old temple newsletters, quarterly Jewish magazines and synagogue membership books. On a rack hang several silk-embroidered torah scroll covers.
Black-and-white photos from the early 20th century depict a time when the city’s Jewish community thrived. They include portraits of brawny Jewish football teams from the ‘20s, a mortgage burning for a synagogue, the old B’Nai Israel Synagogue, a Spanish-style temple that once stood on Godwin Avenue, and a B’Nai Jesheron confirmation class of 1933.
Paterson was home to about 35,000 Jewish residents at its peak. Jewish immigrants came in waves, first, from Germany beginning in the 1840s, and from Poland and Russia in the 1880s. The city hosted the region’s finest kosher butchers and bakeries, and streets bustled with Jewish businesses — shoemakers, tailors, lawyers’ offices.
By the 1940s, families that had achieved success began to move for more spacious homes in Fair Lawn and Clifton, Nathans said, beginning the Jewish departure from the city. One of Paterson’s last major Jewish landmarks -- Temple Emanuel, built in the 1920s -- has recently been converted into a community arts center. Its congregation had relocated to Franklin Lakes. (NorthJersey)

Click here to read the entire article.

The Ninth Zionist Congress: A Valuable Resource


Posted By Ann Rabinowitz

The early Zionist Congresses presented a crazy quilt of Jewish thought, both political and social. For instance, the Ninth Zionist Congress, held in Hamburg, Germany, December 26-30, 1909, can be easily researched in an article in the German language “Die Welt”, the weekly Zionist publication founded in Vienna in 1897 by Theodore Herzl. The article contains a listing of all of the delegates who attended the Congress in alphabetical order with the name of the town where they were living. The article is located in the No. 52, December 24, 1909, issue and can be accessed by clicking here.

Considered special, this Congress was the first one to be held in Germany. There were major difficulties in coming to terms with a cohesive agenda and limitations were placed on the Jewish Colonial Trust which had come into being in 1902. In fact, efforts were made to replace its first President, David Wolfsohn, a strong Zionist who was born in Darbenai, Lithuania.


The Congress had some other distinctive aspects in that representatives of the workers in Palestine participated for the first time. These novice delegates were:
(no first name) ABNER, Jerusalem; Josua EISENSTADT, Jerusalem; Rachel GOLDIN, Jerusalem; Jakob GUTMANN, Jaffa; Dr. J. KOHAN-BERNSTEIN, Jaffa; A. KOMARNOW, Jaffa; Dr. Benzion MOSSINSOHN, Jaffa; Elias MUNZIK, Jaffa; Moses SMILIANSKY, Rechoboth; and M.M. SCHEINKIN, Jaffa.
Despite their first time appearance at a Congress and their small numbers, they were able to give strong support to Zionist leaders Nahum Sokolow (Koln), Menachim Ussischkin (Odessa), and Chaim Weizmann (Manchester) as opposed to leaders such as David Wolfsohn (Koln) and Max Nordau (Paris).

The delegates were from all over the Jewish world such as Altona, Baku, Belfast, Kapstadt (Cape Town), Ferrara, Eperjes, Rzeszow, Troppau, and Kolomea, just to name a few. Many were religious leaders, politicians, merchants, academics, journalists, doctors, and other prominent professions including a delegate who was a “Sir”, Sir Francis Montefiore, from London.

There were twenty delegates from America too and these included some of the following, a number of which only had the designation “Amerika” with no town: 
  • ARONSON, A., Brooklyn HURWITZ, Albert, Boston
  • ABERSON, Dabc, Brooklyn JASIN, Dr. Joseph, New York
  • ALBUS, Isaac, Amerika KAROLINSKY, Dr. B., Rochester, NY
  • AWRUNIM (Avrunim), Gerson, Detroit NORWALK, A.W., Amerika
  • BARONDESS, Joseph, New York REINHERZ, George, Boston
  • BELOVE, Benjamin, Kansas City, MO SCHLOESSINGER, Dr. M., Philadelphia
  • BLUESTONE, Dr. J.D., New York SCHREIBER, Meyer S., Jersey City, NJ
  • BRODSKY, H., Newark SYRKIN, Dr. N., New York
  • BRODSKY, M. Brooklyn WAIS, H., Chicago
  • FRIEDENWALD, Dr. Edgar, Baltimore ZOLOTKOFF, Leon, Chicago
One of the most well-known of the American delegates was Joseph Barondess (1867-1928), born in Bar, near Kamenetz Podolsk, Poland. He was a noted pioneer American labor leader and founder of the Cloak Maker’s Union as well as Zionist propagandist and founder of the American Jewish Congress. 

Another delegate was the Baltimore physician and philanthropist, Dr. Edgar Friedenwald, the scion of a Baltimore Jewish dynasty. He was the son of eminent physician Dr. Aaron Friedenwald and grandson of Jonas Friedenwald, 1802-1893, who was born in Altenbusek, Hesse-Darmstadt, and came to America where he struck it rich. 

