Click here for the full article from the Telegraph.
The course is essentially a personal mentoring program through our online FORUM. Students post an ancestral branch, set goals for their research, and work one on one with the instructor.
If you have already researched census, manifests and vital records and still do not have information on your immigrant ancestors, please consider the JewishGen Intermediate Course (Breaking Brick Walls in the U.S.). Once you have found names and dates and former shtetls for your immigrant ancestors, you might consider the Advanced course (Using jewishGen to FindYour Ancestral Roots).
Students must be comfortable browsing the Internet and downloading files. To best utilize this class, we suggest students have 8-10 hours per week to read the lessons, sample the websites and interact with the FORUM.
Tuition for Basic Genealogy is $80. Please click here to enroll. The course fee is waived if you qualify for the Value Added Services having made a $100 donation to JewishGen's General Fund within the past 12 months; you can then enroll at no additional charge (the system will recognize you and will not ask for a credit card).
For questions, please email JewishGen-Education@lyris.JewishGen.org
German archives officials said Tuesday that they were unlikely to be able to afford to buy a major hoard of historic documents about Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler which comes up for auction at the end of this week.
The seven binders of papers were accumulated by prison authorities when Hitler was serving 13 months in jail 1923-24 and writing his book Mein Kampf. An auctioneer in the Nuremberg suburb of Fuerth says the minimum bid Friday will be 25,000 euros ($30,000).
Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler
Click here for the entire article.
To complement its current exhibition Theresienstadt: Drawn from the Inside, which features works produced in the Czech concentration camp by two amateur artists later murdered in Auschwitz, the Jewish Museum of Australia is presenting a music tribute honouring the lives of the musicians of Terezín.
From late 1943, Terezín was transformed into a macabre mock-up of a real society, designed to lull the Red Cross and eventually the world at large into believing that it was a benign resettlement program, where Jews would be beneficiaries of the Nazis’ humane treatment. In fact it was a way station to the death camps.
A vast array of cultural activity was created by Terezín inmates: symphony and opera, chamber and choral music, jazz and cabaret, and marvellous original compositions that survived despite the murder of their composers. That the inmates could continue to create and perform in a place that barely sustained life, where brutality, fear of resettlement, deadly disease and hunger were daily features, is testimony to their resilience, inner strength and belief in the vital necessity of art. Penned together in atrocious conditions, the cream of middle-European Jewish intellectual and creative life refused to lose either dignity or culture, clinging to a desperate faith in the future.
Just over 10% of the 144,000 Jews sent to Terezín survived. Creativity did not protect them from the Nazi machine, but it remains their legacy and homage to the 800-year history of Czech Jewry.
Click here for the entire article.
The N.C. Museum of History's exhibit of Jewish life in North Carolina is an immigrant tale with a happy ending: European families settle in the South, work hard, rear children, fight for educational opportunities and thrive.
While not a comprehensive history, the exhibit, "Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina," is the first of its kind, a celebration of a minority culture coming of age alongside the state's overwhelming Protestant majority.
Although Jews settled across the South, and other Southern states, notably South Carolina and Georgia, have synagogues dating back far earlier, North Carolina's Jewish community is finally getting its due. A documentary on the state's Jews aired last week on public television, and a school curriculum has now been developed.
In three rooms on the first floor of the museum, the exhibit conveys the essentials of Jewish life, vignette-style, with life-sized models of a Jewish peddler, a Jewish five- and-dime, a Jewish kitchen.
The history on display here begins in the late 1800s, when East European Jews were lured South by the owner of a Baltimore dry goods warehouse who sent his agents to the docks to meet immigrant Jews and offer them work peddling his wares in emerging manufacturing towns in the South.
Many of those peddlers eventually made a home in North Carolina, trading their wagons for stores. Some started chains such as Family Dollar and Pic 'n Pay Shoes. A few, such as Cones of Greensboro or the Blumenthals of Charlotte, built factories and assembly plants for denim, radiators, rubber parts and household chemicals.
Click here for the entire article.
York's Jewish history dates back to the community's earliest days. It was known that a Jewish fur trapper and trader lived in the then-frontier settlement.
During the Revolutionary War era, one of the most prominent families in York was a Jewish merchant and his vivacious wife, who was known as an outstanding hostess. And then, the history ends for a while. Jews would not come to York until almost the mid-1800s when merchants arrived from Germany. That would be followed at the end of that century by an influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe.
There is a plethora of Jewish history within a few blocks. At one time, there were three synagogues/temples in the area, not to mention several evolutions of the York Jewish Community Center.
Click here for the entire article.
LAWRENCE - Sephardic Jews in America are a minority of a minority, as they are vastly outnumbered by Jews of Eastern European, German, Russian and Polish descent known as Ashkenazi Jews.
But Sephardim form an important part of the Jewish heritage and tapestry, with ancestors who fled to the Ottoman Empire after they were expelled from their native Spain in 1492.
Click here for the entire article.
About six years ago, an American Christian woman asked local genealogist Michael Goldstein to find out whether her maternal grandfather was Jewish. Her suspicion was based on a vague gut instinct and contradicted her grandfather's own words - even his marriage certificate clearly stated he was Christian. Goldstein, who heads Israel's Genealogical Society, thought he was dealing with another wannabe Jew. Reluctantly, he started to dig.
Within about a week, the Toronto native located a woman who lived in Haifa who seemed to be related to his client. "I approached her hesitatingly," recalled Goldstein, who this week is expected to be elected president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. After a short conversation it emerged that Goldstein's client was right: the Haifa woman was not only her cousin; her family tree reaches far into the Middle Ages, containing dozens of rabbis.
Click here for the entire article.
Our short conference video is now online on the JGSLA 2010 conference website home page. If you have friends that you think might want to attend the conference, tell them to take a look at the video. It’s an entertaining seven minutes! Here is the video:
Need a place to park your horse cart before attending the Market Square Fair? Conference parking information is now on our webpage here. You’ll see that there are lots of different pricing options located close to the hotel for day-trippers or long-termers.
Sunday Offerings are Multiplying!
