Monday, July 26, 2010

Finding Jewish Family Records in Croatia

In response to an earlier post on the blog (see here), we have received requests for information on Jewish records in Croatia.

For your convenience, we are reproducing the article entitled "Finding Jewish Family Records in Croatia" from our "InfoFile" section on the JewishGen website.


Finding Jewish Family Records in Croatia
By Ed Zwieback

Searching for records in Croatia has been limited by the lack of activity for this area. There are Croatian genealogy websites that can be found via feefhs.org and cgi.rootsweb.com.

The Mormon Family History Library (FHL) began microfilming records in Zagreb in March 1985. They have acquired over 2,500 microfilms in Croatia, including Jewish records for 15 towns. These films are listed in a recent issue of Avotaynu (Summer 1999, Vol. XV, no. 2, page 5), as well as in the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC).

A good article on "Croatian Research at the Family History Library" by Thomas K. Edlund can be found on the Feefhs.org web site. An updated and expanded version of this article, entitled "A Beginner's Guide to Croatian Research", by Thomas K. Edlund, can be found in the FEEFHS Quarterly, VII:1-2 (Spring/Summer 1999), pp. 7-37.

Croatia has a Central State Archive, located in the capital, Zagreb. The Hrvatski Državni Arhiv (National Archives of Croatia) is the main depository of old church records for many parts of the country.

Any birth and death records older than 1860 (some up to the 1880’s) were turned over to the 12 Croatian Regional (historical) Archives (DRŽAVNI ARHIV …). The record-ending dates may vary from one regional archive to the next. The Regional Archives are located at: Varaždin, Zagreb, Bjelovar, Pazin, Rijeka, Karlovac, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Sisak, Slavonski Brod, and Osijek.

In 1945, all birth, marriage, and death records held by churches in Croatia were turned over to the civil authorities and were deposited with the City Register Offices ('opc'ina'; MATCNI URED …). These include Jewish records. There are 400 municipalities within 21 counties (županija) in Croatia. Since Zagreb is large, there would be many such offices located within the city. Addresses of the City Register Offices for post-1900 records are difficult to locate from the Internet.

Croatian records have greater linguistic diversity than for most other geographic regions. Croatian, Slovene, Serbian, German, Hungarian, Latin or Italian are possible languages used.
I obtained very good results when I sent an inquiry letter (in English) to the Regional Archive of Varazdin, asking for vital records. The Varazdin archivist has provided copies of several marriage, death, and census records for my family (1879-1930s). The Varazdin archivist also searched the City Book of Inhabitants, 1930s, and a Record of Conscription of Jews sent to concentration camps, 1941. I have used the FHL film No. 1791974, "Zagreb Jewish Births and Deaths 1858-1904", and the film is very easy to read.

The Jewish Community of Zagreb may be able to help with family records. They have furnished me some very useful information.

Some Postal Mail Addresses:

  • Central State Archive:
    HRVATSKI DRŽAVNI ARHIV Marulicev trg 21 10000 Zagreb
  • Croatian State Archives of Zagreb:
    DRŽAVNI ARHIV ZAGREB Opatica 29 10000 Zagreb
  • Croatian State Archives of Varazdin:
    DRŽAVNI ARHIV VARAZDIN Trstenjakova 7 42000 Varazdin
  • A Zagreb City Register Office:
    MATICINI URED CENTAR Ilica 25 10000 Zagreb
  • The Jewish Community of Zagreb:
    Zidovska opcina Zagreb Palmoticeva 16 10000 Zagreb

PUBLICATIONS:

  • Those Who Died in the Jasenovec Death Camp during the Holocaust: JASENOVEC, Zrtve Rata Prema Podacima Statistickog Zavoda Jugoslavije, (War Victims According to the Yugoslavia Statistical Institute) 1998, published by the BOSNJACKI INSTITUT, Zurich & Sarajevo, ISBN 3-905211-87-4.
  • Jews of Yugoslavia 1941-45, Victims of Genocide and Freedom Fighters, Dr. sci. Jasa Romano, Jewish Historical Museum-Belgrade, 1980, Published by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia, Belgrade.

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