A prominent Chicago delegate was Leon Zolotkoff, editor of the Yiddish language Chicago “Courier”. He was also the founder of the Knights of Zion, one of the earliest Zionist groups in America which raised funds to purchase land for settlement in Palestine.

Each one of these delegates has a story to tell and their rise to prominence in the Zionist hierarchy and participation in the Zionist Congress is of great relevance to those who have an interest in not only their family history, but that of the foundation of the State of Israel. The entire listing of delegates to the Ninth Zionist Congress will shortly be put into an on-line database which will include a description of the delegates and their accomplishments and other information pertinent to them. So, watch for further announcements about this on the Blog.  

JewishGen Holocaust Database Update - July 2009

Posted By Nolan Altman

JewishGen is pleased to announce its 2009 pre-Conference update to the JewishGen Holocaust Database. This update includes more than 93,000 new records. The JewishGen Holocaust Database holdings now exceed of 2 million records!

Since last year’s conference, we have added 26 new component databases and 5 necrologies to the greater JewishGen Holocaust Database. (When you perform your searches at the address above, you automatically search all of the component databases.) The JewishGen Holocaust Database now contains in excess of 160 component databases. A listing of each of the component databases with descriptions and links to each project’s introduction can be found by scrolling down the main search page address listed above.

The database continues to grow, thanks in large part to the partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Yad Vashem is another valuable source of information for us, especially for Yizkor book necrologies. In addition to these two institutions, we have begun receiving interesting original research by JewishGen users and academicians. We believe JewishGen is an ideal location for the “publishing” of these pieces.

All component databases have a project introduction. The introduction will give you further information about the historical background of the list, location of the original source document, fields used in the database, translation aides when applicable and acknowledgements to those that helped with data entry, validation and online preparation of the list.

Among the additions this year are the following component databases:
  • Miranda de Ebro Prisoners (Miranda de Ebro, Spain). This camp was central camp in Spain for foreign prisoners. - over 15,000 records.
  • Radom Prison Records (Radom, Poland). Jewish and non-Jewish records of prisoners held in the city’s prison from 1939 through 1944 – over 14,000 records.
  • 1942 Arad Census (Arad, Transylvania, Romania). The Arad census is unique for two reasons 1) there are no other Jewish censuses from other towns, and 2) most of the Jewish population in Arad fortunately survived, unlike the Jewish population of so many other Romanian towns – over 9,600 records.
  • Lublin Lists (Lublin, Poland). Two lists have been added, 1) Initial Registration of Lublin’s Jews in October 1939 and January 1940 and 2) Stettin (Szczecin) Jewish deportations into the Lublin area – over 7,600 records.
  • Lodz Ghetto Work Cards (Lodz, Poland). Information from the work identification cards for over 5,600 Lodz Ghetto residents. Additional installments to this database will be made as data is verified.
  • Riese and Gross Rosen Records (Riese / Gross Rosen, Germany / Poland). Data from 5 separate lists which include information on over 4,800 forced laborers and prisoner transports involving Riese, Gross Rosen, Auschwitz and Tannhausen camps.
  • French Hidden Children. A partial listing of over 4,000 children from the records of the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE), a French Jewish humanitarian organization that saved hundreds of refugee children during WW II.
  • Cernăuţi, Romania / Chernivsti, Ukraine Lists. Close to 4,000 records from 61 different lists regarding residents of this town between 1940 and1943.
  • Polish Jewish Prisoners of War. Almost 3,000 records from the Jewish Historical Institute (JHI) in Warsaw of soldiers captured by the Germans and held at various Wehrmacht camps.
  • Yizkor Book Necrologies. More than 8,000 records from Pinsk and Shchuchyn in Belarus, Suwalki and Lublin in Poland and Konotop in the Ukraine.
To see all the added material, please visit the JewishGen Holocaust Database by clicking here

We would also like to extend our thanks to all of the volunteers who have assisted in making this data available to you. Their names are listed in the individual project introductions.

If you are interested in assisting data entry or have a database at you think would be appropriate for the JewishGen Holocaust Database, please contact me directly by clicking here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Joanna Leefer

Joanna Leefer
Administration/Development Assistant


If you received a thank you for your most recent JewishGen contribution more promptly than in the past, you can thank Joanna Leefer.

In the fall of 2008, Joanna began volunteering for JewishGen and helped with online fundraising. Since that time, she has expanded her role by becoming the point person for sending out donor acknowledgments, ensuring that volunteer agreements are updated in a timely manner and other administrative tasks that vary on a weekly basis.

“I am glad to be of assistance at JewishGen’s New York’s office,” Joanna stated. “I think it is important for all Jews to have a connection with their past, and I feel fortunate I can be of service.”

When she is not helping JewishGen, Joanna works part-time for an advocacy organization for the elderly in New York City and in her free time, enjoys swimming, reading and researching her own Jewish roots.