We’ve recently added some exciting talks on Sunday, July 11, our opening day. Not only can you listen to the klezmer stylings of Hot Pstromi (a.k.a. Yale Strom) in the afternoon and evening, but also now you can discover the history of the other “hot pastrami” in the morning.
Were you born in the Year of the Pickle?
At 9:30 AM on Sunday, comedian Seth Front will offer “The Jewish Zodiac: A Culinary History of Jews in America (Based on the Astrological Signs of the Delicatessen)”, in which he tells the history of the Jewish deli in America, from its origins on the Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th century, its adaptation to American tastes, its assimilation into mainstream American culture and its challenges for survival in the 21st century. Among the many questions he tackles are: What foods did Jews bring with them from Eastern Europe? What’s the difference between a deli and an appetizing store? How did Broadway entertainers help popularize deli, and how did deli culture help ease Jewish entry into mainstream American society?
And a Branch Shall Grow Out of His Roots: What Can We Know About the Descendants of King David?”
Since so many of our conference-goers claim to be descended from King David, we though it fitting to invite an expert to explore these roots a bit deeper. Join noted author Jonathan Kirsch at 1 PM on Sunday for a special lunch and learn lecture (which means grab some food at our kiosk and dine to a scrumptious talk) as he deconstructs "And a Branch Shall Grow Out of His Roots: What Can We Know About the Descendants of King David?”, based on his biography of the single most crucial and controversial figure in the Hebrew Bible, King David: The Man Who Ruled Israel. It shows David to be a compelling but disturbingly complex man who was also a voracious lover, a troubled father, and a merciless warrior as well as a strikingly modern figure who prefigures Shakespearean tragedy, Machiavellian politics, and Freudian psychology.
The Intricate Tapestry of Iranian Jews
At 3:30 PM on Sunday, UCLA professor Nahid Pirnazar will weave tales of “The Intricate Tapestry of Iranian Jews.” She’ll discuss the paradoxical survival of the Jews of Persia through twenty-seven centuries of obscure history to the present time. Despite the mass emigration of Jews in 1978-1979, Iran still holds the largest Jewish community among the Islamic countries of the region. What happened to the Jewish community of Babylonia, those who stayed behind choosing not to go back to Jerusalem? What happened to those Jews who, throughout centuries, so greatly impacted the formation of Iranian culture and Identity?
Tell your friends who may be new to genealogy about attending the conference on opening day, Sunday, July 11. A full day of lectures, entertainment, classes, exhibits, films, the Market Square Fair, the Daniel Mendelsohn keynote and a dessert reception. $105 buys a day pass for all the offerings, or an evening pass starts at 6:30 PM for the nighttime events.
Yizkor Books at the IAJGS Conference – Put Your Requests in NOW
Thanks to a special arrangement made with two repositories – The Simon Wiesenthal Library at the Museum of Tolerance and the AJU Ostrow Library – conference attendees will be allowed to request that Yizkor (Holocaust memorial) books from their collections be brought to the conference resource room for viewing there. No need for you to travel to view these books! But you must request the ones you want ahead of time.
Below are instructions on how to search in both of their online catalogs for your towns of interest. If you find a book you want to request, please write to Ellen Mark with the details copied exactly (details on how to contact her are below). The book will be held at the resource room for you for the duration of the conference. We will have copy and scanning machines at the conference to make images from the pages of interest to you, or you can digitally photograph them. Make sure when you request a book to note the language it is in; many Yizkor books are not in English, but in Hebrew or Yiddish. Also note that many Yizkor books are now online at the New York Public Library and can be viewed in their entirely on their website here: http://legacy.www.nypl.org/research/chss/jws/yizkorbookonline.cfm
How to find Yizkor books from the MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE/SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER Library and Archives
To perform a search and make specific requests for Memorial (Yizkor) Books through the SWC Library catalog, click here, then:
- Under “What’s Here for You?” click on on-line catalog
- Click on Search the Library Catalog (books and media)
- In the “Library Catalog Search,” under “Subject or Keyword” use the term MEMORIAL BOOKS when searching for Yizkor materials.
- If you like, you can combine multiple search terms using “&” (an ampersand); e.g. Lodz & Memorial Books
- Click the Submit Inquiry button (you may need to scroll down) or hit ENTER
To perform a search and make specific requests for Yizkor Books through the Ostrow Library catalog, click here:
- Enter the search terms “genealogy” or “memory books” (for Yizkor books). BE SURE TO CHECK THE “LIMIT SEARCH TO AVAILABLE ITEMS” box.
- Holding the control key, for location select “Main Stacks” and “Reference Stacks.”
- Select “Printed Material” for material type.
- Select language, holding control key to select more than one.
- Select year range, which refers to date of publication, if you wish to limit your search in this manner.
Ellen must have your Yizkor book requests by July 5 at the latest. If you have trouble searching or have any questions, please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org (If you want to volunteer to translate documents and vital records in the resource room during the conference, please contact Ellen as well, via email)
For and From Our Mac Mavens…
Doris Nable wants to alert everyone: whether you are an experienced Mac & genealogy aficionado, a newbie, or are considering switching to a Mac, I encourage you to attend our Mac Users BOF (Birds of a Feather) meeting, on Monday, July 12 from 6:15 PM to 7:15 PM.
Our unique BOF meeting slot, a first, is a window without concurrent session conflicts. Given the possible desire for dinner at this time, we need to communicate PRIOR to arriving so that food options are available for those interested. Please contact Doris as soon as possible before the meeting so that she will be able to update you about food options. If you are interested in joining our BOF meeting, but will not be in Los Angeles, please contact Doris directly. Her e-mail is: Moidame@comcast.net
More Macs Please!
And due to popular demand we’ve added another MacLab: Reunion for Beginners at 5:05 PM – 6:20 PM on Sunday, July 11, with the always-entertaining instructor Jordan Auslander. These Mac labs are going like hotcakes… or perhaps we should say like hot pastrami sandwiches. Sign up soon or all the spots will be gone!
Finally, we have a CORRECTION from our previous newsletter: Dr. Harry Ostrer’s “Legacy” talk about Jewish genetics will be on the evening of Monday, July 12.
Francisco Franco, the former fascist dictator of Spain, gave the Nazis a list of every Jew in his country in order to facilitate efforts to locate, deport and destroy them, according to a document found recently in a Spanish archive and reported on Sunday by the Spanish daily El Pais.
The paper said that in 1941, Spain prepared a list of all 6,000 Jews in its territory and gave it to the architect of the Nazis' Final Solution, Heinrich Himmler. At the time, Spain and Germany were negotiating over Spain's entry into the Axis alliance.
In the end, however, no alliance was signed, and Spain remained neutral throughout World War II.
After the Nazis' defeat in 1945, the Spanish government tried to destroy all evidence of its cooperation with the Germans. But the document recently found in an archive in the city of Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain, sheds light on what Franco sought to hide.
The document is an official order, dated May 13, 1941, issued by Franco's chief of security, Jose Maria Finat y Escriva de Romani, to all provincial governors. It instructs them to prepare a list of every Jew in their district, both local residents and foreigners, along with details about "their personal and political leanings, their means of supporting themselves, their commercial activity, the level of threat they constitute and their security classification."
Himmler also requested that the list include Jews who had converted to Christianity. And provincial governors were asked to make special efforts to locate Sephardi Jews, descendants of those who were expelled in 1492, since they were able to conceal themselves among the local populace due to their ability to speak Ladino, a Jewish dialect that is largely based on Spanish.
"Their adaptation to our environment and their similar temperament allow them to hide their origin more easily," the order explained. "These people do not stand out, and therefore it is especially hard to foil their efforts at subversion."
The order refers to the Jews as "that infamous race."
Franco ruled Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975. After World War II, he tried to claim that he actually strove to save the Jews of Spain. But historians say that fascist Spain did not stay neutral due to any ideological opposition to joining the Axis, but only because the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9 had left the country in such a bad economic shape.
It is true that Franco built no concentration camps on Spanish territory, nor did he voluntarily hand Jews over to Germany. However, neither did he make the kind of efforts to save Jews that Spain's neutrality would have allowed - and he did send 18,000 Spanish volunteers to fight alongside the Germans on the eastern front from 1941 to 1943.
In contrast, Spanish diplomats throughout Europe did save thousands of Jews. But they were working on their own, at great personal risk, in defiance of Franco's official policy. These diplomats gave transit visas to Jewish refugees - most of them of Spanish descent - and also sheltered many Jews in Spanish consulates and embassies in Hungary, France, Greece, Germany, Bulgaria and Romania.
Click here to read the entire article.
- The Immigration of Levantine Jews into the United States 1914
- The Juvenile Court and the Jewish Community 1916
- A Truly Jewish Home for Working Girls 1915
- Hillel Brochure 1945
- Labor-Management Relations in Jewish Communal Agencies 1949
- Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, New York 1902
- Judaism and Hyphenism 1916
- The Jewish Student in America 1937
- And of course much more.
User registration allows access to the bookshelf (save articles for later use) and bibliography (generate customized lists of sources for personal reference or to share) tools.
Click here to learn more:www.bjpa.org
Only known photographs of French Resistance fighters facing Nazi firing squad are shown for first time
From the Daily Mail
The only known photographs of French Resistance fighters facing a Nazi firing squad at an execution site on the outskirts of Paris have gone on display for the first time.
The three pictures were taken by a German soldier who hid in the bushes on February 21, 1941 and secretly captured the executions at Mont-Valerien.
Despite more than 1,000 'hostages' being killed at the site, it was thought no pictures existed as Nazis prohibited the taking of photographs for fear they would be used as anti-propaganda.
The condemned, who were captured in revenge for the death of German soldiers and tried by military tribunals, were driven in lorries to the remote fort in western Paris and held in a chapel before they were executed.
Some scrawled their final messages on the walls of the chapel, which have recently been restored. Men were blindfolded and tied to wooden poles in a clearing before being shot by a group of 60 soldiers. Women were usually sent to Germany and beheaded.
Clemens Ruter, who provided a motorcycle escort to the prisoners, took the photographs with his Minox camera. The non-commissioned soldier never told anyone about the shots and the film was left in the camera for 40 years. Shortly before his death, while on a pilgrimage, Roman Catholic Mr Ruter confided his secret to a fellow German pilgrim.
Click here to read the entire article.
Anupam Kher, who was supposed to play the role of Hitler, told Reuters he had decided to withdraw from the film after an outpouring of messages on social networking sites and protests.
"Considering the ill-will that the project is generating among my fans, I wish to withdraw from it as I respect their sentiments," Kher said in a statement released to Reuters.
"Dear Friend Hitler" aims to give audiences a glimpse into Hitler's "insecurities, his charisma, his paranoia and his sheer genius," according to a statement on the film which will go on floors next month.
India has a small Jewish community of around 5,000 as most have migrated to Israel and the West over the years. They said they were outraged by the decision to make a film on Hitler.
The film's director said film would not glorify Hitler.
"Those who are protesting against the film have got it wrong," said Rakesh Ranjan Kumar, the director. (ABC News)
Click here for the full article.
Note: This is the first part of a series of articles describing how family researchers can use JewishGen and other tools to discover their Jewish family history and heritage.
I began my blog http://jen-gen.blogspot.com in an attempt to share my research with my relatives and friends. As I began to read blogs, listen to podcasts, and research at libraries, I decided to focus on my mom's side of the family. I knew that we were descended from Russian Jews and that my great grandfather, Myer Krueger, had come over around 1900.
I turned to JewishGen.org for more information on the Jewish side of my heritage. Since I was self-taught and was wandering a bit aimlessly through my research, it made sense to me to sign up for the Basic Genealogy Class that was to begin in May.
Once I had signed up for the class, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Message boards are used to publish the daily posts and the lessons for the students of the class. I felt a bit over overwhelmed at first with the many posts that began to flood the board, but found that the moderator, Nancy Collier Holden, was a wonderful guide as we began the class. With close to forty class members, she had her work cut out for her.
Each student was asked to introduce themselves and detail what family line they want to work on. Nancy helped keep us focused on working on one family line and provided suggestions for new resources when we became blocked by a brick wall. I just wish I had the time available like the others in the class! There are class members who have posted upwards of fifty times. I think I only posted about ten times to report my progress.