She lives with her husband and son in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, NY.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

European Research: Tips and Tools For Success Ancestry Webinar


Posted By Ann Rabinowitz 
On Tuesday, July 21, 2009, Ancestry.com gave one of its many illuminating hour long how-to webinars (which can be heard by clicking here).
This webinar was entitled “European Research:  Tips and Tools for Success” and was moderated by Jana Lloyd, Editor of “Ancestry Monthly Update” with speaker Juliana Smith, Editor, “Ancestry Weekly Discovery”.  Ever popular, the webinar attracted over 1,000 listeners, many of whom were average genealogical researchers who already knew the name of their ancestral town.
According to Juliana Smith, the most important items to have before starting research in Europe are the following:
  • Name and approximate birth date of ancestor.
  • County or province and city or town where they lived.
  • Other family members such as grandparents or siblings.
  • Occupations.
  • Associates such as sponsors, neighbors and others from the same town.
In addition, utilizing the following resources will enhance your background information in your foray to European sources:
  • Family Bibles
  • Diaries
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Heirlooms
To further assist the researcher in their preparation to find overseas records, Ancestry.com has several important record collections which can be utilized:
  • Passenger arrival records
  • U.S. Passport Applications
  • Naturalization Records
  • New York Immigrant Savings Bank, 1850-1883, Records
  • World War I Draft Registration Cards
  • Historic Newspapers (40 million pages)
Given the results of the above resources, researchers can now proceed to search European records.  However, one of the most daunting aspects of European research is the inability of most researchers to read or translate the records.  One of the newest tools on the Internet are finding aides and translation tools.  Many of these can be found on Ancestry.com or by googling the language you are looking for. 

Further resources such as FamilySearch.com’s catalog (available here) can find your town of origin and the resources it may have.  I tried this for a town I was interested in which was Wandsbek, Germany, and found a reference to microfilm with Jewish birth, marriage and death records from 1840-1866 which was the exact time period I was searching for.  Also mentioned was a Yizkor Book for the area.

Other resources such as Cyndi’s List, and the WorldGen Web Project can be quite helpful too.  Mentioned also were several wonderful map collections including those of the FEEFHS and the Perry-Castañeda Library .
 

Taking time to listen to webinars such as this, despite the fact that they are general in nature and not focused on Jewish resources, will still very often give you clues as to new resources or give you a process to follow to begin your research.  Other webinars can be found in the Ancestry.com archive.  

So, click on the link to the webinar and begin your new learning experience!

High Tech Sparked Genealogy Buzz


Three years ago, David Mink began volunteering at the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, helping to index its microfilmed collection of ledgers from the city's long-defunct Rosenbaum, Blitzstein, Lipschutz and Rosenbluth banks. The early 20th-century banks doubled as agencies to facilitate immigrants' money transfers to relatives in Europe to book ship passage here. 
A fellow volunteer eventually pointed out some interesting information to Mink: A March 26, 1923 entry had been made for $98 that Mink's grandfather, Jacob Pseny, had paid to bring over a cousin, Fraitel Szklarz of Moselle, France. Another entry showed Pseny's transfer of $104 to his grandmother's brother, Avrum Gruber, of Siemiatis, Poland. Neither relative bought the ticket -- probably because of U.S. immigration restrictions, Mink speculated -- and Pseny received a refund.
"I was absolutely flabbergasted," Mink said of the discoveries.
Thanks to the Internet, Jews today can experience such Eureka! moments from the comfort of home. Most of the Philadelphia bank records are available on the popular Web site JewishGen.org -- just one example of improvements in Jewish genealogy in the digital age.

Such technological advancements will be front and center at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conference, to be held Aug. 2-7 at the Sheraton Philadelphia Center City Hotel. At last year's Chicago conference, a session on maximizing one's research on Google proved so popular that three such talks are scheduled this time, with other sessions covering the capabilities of Google Earth in plotting important family sites in a shtetl, and of Google Translate in searching and e-mailing abroad, said Philadelphia conference program chair Mark Halpern. (Jewish Exponent)

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

9,000 entries added to the Hungarian Jewish Census Records 1770-1850 database

Nearly 9,000 entries have been added to the Hungarian Jewish Census Records 1770-1850 database. The new data covers the following Hungarian counties and years:

Abauj 1773; Arad 1773; Arva 1774-5; Bacs-Bodrog 1773-4; Barany 1775;
Bihar 1816, 1820-21; Fejer (Alba) 1774; Gyor (Jaur) 1770, 1774; Hont
1770, 1775; Komarom 1771, 1774, 1775; Moson 1770, 1773; Pozsony 1770,
1773, 1774; Szatmar 1771; Zala 1770, 1773; Zemplen 1771, 1774.
   
Other counties are currently being transcribed for the 1770-1775 period.

Click here to learn more about the database and here to visit the JewishGen Hungarian SIG.

Project catalogs 5,600 graves at Jewish cemeteries

Hat Tip: Nolan Altman
Marty Cohen hadn't visited his grandparents' graves in nearly 40 years. So long, in fact, that in the dizzying maze of Hebrew and English headstones in the city's old Jewish cemeteries, he couldn't find their plots. It was an embarrassing admission for Cohen, who knows that failing to remember the past and your ancestors is almost a scandal in Jewish families.
So he turned to Gloria Green, who he had heard was patching together a new digital catalog of the cemeteries on Kelly Street, where Indianapolis' Jewish community has been burying its dead for 150 years. In a few keystrokes, the weight was lifted.
"It was just a matter of boom, zip and she had a photo of their stone and a location for them," Cohen said.
Green recently completed a three-year project to build a new online database of all the 5,600 graves in the 11 Kelly Street cemeteries -- an effort hailed by genealogists and historians as filling a crucial hole in the preservation of the city's Jewish past.
Green and volunteers sifted through handwritten congregational and mortuary records dating to 1935. And they went headstone to headstone through the crowded rows of graves. In some cases, Green dived into thickets searching for headstones lost to time and overgrowth.
The richest trove of new information may be the record of the dead buried by poorer ethnic immigrant groups whose record keeping was the spottiest -- those of Russian, Polish and Hungarian Jewish descent and one cemetery owned by a synagogue known simply as "the peddlers congregation."
The wave of Jewish immigration to Indianapolis began with a trickle of German Jews who arrived in the decade before the Civil War. Other groups followed. But at its peak in the 1920s, the area bounded by Bluff Road and South Meridian, McCarty and Raymond streets was a thriving Jewish enclave of merchants and tailors, butchers and scrap dealers -- roughly 6,000 in all.
Click here to read the entire article and here to visit JewishGen's Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR).

Holocaust Testimonials Online

The Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive at the University of Michigan-DearbornWith has approximately 300 interviews in its collection, with more than 100 available online. (Spero)
Click here to read the entire article and learn more.

JOWBR Update

Posted By Nolan Altman

JewishGen is pleased to announce its 2009 pre-Conference update to the JOWBR (JewishGen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry) database.  The JOWBR database can be accessed here
This update includes more than 94,000 new records and approximately 12,000 new photos from 16 countries.  This brings JOWBR’s holdings in excess of 1.2 million records from more than 2,400 cemeteries / cemetery section from 46 countries!  
Of particular note in this update are the following additions:
  • U.S. National Cemetery Records.  We are very proud to add more than 23,000 records from 150 national cemeteries located in 46 states and Puerto Rico.  These records represent veterans whose markers have a Star of David on it.
  • Iasi, Romania.  Thanks to Reuven Singer and his team for more than 17,500 additional burial records translated from the Hebrew burial register from 1888 – 1894 and women’s records from 1915 – 1943.
  • Bathurst, Ontario.  Thanks to Kevin Hanit and Allen Halberstadt representing the JGS of Canada (Toronto) for more than 9,000 records from 60 sections of this Canadian cemetery.
  • Krakow, Poland.  Thanks to Lili Haber and the Association of Cracowians in Israel for their submission of more than 6,300 records from the Miodowa Street Cemetery in Krakow.
  • Vitsyebsk, Belarus.  Thanks to Esther Herschman Rechtschafner for submitting more than 5,600 cemetery records and creating a ShtetLink site for Vitebsk (located here).
  • Bayside, NY. Thanks to Maurice Kessler and his team for an additional 5,600 records from the Bayside / Ozone Queens cemetery complex whose original records were documented by Florence Marmor and David Gevertzman.
  • Chernivtsi, Ukraine.  Thanks to the JGS of Ottawa, Canada’s Hymie Reichstein and Bruce Reisch for an additional installment  of more than 4,300 records and photos for this cemetery
  • Petach Tikvah, Israel.  Thanks to Gilda Kurtzman for her ongoing work at the Segulah Cemetery in Petach Tikvah with approximately 4,300 additional records and 1,500 additional photos.
  • Maryland Records.  Thanks to the Jewish Museum of Maryland (www.jewishmuseummd.org) for an additional 3,900 records from various Baltimore area cemeteries.
  • Uzhhorod, Ukraine (Ungvár, Hungary).  Special thanks to a team of volunteers who helped to transcribe more than 3,900 burial records from the Hebrew burial register predominantly from pre-World War I Ungvár, Hungary.  Transcription volunteers Al Silberman, Batya Gottlieb, Shaul Sharoni, Solomon Schlussel, Vivian Kahn, and Zygomnt Boxer have been working on this for almost a year.  Joseph Zajonc, Shula Laby, Yossi Gal, and Richard Nemes have been working from a handwritten Yiddish register.
  • Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma.  Thanks to Terry Lasky who has submitted records and photographs that he has personally created or coordinated with other volunteers in these states. This update includes approximately 3,500 new records and more than 3,900 photographs.
  • Argentina.  Thanks to Yehuda Mathov for coordinating and submitting more than 900 additional records from various Argentinean cemeteries.
  • Wisconsin, Belarus & Lithuania.  Thanks to Joel Alpert for adding close to 900 burial records from his ShtetLink pages for the unlikely trio of Sheboygan Wisconsin, Lyepyel Belarus and Jurbarkas Lithuania.  Special thanks to Rabbi Edward Boraz of the Dartmouth Hillel Project Preservation program whose student members restore cemeteries in Eastern Europe for translation and use of the Jurbarkas stones.
  • Foreign Language Volunteers.  Special thanks to our team of Hebrew and foreign language translators for their patience working with often very hard to read headstones; David Rosen, Ernest Kallman, Gilberto Jugend, Nathen Gabriel, Osnat Hazan, Reuben Gross, Shay Meyer and Zygmont Boxer.
We anticipate that the next update will be between late fall and the end of the calendar year. 
We appreciate all the work our donors have done and encourage you to make additional submissions. Whether you work on a cemetery / cemetery section individually or consider a group project for your local Society, temple or other group, it’s your submissions that help grow the JOWBR database and make it possible for researchers and family members to find answers they otherwise might not.  
Please also consider other organizations you may be affiliated with that may already have done cemetery indexing that would consider having their records included in the JOWBR database.