Overall, the class was a great way to learn the basics of genealogical research and to become familiar with the JewishGen resources on the website. In particular, I wanted to share a few key lessons that I came away with.
- Focus on one branch at a time and learn all you can about that family. Document your searches and what you find and do your best to research in a logical progression. It is easy to get excited about new information that you may unearth, and before you know it, you are researching a line of the family that is far from where you were.
- Study the history of that time period of the family. Learn about the culture in the country of origin. There are many books and websites that can provide you with valuable insight.
- Talk with those relatives! They have a vast resource of memories and may provide new avenues for research. Look through old photographs, family diaries, notes, and letters. You never know what new detail will open doors for you.
- There are many free services provided through local libraries and you may not even need to go to the location itself. You may be able to log on remotely through the library.
- Ask for help. Talk out your brick walls with your fellow genealogists. They may have great suggestions on where to look next. Write letters to county archives, synagogues, and other connections that your ancestor may have had.
- Finally, I recommend this class to anyone who is researching their family history. It's a great way to get focused on what you are trying to achieve as well as a way to refresh your methodology.
I know that I will be mining those documents for the next few months as I continue my own search for my ancestors.
For those of you not familiar with the new National Declassification Center its mission is to align people, processes, and technologies to advance the declassification and public release of historically valuable permanent records while maintaining national security. More about the NDC may be found at its website: http://www.archives.gov/declassification/ The NDC also has a blog: http://blogs.archives.gov/ndc/
For more information on the public forum see
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
Daniel Horowitz Speaker at JGSCV on Latin American Resources and MyHeritage Genealogy Super Search Engine
Date: Sunday, June 27, 2010 1:30-4:15 p.m.
Program:( two lectures- with a break in between:)
Genealogical Resources in Latin America
MyHeritage Research - Genealogy Super Search Engine
If you were at the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree this past weekend you may recall that Daniel's program on MyHeritage Research: Genealogy Super Search Engine was over attended and some wanting to attend were turned away due to the crowd! In addition Daniel will be providing a free copy to all attendees of Family Tree Builder (Beit Hatsufutsot)--My Heritage easy to use genealogy software! This is your opportunity to hear Daniel on two great subjects.!
Genealogical Resources in Latin America
The lecture will present a brief history about the countries, their origin, government and community institutions, cemeteries, organizations and records. How to do research in these countries, what to look for and how to ask for information in: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Caribbean islands.
MyHeritage Research - Genealogy Super Search Engine
MyHeritage Research is an advanced tool for online genealogical research. It searches across more than 12 billion records to provide the most extensive genealogy search available on the Internet. Learn how to use MyHeritage Research to search efficiently in more than 1,500 genealogy databases and websites on the Internet that cannot be searched by regular search engines like Google.
Speaker: Daniel Horowitz, Genealogy and translation manager, MyHeritage.com. Daniel was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, has a BS.c. in computer engineering. Daniel was a founding member and lecturer of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Venezuela - AGJUVE (2001-2005). He lives in Israel since 2005, is a member and webmaster of the Israel Genealogical Society (IGS) and the Horowitz Families Association. Daniel serves on the board of directors of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) since 2008 .
There will be a schmoozing session starting 15 minutes before the meeting, facilitated by a Sonia Hoffman, a senior member of JGSCV --come and talk on
your successes or problems.
Our monthly book report will be given by JGSCV member Marion Werle, My Future is in America: Autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish Immigrants New York University Press/YIVO, 2006
The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history.
There is no charge to attend the meeting. Anyone may join JGSCV. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a family.
Our rotating traveling library will have Categories A and B. To see which books are listed under which category, please go to our website, www.JGSCV.org and look under traveling library. The books are available starting 30 minutes before the program to shortly after the program.
The meeting is open to all and there is no charge. The meeting is co-sponsored with and held at Temple Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks, CA Formore information including directions to the meeting, see our website for directions and more information: www.jgscv.org
Jan Meisels Allen
Fred Monosson seated far right (Courtesy Museum of Family History)
Cinematography is a wonderful thing and Jews have always been in the forefront of the new and exciting in this field. However, let us not forget the amateur cinematographers who are everywhere, not the least of which was a gentleman by the name of Efraim Monosson, from Novogrudok, Belarus, who came to be known in Brookline, MA, as Fred Monosson.
The Monosson family, whilst originating in Novogrudok, Belarus, moved to Moscow at some point and then moved back to Novogrudok, Belarus. They are featured at the Museum of Family History
Fred came to America with his mother, Bathesheba Rabinowitz Monosson and siblings in 1906. This occurred subsequent to the murder, by a customer, of his father, Abraham Monosson, a money changer.
He took advantage of the opportunities afforded him in America, learned manufacturing and was a union leader. Later, he became a wealthy entrepreneur and industrialist. He owned the Cosmopolitan Manufacturing Company in Cambridge, MA, which allowed him to indulge in his very special and remarkable hobby of 16mm color cinematography.
The Kodak Company introduced the first 16mm CINE-KODAK Motion Picture Camera in 1923 along with the KODASCOPE Projector. This was the start of the popularity of amateur 16mm cinematography which was given a real boost with the introduction of 16mm KODACOLOR Film in 1928. By 1936, sound was added to the mix and continued improvements followed.
For those who could afford these special cameras along with all the film needed, the projector and cost of processing, the world became their oyster. In the case of Fred Monosson, the outcome of his obsession with cinematography was a series of wonderful color films taken at some of the most historical events to occur in the 20th Century in Jewish history, especially the creation of the State of Israel. He traveled far and wide to capture events of note in the Jewish world.
The reams of films which were stored in Fred’s basement became known to the outside world when he passed away in 1972. A fifty-five minute documentary film entitled “I Was There In Color”
A report on his films was shown on November 1, 2009, on Channel 1, Israel Public Television.
The 16mm films encompass a wide variety of countries and places and provide a vivid memoir of those exciting times when Israel found its footing as a nation amongst other nations in the world. It brings to life, so many events which are truly enhanced by being taken in color.
The use of film to capture both family and other events is an important aspect of genealogical research. Many of you may have reams of old film in your attics or basements or tucked away in closets. Now is the time to perhaps drag them out and find just what you have. Labeling the canisters or reels or negatives will help you as well as your descendants to be enriched by these images of the past as Fred Monosson’s film legacy has enriched ours.