Nolan Altman
VP for Data Acquisition
JOWBR – Coordinator

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Litvak Connection


Posted By Ann Rabinowitz
During the Delray Beach Florida Film Festival-May 19-24, 2009, a new film was previewed entitled “The Litvak Connection”.  The short documentary was produced by Karen Lynne and Richard Bloom and dealt with the destruction of Litvak Jewry and subsequent attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice.  It is approximately 30-31 minutes in length and can be viewed online for free by clicking here (or scroll to the bottom of this post).  
The documentary is a result of producer Richard Bloom’s research into his family roots in Merkine, Lithuania, and Berditchev and Kiev, Ukraine.  It was during his research that he learned the terrible fates of those who never were able to emigrate to America.  He feels quite emotionally that . . . 
“There can never be enough films, books, and course about the Shoah.  With anti-Semitism rising throughout the globe, with Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and other Islamic fundamentalist groups vowing to destroy Israel along with the Taliban and Al Qaeda who want the destruction of western civilization, we must all be proactive.  We can not allow history to repeat itself.”

He captures archival interview footage of 
The survivors recount some of their experiences, particularly how their neighbors participated in the killings of Jews.  Their full interviews can be further researched online by clicking here
I was particularly interested in the interviews as I knew Abraham Malnik, who was a regular participant with his wife Lily in the “Litvisher”, the annual winter gathering of Lithuanian Jews in South Florida.
An interview with Eli M. Rosenbaum, Chief of the Office of Special Investigations, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, puts another face on the Litvak connection. He speaks quite candidly about government investigations as well as disappointments in trying to bring Nazi and/or local war criminals to justice at this late date.

An introduction follows to the next level of the Litvak connection, that of Operation Last Chance.  This organization is sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center under the supervision of Dr. Efraim Zuroff of the Israeli office.  Working diligently, their efforts to prosecute Nazi war criminals, as of July 11, 2008, are seen below in the nine (9) countries they have initiated activities in so far:

 Statistics – As of July 11, 2008
 

The continued efforts of Operation Last Chance, holds the hope that many more Nazis as well as their local collaborators will be brought to justice.  This includes those who escaped by lying on their visas so they could go to other countries or those who slipped back into their old lives whilst the world just forgot their iniquities.

A complementary philanthropic organization which funds some of the activities of Operation Last Chance is the Targum Shlishi Foundation.  It was created in 1992 by Aryeh and Raquel Rubin in Aventura, FL, and more information on it can be found by clicking here
Discussed by Aryeh Rubin were the possible reasons that American Jews and others did not immediately go after Holocaust perpetrators either during or after the War.  Given that, he now feels that it is the last opportunity to rectify that neglect by participating in Operation Last Chance which he feels very strongly about.
Two genealogists listed as resources for the film were:  Howard Margol, former President of the Litvak SIG and present Board Member, and Steve Lasky, creator of the on-line Museum of Jewish Family History.  Another Litvak resource utilized was the head of the Lithuanian Jewish community, Dr. Simonas Alperavicius
The film provides much in the way of thought-provoking ideas to consider as well as quite a number of links to Jewish organizations involved in the Holocaust and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Watch The Free Video Below

Update: No Graves Under Golf Course Gravestones

As an update to this post, it appears that the gravestones discovered on a golf course in Long Island where defective and donated to "protect the course's 17th hole against the waters of Reynolds Channel."
Click here to read the entire article.

Yiddish Resurfaces as a Political Language in NYC

In 1897, Isaac Fromme, an office-seeker from the largely Jewish Lower East Side, punctuated his campaign palaver with Yiddishisms to refute insinuations that he was Irish. In 1922, Fiorello H. La Guardia was re-elected to Congress from East Harlem after he rebutted charges of anti-Semitism by challenging a rival to debate in Yiddish. La Guardia, a son of Jewish and Italian parents, was fluent in Yiddish. His Jewish rival was not.

That Yiddish remains the second language of New York politics was demonstrated yet again over the weekend in the disembodied debate between Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the State Senate.