People of a Thousand Towns The Online Catalog of Photographs of Jewish Life in Prewar Eastern Europe
('Forward' spread, 1937).
Sometimes, we forget to look close at hand and at resources that are familiar to us. One such resource is YIVO which I have utilized many times with great success. However, I had not visited their online site People of a Thousand Towns
The site is made possible through the generous support of The Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Rita Poretsky Foundation and the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc., and is a remarkable visual odyssey across Eastern Europe and the countries of Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuanian, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine, as they appeared during the period pre-World War II. The 17,000 photographs are taken from a number of record groups held by YIVO and you can learn more about them by clicking here.
An instance is my search on the town of Siauliai, Lithuania, resulted in the photograph above which interested me as it stated where the people were presently located. Noting that David Moffs was living in Pretoria, SA, in 1937, I decided to look him up on the South Africa RootsWeb site
Another photograph found was one of the 16th Lithuanian Division. One of those shown was a solder by the name of Dushkes.
(seated, l - r) Goldberg, Zvulun Berebitsher, Kharpas
(standing, l - r) Melamdovitsh, Romanov, and Dushkes
I decided to look in the recently published book edited by Dorothy Leivers “Road to Victory” which covers the topic of the 16th Lithuanian Division. There on page 308, I learned that there was a Faivel Dushkes who was born in 1912 and died in 1943.
Further I learned that his wife was Braina and his daughter was Raya Shapira. Since the photo above was taken in 1924, it seemed unlikely that this Dushkes was the correct one even though their photos appeared to be identical. There was another Dushkes mentioned in the book, Chaim Dushkes, but his dates were not given, so it was hard to determine if he was the correct one. Chaim Dushkes was a well-known Jewish athlete who had participated in the Maccabiah and proved his mettle in the fighting. Another resource for locating members of the Dushkes family is Facebook which has a Dushkes group registered under Avra Cohen. The group was unfamiliar with him as well. So, he will remain anonymous until someone happens to note him in the photograph and recognize who he might be.
My next exploration of the YIVO database was under the key word “orphanage”. Here I found some excellent photos of various orphanages, but particularly ones from Kaunas and Vilnius. By going through the photos, I was able to determine that there had been several different orphanages sponsored by various individuals or organizations. This was important in differentiating between various sources which I had previously had access to.
The photographs not only provided images of the buildings, but many of the children and their activities.
The orphanages were:
The M. Rozenblium Orphanage in Kaunas in 1936
A one-story brick building with a wooden fence.
Established in 1924.
The Rabbi Yitschok Elchonon Spektor Orphanage, in Kaunas, in 1927.
(Back row, center) two boys hold up a portrait of Spektor. (From an album.)
The OZE (Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jewish Population) Orphanage, in Kaunas, 1930.
JEWISH CHILDREN’S HOME, KAUNAS, APRIL 19, 1928
Another area I explored was significant events which occurred and can be dated. These types of events can help researchers understand why family members may have left a certain locale and moved elsewhere. One event was the catastrophic flood of the Daugava River in Daugavpils, Latvia, which occurred in April, 1922, and left 20,000 homeless.
The river, the largest in Latvia at 1,000 km in length, was controlled by a dam built in 1841, but was prone to major flooding in winter and springtime when ice broke up and melted.
Despite this dam, the river overflowed its banks and left the town submerged and filled with chunks of ice and debris. A series of remarkable images of this event were provided including the following one:
(center) people in a boat;
(Latvian and Russian sign at left) "9. A. Giber. Delicatessen..."
(Inscribed on photo) "Daugavpils Flood."
Photographs of religious buildings and religious leaders are prominent amongst the items in the YIVO database. A good example is the following of the Belzer Rebbe and his flock.
Images of well-known Jews are typified by a photograph of Solomon Rozanis, historian of the Sephardic Jews in Bulgaria.
Much of what can be learned of our ancestral shtetls and our families can come from wonderful evocative images such as are found in the YIVO collection. The collection is well-worth visiting either in person or online. Remember, digging up paper records is not the only means of “finding” our relatives.
JewishGen's Burial Registry (JOWBR) has been updated with more than 108,000 new records and some 13,000 additional photos.
There are 170 new cemeteries with updates to another 155 cemeteries in 19 countries. The database now holds more than 1.4 million records from some 2,700 cemeteries or sections in 46 countries.
Here are some of the new additions:
- Iasi, Romania: nearly 32,000 added; database now 65,000.
- Lodz, Poland: Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in
Israel has given permission to add their burial register names to both JOWBR and JRI-Poland, totalling some 70,000-75,000 records. This update offers the first 12,000 records.
- Lodz, Poland: More than 2,000 burials recorded by the IDF and the Yad LeZehava Holocaust Research Institute in three sections of the Lodz cemetery; database now has 3,400 burials.
- Louisville, Kentucky: Herman Meyer & Son Funeral Home has compiled extensive information on burials from seven Jewish cemeteries in the city; database totals nearly 11,500 records. Additional information on Kentucky resources and headstone photos.
- Baltimore, Maryland: Jewish Museum of Maryland and Deb Weiner for 9,900 records from the Belair Road and Berrymans Lane Baltimore Hebrew Cemeteries.
- Maine: Harris Gleckman of Project Shammas - "Documenting Maine Jewry" - for nearly 6,500 records from 16 Maine cemeteries and sections.
- American Jewish Archives (AJA): US and Caribbean cemetery records from The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA), Cincinnati, Ohio; more than 6,000 records from 36 cemeteries.
- Pennsauken, New Jersey: Rabbi Gary Gans submitted 6,000 records from the Crescent Memorial Park.
- Liepaja, Latvia: 3,600 records from the town of Liepaja, Latvia.
- Bathurst Lawn Memorial Park and Pardes Shalom Cemetery, Ontario: JGS of Canada-Toronto; more than 3,200 records from 122 updated and new sections of these Canadian cemeteries.
- South Carolina Cemeteries: Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina; 2,200 burial records and 365 photos from five South Carolina cemeteries.
- Petach Tikvah, Israel: TSegulah Cemetery; some 2,200 additional photos.