On Friday, Mr. Bloomberg said that for the Senate to adjourn for the summer without voting to extend his control over New York City’s school system was “meshugeneh.”

To which State Senator Hiram Monserrate replied on Sunday: “We believe it would be meshugeneh not to include parents in the education of our children. As opposed to loosely using the word ‘meshugeneh,’ we would also say we don’t need a yenta on the other side of this argument and this debate.”

Neither Mr. Monserrate, who is Hispanic, nor Mr. Bloomberg, who is Jewish, was surgically precise with his Yiddishism.

But their casual embrace of an onomatopoetic language is a reminder of how universal Yiddish has become. Not only in New York, where Jews now constitute fewer than one in five mayoral election voters, but even beyond. Meshuga and yenta both appear in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The last Jewish mayor, Edward I. Koch, suggested as much on Monday when he offered an obvious reason why New York politicians drift into Yiddish. “They all want to sound like citizens of the world,” Mr. Koch said.

“I think that Mayor Bloomberg probably used Yiddish as a way of having his kugel and eating it, too,” said Michael Wex, the author of “Born to Kvetch” and “Just Say Nu.”

“His use of meshugeneh — a not uncommon solecism, incidentally; the adverb should be meshuga — seems intended to strengthen his point at the same time as it gives his expression of it a heartfelt, rather than denunciatory, feel,” Mr. Wex said. “The idea that ‘this is crazy, pure and simple’ comes across all the more strongly by implying that English simply lacks the words to describe what he’s feeling — that in his guts, as they used to say, he knows it’s nuts." (NYTimes)
Click here to read the rest of the article. For more information about efforts to preserve and celebrate the culture of Yiddish, be sure to visit the National Yiddish Book Center by clicking here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jewish Gravestones Discovered in Golf Course

Hundreds of partially engraved Jewish tombstones shore up portions of the Woodmere Club golf course against the waters of Reynolds Channel. 
In one area, the tide laps at a pillar with an engraved Star of David. Elsewhere, the names Morris Gutterman, Ira Feinberg and Hyman Friedman are etched into individual stones close to the clubhouse.
Some of the stacked markers bear only monograms or surnames like Troob and Levy, but none bear visible birth and death dates. 
Jeffrey Markinson of Silver Monument Works -- a Jewish gravestone maker on Manhattan's Lower East Side -- believes they could be discarded pieces from a manufacturer. "I would like to think that this was extra granite," he said.
While golfers at the predominantly Jewish club rarely see the macabre piles, maintenance staffers are well aware of them. "I've been told that they've been here for 50 or 100 years," said one groundskeeper. "No one knows where they came from, but I think we inherited them." The worker said that course staffers avoid mentioning the mysterious markers to club members to avoid any potential controversy.
Woodmere Club general manager Donald Mollitor said that he was not aware of the stones but would look into it. Ahron Weiner, 38, of Hewlett, stumbled upon the stones last week while walking along some of the course's wildlife-rich fringes. The Orthodox Jewish photographer said he was stunned by the find."I'm not saying that this can't be the result of an innocuous business transaction," he said.

"But these stones, carved with Jewish names and used as embankment material on a private golf course are reminiscent of towns that I saw in Europe where Jewish gravestones were used by the Nazis as building material."
One club member described the markers simply as "truly bizarre. There's no doubt about that. To have those names sort of floating out there is troubling." (NYPost)

Click here to read the entire article

Mishpacha Magazine: A Genealogy Resource

Posted By Ann Rabinowitz 

Five years ago, “Mishpacha”, the most widely read orthodox magazine in Israel decided to put out an English-language edition to broaden its readership base.  Since then, the magazine has grown and one can find articles that focus on Jewish content from all over the world.  The articles are accompanied by beautifully done photographs which enhance the text.  The magazine can be located on-line at the following site:  www.mishpacha.com.

The most recent edition, Issue 267, July 15, 2009, is an example of the broad scope of the many articles it contains which are of genealogical interest.  A major article is entitled “Keeper of Memories:  The Astounding Life and Career of Yaffa Eliach” by Barbara Bensoussan.  Of course, many genealogists are familiar with Dr. Eliach who has written extensively on her ancestral shtetl of Eishyshok, Lithuania, and this piece provides further definition of her accomplishments.
Another well-written article is “Jews of the Emerald Isle” by Shira Yehudit Djlilmand.  The article provides a history of the Jewish community in Ireland along with wonderful photos and coverage of what the community is like today.  Well worth reading.  
Additionally, writer Lily Astaire takes readers on a visit to Girona, Spain, in her article “In the Footsteps of the Ramban, A Visit to Jewish Catalonia, Part Two”.  This provides an insightful discussion of the place where Moses Nahmanides or the Ramban, 1194-1270, lived and had his yeshiva.  Nahmanides was a famous critic of Moses Maimonides, the Rambam, 1138-1204, who lived in nearby Cordoba.  The restoration of the historic structures of pre-Inquisition Girona and the finding of many ancient documents going back to the 13th Century are the focus of this quite interesting piece.   

The magazine also focuses on American communities too with such complementary articles as:  “A Right Turn to Woodbourne” by Rochel Weinstein which covers the history of Woodbourne, NY, and its settlers from Lodz and Warsaw and its accommodation of Jewish summer visitors.   The other article is “Jewish Life in the Country” by Barbara Bensoussan, which discusses the tradition of going away during the summer to bungalow communities.

You may find the latest information on various Jewish communities around the world or tidbits on certain traditions and historical and rabbinical figures.  All have a place in this magazine which is sure to please many genealogists.

Friday, July 17, 2009

IAJGS Update

A few days ago, we posted a reminder about the deadline for advance purchase of tickets to the optional programs (breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, workshops and tours) being offered at the 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
The deadline is this Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm US central time
It has come to our attention that some might like clear instructions as to how to update their registration and since we would hate to see anyone miss out for lack of information, we are posting this message. 
  • To update your registration, you will need to log in with your last name and password.
  • After you visit the conference website (www.Philly2009.org), please click on the REGISTRATION UPDATE selection in the list on the left of the page. You will then be asked to enter your last name and password. You will now be able to update any of your registrant information. To add an optional breakfast, luncheon, dinner, workshop or tour, choose the OPTIONAL PROGRAMS link on the left.
  • After selecting any items that you would like to add, be sure to page down and click the Submit Changes button.
If you have not yet signed up for optional programs, consider doing so to enhance your conference experience. Tickets may be available for purchase at the conference. But this is not guaranteed. Avoid being disappointed at finding that an event you want has been sold out or that sales are closed. 
See you all very soon.
Anne Feder Lee
David Mink
Philly2009 Co-Chairs

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Mute Stones

Poland is fertile ground for a fantasy. So much Jewish history, so little Jewish presence. The country is underpopulated by Jews and overpopulated with Jewish ghosts, towns and cities once shaped by Jewish life and culture now haunted by specters of a melancholic and brutal history that hover over trampled cemeteries and begrudging monuments, or as you find in Warsaw, a shimmering office building of mirrored glass built on the ground where the Great Synagogue once stood and the Chinese embassy that, many believe, sits on dirt where the final, undiscovered milk can of Emanuel Ringelblum’s Warsaw Ghetto documents is still buried. (TabletMag)
Click here to read the rest of the article and here to learn more about Krakow.

Jewish Cemetery Preserved in Nizhyn, Ukraine

Click here to read the entire article. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Piecing together Jewish pasts in Poland

Makowska-Kwapisiewicz is part of a Jewish awakening taking place in Poland.
Like a country of amnesiacs waking up from the trauma of Nazism followed by the silence and historical whitewashing of communism, Poles are now trying to piece together their collective memory. In doing so they are discovering, often in quite personal ways, their Jewish roots.

While for Poles this awakening is about discovering their Jewish roots, for Jews worldwide it’s about discovering their Polish Jewish roots.

Karen Underhill, a doctoral student in Polish history at the University of Chicago who is a former bookstore owner in Krakow, says Jews visiting Poland used to come by her shop seeking information about their heritage. Poland, she says, has become a place for Jews to rediscover their Jewish roots, particularly those who do not have a strong connection to contemporary Jewish communal life or Israel.

This month, American Jewish visitor Jeff Wachtel said he saw his own family when visiting the Galicia Jewish museum, which houses an exhibit of Mayer Kirshenblatt’s paintings of his boyhood Polish town.

“I had no sense of what their life was like,” said Wachtel, a senior assistant to the president of Stanford University. But when he heard Kirshenblatt talk of his Poland, it reminded him of his own family.

“When I was listening to it, I was sure that that’s where my mother grew up,” Wachtel said. “For the first time, part of my past became very understood in my mind.”

Three-quarters of American Jews trace their roots to Greater Poland -- including Poland and parts of Ukraine, Austria and Hungary -- according to Tad Taube, the San Francisco-based philanthropist who is funding a variety of efforts to connect American Jews to their Polish Jewish heritage.

Approximately 3.5 million Jews lived in Poland before the war; more than 90 percent disappeared in the Holocaust.

As Poles uncover their Jewish pasts, a small Jewish community is re-emerging here. Michael Schudrich, the New York-bred chief rabbi of Poland, says there are about 30,000 Jews in Poland.(JTA)

Click here to read the entire article.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A True Hero


Other deaths won the headlines, but this month saw the passing of an important figure.
Gen. Bela Kiraly was a true hero several times over.
As a young officer in the Hungarian army (which was allied with the Nazis), he was put in charge of 400 Jewish slave laborers on the Ukrainian front. Kiraly bravely disobeyed orders to work them to death. Instead, he put the Jews in Hungarian uniforms and treated them humanely. For this, the Israelis at Yad Vashem honored him as a "righteous gentile." (NYPOST)
Click here to read the entire article.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Historical Jewish Newspapers Going Online

ProQuest continues to expand its renowned news program with several significant additions to ProQuest Historical Newspapers, including historical Jewish Newspapers, which will provide a new resource for exploring and understanding the Jewish experience through the lens of American Jewish newspapers.