- Sacramento, California: 2,200 records from the Home of Peace Cemetery.
- Various US States: More than 2,100 records from 25 cemeteries in nine states, by Julian Preisler.
- Colma, California: San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, nearly 2,100 records from the second book of burial records from Home of
Peace Cemetery & Emanu-El Mausoleum.
- New Jersey: Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey; more than 1,000 records from five cemeteries.
- Bavarian Cemeteries: JewishGen and the Bavarian State Ministry of Science, Research and Arts/Center of Bavarian History. ; nearly 700 translations from seven cemeteries, and other civil document data.
- German Cemeteries: 650 records from 21 small German cemeteries.
- South Africa: 450 records and 550 photos from 13 cemeteries.
Genealogical clues can come in various surprising formats. For those of you who collect stamps or find them of interest, it might behoove you to visit the following philatelic site which focuses on Litvak Jews on stamps: http://www.lituanicaonstamps.com/en/rinkiniai_zydai.php
The well-known Jews who are featured on the site are:
- AMIEL, Rabbi Moshe Avigdor, Porozovo, Belarus
- Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman, The Vilna Gaon, Vilnius
- GLAZMAN, Yosef, Alytus
- GOLDBERG, Lea, Kaunas
- GORDON , Jehuda Leon, Vilnius
- GURVICH, Jose, Yezna JOLSON, Al, Seredzius
- JOSELEWICZ, Berek, Kretinga
- KHVOLES, Abram, Kaunas
- KLAUSNER, Joseph, Olkeniki
- LEVITAN, Isaak, Kybartai
- MAPU, Abraham, Kaunas
- MOHILEVER, Samuel, Hlubokaye, Belarus
- PEN, Yehuda, Zarasai
- REVEL, Bernard, Kaunas
- SEGALL, Lasar, Vilnius
- SHAHN, Ben, Kaunas
- SOUTINE, Chaim, Smilavichi, Belarus
- ZUCKERMAN, Yitzhak "Antek", Vilnius
There is additional information on the Litvak SIG Online Journal provided by Vitaly Charny regarding two of the above individuals: Isaak Levitan
In addition, there are a number of other Litvak Jews who could have been added to this list such as artists Marc Chagall, who was born in Vitebsk, Belarus, and Boris Schatz, born in Varniai, Lithuania. There were also those who were associated with early Zionism or Israel such as Chaim Weizmann, who was born in Motol, Belarus, and Zalman Shazar (Sneiur Zalman Rubashov) from Mir, Belarus.
Many of these stamps can be found at http://www.StampCircuit.com under their Jewish National Fund and Judaica sections. They include, to name a few, a stamp featuring Menachem Begin, who was born in Brest-Litovsk, Belarus, which was formerly in Poland.
Another Litvak Jews on a stamp is Zionist leader Menachem Mendel Ussishkin,who was born in Dubrouna, Belarus.
A third Litvak Jew is Rabbi Meir Berlin otherwise known as Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan, born in Volozhin, Lithuania, whose name is associated with Bar Ilan University in Israel.
Not only can you find information about Litvak Jews on stamps, but there are numerous other online resources for other Jews. One of these is the link on the Ukraine SIG site on JewishGen.This link has Sholom Aleichem as well as other Ukrainian Jews such as Isaak Dunayevsky, Dr. Waldemar Mordecai Haffine, and Leonid Osipovich Utyosov.
In addition, there are other Ukrainian Jews who were of note in Israel such as Levi Eshkol (Levi Shkolnik), born Oratovo, Ukraine, Golda Meir, born Kiev, Ukraine, and Vladimir Jabotinsky, born Odessa, Ukraine.
There is an amazing variety of stamps, if you are willing to take the time to research them. Looking further beyond just stamps commemorating individuals are those stamps which commemorate communities, events of Jewish history, Holocaust-related stamps, Jewish holidays, synagogues, other Judaica and anti-semitic stamps.
You can read more about these stamps and others in the fascinating book written by Ronald L. Eisenberg “The Jewish World in Stamps: 4000 Years of Jewish Civilization in Postal Stamps”
On our first day in Rhodes, after tiring of the stores on Socrates Street, we turned, by sheer luck, on to Dossiadou Street and soon found ourselves in front of the beautifully restored, 16th-century Kahal Shalom Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in Greece.
The spacious, Sephardi-style house of worship has a beautiful wooden bima in the middle of the men’s section and an exquisite, traditional white pebble floor with black pebble decorations. Behind the synagogue is a museum, funded by far-flung descendants of the Jewish community, displaying textiles and documents which explain the daily lives and the rituals of the Jews of Rhodes.
There was an almost continuous Jewish presence in Rhodes from as early as the second century BCE. until July 23, 1944, when Nazi troops rounded up and deported more than 1,600 members of the community (except for 42 who held Turkish citizenship). All but 151 died in Auschwitz.
Aside from the synagogue, there are few visible signs of a two-millennia-long Jewish presence except for a simple, black marble memorial in several languages in the Square of the Martyrs. However, one narrow street flanked by a park on both sides is named Alhadef Street after a wealthy Jewish community leader who donated his lands to the city. And in a nearby fish restaurant, a stone plaque engraved with Hebrew letters indicates that the building was once a home for Jewish girls.
Click here for the entire article.
Very often, it is difficult to find resources in English for research in Eastern Europe. Fortunately, Dr. Vilma Gradinskaite has written an article in English entitled “The First Exhibitions of Jewish Artists in Kaunas (1920-1940) from the Art Critic’s Perspective”, which was published in “IGGUD Selected Essays in Jewish Studies, Vol. 3, pages 115-129, The Hebrew University-Magnes Press, Jerusalem, 2007. This article is now available on the LitvakSIG Online Journal by clicking here
Originally from Birzai, Dr. Gradinskaite is prolific scholar
A well-known lecturer and writer, Dr. Gradinskaite has focused on Jewish art in Lithuania. She has served as the Curator, Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania
You can read more about her on her web site: http://www.jewishart.lt. The site has a listing of eighty-nine Jewish artists, some of whom were world famous and others who were only known locally in Lithuania. Their range is the Litvak world which covered the Baltics and Belarus. It is a remarkable resource which can be found here.
The site contains such artists as Viktor David Brenner (Siauliai), Elias Kivel Kaplan (Marijampole), Gdaliya Kreingel (Kalvarija), Jacques Lipschitz (Druskininkai), Esther Lurie (Liepaja), and Abraham Sherenson, an artist from my ancestral shtetl of Kupiskis, Lithuania. Many names contain the name of the town of origin which is helpful in determining whether they are related to researchers.
In addition to what you can learn from Dr. Gradinskaite’s article and site, followup can be done on a number of artists not mentioned by going to the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum site. An example is the exhibit “The World of Litvak Artists/The Chvoles Dynasty
Another museum which contains information on Litvak artists is The Israel Museum Israel Art Center site. Look up can be done via alphabetical search. An example is Joshua Jashpan
For some artists, you will find images of their artistic work which are housed at the Museum such as Chaim Soutine,
Articles and sites such as Dr. Gradinskaite’s and the wealth of information found in Jewish museums, help us to preserve the artistic legacy of our families. It adds to our knowledge of this aspect of our cultural heritage and also reminds us of the great beauty and skills that were lost forever as a result of the war.
Please contact the Blog, if you recognize any of the artists in the article or in the list, or if you know of other Jewish artists who are not listed. This will assist Dr. Gradinskaite with her continuing research about Jewish artists.
The long-awaited online transcription of the 1901 Irish Census
The Census was taken on Sunday, March 31, 1901, and reflects only those who were in the household at that time.
As with the 1911 Irish Census (which I have written about previously on the Blog), the new one also has the capability to choose MORE SEARCH OPTIONS and then JEW.
This option provides access to 3,618 Jews in the 1901 Census as opposed to the larger number of 4,936 in the later 1911 Census. It should be taken into account that there may be a larger number of Jews in the 1901 census who did not specify that they were Jews or a small number who had perhaps converted. In addition, the word used to designate a Jew may have been varied and therefore the person was not properly accounted for as in the case of the use of the word “JUDAISM” which was listed for the TEEGER family in Dublin. Therefore, when pulling up all JEW entries, they do not appear. Or, it may have been incorrectly transcribed as in the case of the word “DEWISH” for the Cohen family in Dublin.
As with the 1911 Census, researcher David Lenten has pulled out all of the Jewish names into one database. In addition, he has made a separate database for all of those whose name was COHEN. One can look at the name COHEN and see that, at least, four Cohen individuals are listed as “DEWISH”.
There are other designations for JEW which may have caused the individuals not to be counted as Jews such as the following: Adetaide Rd., Hebrew, Hebrew Congregation, Israelite, Jewes, Jewess, Jewish, Jewish Faith, Jewish Religion, Jews, and Synagdgae.
In addition, there are COHENs listed who are not listed as Jewish, but come from Russia. This may mean that they did not want to put that they were Jewish or they had converted. However, when looking at one such family belonging to Morris Cohen, I found that the word Hebrew was written on the line for the father, then Lennox Street for the son which was then crossed out and then SCR for the next son and then several lines down Hebrew again. Evidently, the entire family was Jewish, but had been incorrectly designated.
Another interesting error which was brought to my attention by researcher David Lenten was that of the PURDY family. I noted that they were listed as being Hebrew, but after I carefully examined the census sheet, it was revealed that they belonged to the Church of the First Born and a scriptural reference, Hebrews 12:23, was added which refers to this group and not that they were Hebrews or Jews.
There are a number of transcriptions that are incorrect due to misspellings of the family name as is the example of the YODAIKEN family who are spelled both Yodaiken and Yodieken on the same census page. Many more misspellings have occurred and these can also be seen when comparing the 1901 Census and the one for 1911. Also, families changed their names or spellings of their names from the time of the 1901 Census and the 1911 one.
A case of this is found in the 1901 Bremsen family who are listed as Bremson in 1911. The National Archives gives the opportunity to correct these errors on the Census site which is quite helpful.
A distribution of the Jews, by county, can be seen as follows:
- Antrim, 673
- Armagh, 44
- Carlow, 1
- Cavan, 1
- Clare, 0
- Cork, 426
- Donegal, 0
- Down, 47
- Dublin, 2,015
- Fermanagh, 1
- Galway, 1
- Kerry, 6
- Kildare, 10
- Kilkenny, 2
- King’s Co., 10
- Leitrim, 0
- Limerick, 149
- Londonderry, 60
- Longford, 3
- Louth, 54
- Mayo, 0
- Meath, 11
- Monaghan, 5
- Queen’s Co. 10
- Roscommon, 0
- Sligo, 14
- Tipperary, 19
- Tyrone, 2
- Waterford, 41
- Westmeath, 2
- Wexford, 8
- Wicklow, 13
An interesting finding is that there was several American or United States Jews who lived in Ireland in 1901:
- BARRON, Martha, age 10, living Queens Street, Nenagh West Urban.
- Tipperary GINZBURG, Morris, age 20, a tailor, living Lr. Clanbrassil Street (west side), Dublin
- GOLDSTINE, Mark, age 25, a doctor, living 6 Rotunda Buildings, Dublin
- LEMAN, Leo, age 67, general dealer, a visitor, Westmoreland Street, South City, Dublin
- LEVIN, Samuel W., age 7, Colooney Street, Dock Limerick Urban No. 4, LImerick
- POISNER, Hoshia, age 3, Lr. Clanbrassil St. (W. side), Merchants Quay, Dublin
- ROSENTHAL, Julia, age, 4, John’s Street, Waterford Urban No. 3, Waterford
- ROSENTHAL, Rebbecca, age 5, Colooney Street, Dock Limerick Urban No. 4, Limerick
- STEIN, Harry, age 9, Lennox Street, Fitzwilliam, Dublin
- STEIN, Rachel, 7, Lennox Street, Fitzwilliam, Dublin
Another interesting aspect of this family is that by 1911 their name had become POSNER. They were still living at the same address and had one more child, Samuel, who was born in 1903. They also had a boarder by the name of Solomon Barron, age 15, who was possibly a relative of Mrs. Posner.