Historical Jewish Newspapers will provide users with access to esteemed Jewish newspapers from across the U.S. Newspapers such as The Jewish Advocate (1905-1990) from Boston, The Jewish Exponent* (1887-1990) from Philadelphia, and other key papers allow users to explore the experience of Jews in America, including coverage of the rise of Zionism, reaction to US policy toward Israel, participation in labor movements and civil rights, as well as community news of value to genealogists.

In ProQuest Historical Newspapers, researchers can browse full-text and full-image newspapers from significant U.S. and international titles, dating back to the 18th century. With continuous newspaper runs, scholars can read each digitized issue cover to cover, or narrow their search by specifying one of 20 different document types (articles, editorials, advertisements, obituaries, etc.), date, and author. (WWJ)

Click here to read the entire article.

*Click here to search through The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent Obituary Database on JewishGen. This database is an index of 35,000 obituary notices which appeared in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, compiled by volunteers from the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia. Data is currently available for the years 1887-1909, 1914-1936, 1946, 1950, 1955-1957, Jul-Dec 1958, Jan-Sep 1970, 1979, 1992-1994, and 2004-2007.

IAJGS Update

Posted By Anne Feder Lee 

This is a reminder that the deadline for purchasing tickets to all the optional programs being offered at the 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is coming very soon: 
Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:59 PM - US Central Time.
There are:
  • Very interesting Breakfasts with the Experts (please note that 1 is already sold out).
  • Enlightening SIG Luncheons
  • Instructive Computer Workshops and two other workshops 
  • Enjoyable and fascinating Tours 
  • A great Welcome dinner perfect to starting to get to know people 
  • An exciting Banquet with announcement of the IAJGS Achievement Award Winners and Comedian Yisrael Campbell.
Do not delay if you want to make sure you have a place at any of these programs. Participating in one or more of these events will most certainly enhance your conference experience.
To add any of these optional programs, please go to Registration Update.  You will need your log-in and password received in your conference registration e-mail confirmation. While you can check at the Registration Desk after conference begins to see if tickets are still available for purchase, but we can't guarantee that they will be available.

See you all very soon,

Anne Feder Lee
David Mink
Philly2009 Co-Chairs

Demjanjuk charged in Germany for 27,900 counts of being an acessory to murder

German prosecutors formally charged John Demjanjuk on Monday with 27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder at a Nazi death camp during World War II.
The charges against the 89-year-old retired auto worker, who was deported from the U.S. in May, were filed at a Munich state court, prosecutors in the city said in a brief statement.
Doctors cleared the way for formal charges earlier this month, determining that Demjanjuk (dem-YAHN'-yuk) was fit to stand trial so long as court hearings do not exceed two 90-minute sessions per day.
The court must now decide whether to accept the charges — usually a formality — and set a date for the trial. Court spokeswoman Margarete Noetzel said the trial was unlikely to start before the autumn.
Demjanjuk lawyer Guenther Maull had no immediate comment on the charges, saying he had not yet seen them. Charges of accessory to murder carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison in Germany. 
Prosecutors accuse Demjanjuk of serving as a guard at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943.
Demjanjuk, a native of Ukraine, says he was a Red Army soldier who spent the war as a prisoner of war and never hurt anyone.
But Nazi-era documents obtained by U.S. justice authorities and shared with German prosecutors include a photo ID identifying Demjanjuk as a guard at the Sobibor death camp and saying he was trained at an SS facility for Nazi guards at Trawniki, also in Nazi-occupied Poland. U.S. and German experts have declared the ID genuine.
Demjanjuk gained U.S. citizenship in 1958. The U.S. Justice Department moved to revoke the citizenship in 1977, alleging he hid his past as a Nazi death camp guard, and it was revoked in 1981.
Demjanjuk was tried in Israel over accusations that he was the notorious "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka death camp in Poland. He was found guilty in 1988 of war crimes and crimes against humanity but the conviction was overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.
That decision came after Israel won access to Soviet archives, which had depositions given after the war by 37 Treblinka guards and forced laborers who said "Ivan" was a different Ukrainian named Ivan Marchenko.
Demjanjuk's U.S. citizenship was restored in 1998. However, a U.S. judge revoked it again in 2002 based on fresh Justice Department evidence showing he concealed his service at Sobibor and other Nazi-run death and forced-labor camps from immigration officials.
A U.S. immigration judge ruled in 2005 he could be deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine. Munich prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for him in March. 
They accused him in that warrant of being an accessory to murder in 29,000 cases. 
Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi-hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, welcomed the filing of formal charges.

"This is obviously an important step forward," Zuroff said by telephone from Jerusalem. "We hope that the trial itself will be expedited so that justice will be achieved and he can be given the appropriate punishment."

"The effort to bring Demjanjuk to justice sends a very powerful message that the passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the perpetrator," Zuroff said. (AP)

Click here to read the entire article.