In addition, Mrs. Posner’s parents now were known as Max and Polly Barron. Instead of being listed as retired, Max was a Hebrew teacher living at 47.1 Clanbrassil Street. Polly was listed as having had 8 children of whom only 6 had survived.
A further interesting find is that of Mark Goldstine, who is transcribed as Goldstein, and listed as a doctor from America who is boarding as a lodger. He is not found in the 1911 Irish Census. It is possible that he was attending medical school in Ireland and then returned to America when his schooling was done. It is not possible to note whether he was practicing as a doctor at that time or not.
Another example of an American is Leo Leman, 60 years old, who is a visitor. Unfortunately, he does not seem to appear, at first glance, in the 1900 U.S. Census, so cannot be traced further.
One can get a particularly vivid image of the Jewish residents of specific towns in this Census. A look at the town of Limerick in 1901 prior to the infamous “Limerick Pogrom” of 1904 shows a thriving community of 149 Jewish souls. The community was depleted by the incident in 1904 and it was not until the 1911 Irish Census that one can see that the Jewish residents had started to grow again to 123 individuals.
Many of the residents in 1901 are shown as draper/pedlars and two as dental mechanics (Marcus H. Jaffe, Mayer William Stein), one a dentist (Sydney A. Jaffe), and two as Jewish religious leaders (Elias B. Levin, Moses Velitskin).
In the 1901 Irish Census, one can see that many individuals had already started the process to change their names to more common ones. A look at County Antrim where the town of Belfast is located, with its 673 Jewish residents, shows this increasing trend. One finds such names as Appleman, Appleton, Armstrong, Baker, Barratt, Clarke, Elliott, Glover, Hool, Lewis, Livingston, Stack, and Travers.
The census is well-worth looking into for other insights into the Jewish population of that time. It shows that in 1901 that the Jews were still very much involved in peddling and are noted as pedlars. By the 1911 Census, one sees marked increases in storekeeping and other occupations and skilled trades. The large numbers of children in the Jewish households also accounts for increases in occupational diversification as they were being educated, learning the local language and leaving school to pursue more modern job opportunities, especially in the larger towns.
An example of this is the family of Charles Beresford Price and his wife Sarah who were born in Lithuania. Charles was a pedlar and his children, Marks Michael and Maurice Price, both born in Dublin, later went into the medical profession.
The number of individuals who were in the medical profession or were studying in medical/dental/pharmaceutical school in 1901 and 1911 is of interest too:
- ALLANN, Israel, medical student
- BECKER, Harry L., medical student
- COHEN, Henry, dental student
- ELLENBOGEN (transcribed as ELLEN COGEN), Abraham, medical student
- GOLDFOOT, Barnett, medical student
- GOLDFOOT, George, medical student
- GOLDFOOT, Louis, dental student
- JAFFE, Jacob Isaac, medical student
- MILLER, Samuel, dental student
- WEINRONK, Abraham, dental student
- WIGODER, George Selck, medical doctor
- BRADLAW, Henry, medical student
- BURACK, William, medical student
- COHEN, Henry L., dental student
- COHEN, Julius, pharmaceutical student
- GOLDING, Marks, medical student
- ROBINSON, Sam, dental student
- SCHER, Benjamin, medical student
- SCHER, Meyer, medical student
- SIEFF, Bernie, medical student
- SILVERMAN, Eli, medical herbalist
- SILVERMAN, Harris, medical herbalist
- TEEGER, Bernard, medical student
- WEINSTOCK, Samuel, dental student
- WIGODER, George Selia, medical doctor
- WIGODER, Louis, medical student
Many of the medical and other students left Ireland and practiced in England and other places. For instance, Abraham Ellenbogen later went to Liverpool where he can be found in the 1911 British Census. Adjunct medically-related professions were included in the 1911 listing such as two medical herbalists, Eli and Harris Silverman. They represented what was the holistic approach to medical treatment.
In terms of other lesser known occupations, there were two Jews listed as soldiers in the 1901 Census. One, John Brolweg, age 21, born in England, unmarried, was listed as a deserter and sentenced to 56 days in the Arbour Hill Military Prison in Dublin. The other soldier was P. Fred Levis, age 19, born in Belfast, who is listed as living with his family. Neither of these two individuals later appeared in the 1911 Irish Census and their regiments were not listed.
Another aspect of researching the 1901 Census is that an interesting comparison can be made between the Jewish population as seen in the 1894 Harfield’s Commercial Directory of the Jews of the United Kingdom and that in the 1901 Census.
As an example, in the town of Cork In 1894, there were twenty-four heads of families who had businesses listed in the directory.
- ABRAHAMSON, I.
- BREMSEN, D. [David]
- CLEIN, L.
- CLEIN, L.S. [Lawrence S.]
- CLEIN, Lewis
- CLEIN, Sol
- EDELSTEIN, A.M. [Abraham M.]
- ELYAN, Meyer
- GLASSER, Lewis
- GOLDBERG, S.
- HARTOG, Prof. [Marcus Manuel] J
- ACKSON, E.L.
- JACKSON, Hy
- JACKSON, I.
- JACKSON, W.
- JALKINOWITZ, J.
- KRIGER, Sol
- LEVIN, Aaron
- MYERS, Rev. J.E.
- ROSENTHAL, I.
- SAYERS, G. [George]
- SAYERS, N.
- SPIRO, S. [Simon]
By 1901, there were 426 Jews in Cork and one could trace a number of those families that had resided there in 1894. For instance, Meyer Elyan was listed as a jeweler in 1894 and by 1901 he was listed as a Hebrew teacher and again in 1911. Further, there was Simon Spiro who is listed as a jeweler in 1894, then again in 1901, but still single, and finally in 1911 as a jeweler and married with children.
Several individuals were no longer listed in Cork or in Ireland at all such as well-known naturalist Marcus Manuel Hartog, who was of Dutch extraction, who taught at Queens College . . . perhaps he was not on-site in 1901 when the census was taken or in 1911 when he is also missing. Another such individual was J. Jalkinowitz who is missing from the 1901 Census and 1911 Census.
There are many more things to be learned about the Jews of Ireland from the 1901 Irish Census, especially in comparing it to the results found in the 1911 Census. So, take a look and enjoy!