Israeli cousins united by Holocaust database

Ever since she became an orphaned 12-year-old in Russia, Liora Tamir thought she was alone in the world — having lost every single member of her family either in the Nazi Holocaust or Soviet prison camps.
That changed because of a recent search of Yad Vashem's database of names of Holocaust victims. She discovered that her murdered grandparents were commemorated there by an uncle she never knew, who had moved to Israel.

On Thursday, she was united with his son — her cousin — at an emotional ceremony at Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

"My mother didn't tell me anything about the family, I thought they were all gone," said Tamir, 65, shortly after embracing 73-year-old Aryeh Shikler. "Now I have a cousin. I still can't believe it. It's surreal."

Tamir's daughter, Ilana, made the reunion possible. For years she scoured archives for any information about her maternal grandmother, Yona Shapira.

Click here to read the entire article.

Kareem Abdul Jabar set to meet Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau, whom his father liberated from Nazi concentration camp

American basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will visit Israel in July and meet with Rabbi Israel Meir Lau to discuss a film that he is making about World War II, the rabbi said recently.
The film is based on the book "Brothers in Arms", which Abdul-Jabbar co-authored and deals with the American troops who liberated Nazi concentration camps in the end of World War II. Abdul-Jabbar's own father served on the 761st Tank Battalion, which liberated the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany.
Among the Jews rescued from the camp were two children: Rabbi Lau and his brother, Naftali Lavie. Abdul-Jabbar and Lau met for the first time 14 years ago, during the former's first visit to Israel.

Click here to read the entire article.

Passover 2011

This will be the final blog post until after Passover. For your reading pleasure, we have compiled a list of Pesach related links from various JewishGen pages.

From all of us here at JewishGen, we wish you and your family a Chag Kosher V'Sameach and a Happy Passover.


Seeking Stories from Jewish Refugees Who Came through Angel Island

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Janice Sellers writes in Ancestral Discoveries about the The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) promoting a greater understanding of Pacific Coast immigration and its role in shaping America's past, present, and future. Currently, AIISF is asking for help in locating Jewish refugees who came to San Francisco in the late 1930's and 1940, and their descendants.

AIISF hosts a database ( with information about 132 Jewish immigrants who were processed at Angel Island Immigration Station. Please contact AIISF at the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Web site if you recognize any of the individuals listed in the database. AIISF would like to interview the individuals or their descendants in order to get their full stories.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

NYC Hearing on Merging Dept. of Records & Information Into Citywide Admin Services

New York City's Mayor Bloomberg announced last November that a merger of the New York City Department of Records and Information into the NYC Citywide Administrative Services Department. was forthcoming as part of his Administration's ongoing cost-saving, consolidation and shared services initiatives. Noticed on this forum in March was information on a public meeting --not a hearing--held March 15-- to discuss the merger. Legislation needs to be enacted by the New York City Council to accomplish the Mayor's proposal.

The New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations, has scheduled a hearing, on April 27, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. in the 14th Floor Committee Room, 250 Broadway, New York, NY regarding the pending legislation to accomplish the merger--File Number Int 0486-2011. To read the bill go to: or original url:|Text|&Search=department+of+records

The bill would amend the City Charter and the Administrative Code of NYC in relation to the transfer of functions from the Department of Records and Information Services to the Department of Citywide Administrative.

With so many Jewish genealogists having roots in New York City this action is of interest to many of us as it effects the administrative branch that holds many vital records and other records of genealogical value.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Updated IAJGS Legislative Alert Posted to IAJGS website

Posted by Jan Meisels Allen

An updated IAJGS legislative alert has been posted to the IAJGS Website and click on green legislation tab (on the left) then on "latest alert" or on the newsboy icon under Public Records Access then click on "latest alerts."

Updates included in the alert dated April 12, 2011 are: Maine LD 258-on access to vital records-- including a link to the amended bill version currently before the Maine Senate--it has passed the Maine House for final vote before being sent to the governor for his signature; a link to the IAJGS statement on Maine LD 258; and an update on Pennsylvania SB 361 including the IAJGS statement regarding birth and death records becoming public records after 100/50 years respectively.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Jews in Civil War; "Free" Access to Civil War Records on Ancestry and Footnote

The United States Civil War is 150 years old and both and are commemorating it with a week for free access to their Civil War Collections. is offering free access April 7-14 to their Civil War collection in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Go to:

As now owns you can access the Footnote Civil War collection by searching the Civil War record indexes on, then click through and click on the icon to see the actual record images or go to:

A recent JGSLA blog entry ( notes about America's Only Jewish Military Cemetery. The Hebrew Confederate Cemetery, located in Richmond, Virginia, is the only Jewish military cemetery in the world outside of Israel. It was created by the anti-Semitism of the two Confederate military cemeteries, in Spotsylvania Court House and Fredericksburg. They refused to bury the Jewish Confederate soldiers killed in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Wilderness. They didn't want "Jewish boys" in their cemeteries. They buried Jewish confederate soldiers within a self contained hallowed area of Hebrew Cemetery of Richmond Virginia. Those buried came from Mississippi, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana. For the full story see: .
It lists the names of those buried.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Illinois Open Records Law

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

While many states are closing access to vital records, Illinois enacted last year an open records law--effecting more than vital records. The article from the April 5 Chicago Tribune, indicates some think the open law goes to far and wants to revamp and close some access.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Scotland's 1911 Census Released April 5, 2011

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Scotland 1911 census was released on April 5, 2011. It is accessible at: and covers 4.7 million people, including the name, address, age, occupation, birthplace and marital status of everyone counted in the 1911 census, as well as details about their children. There is a charge for viewing an image (1 credit) and one for a copy of the image (5 credits). The website above gives more information regarding the charges.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Yad Vashem puts Eichmann trial on YouTube

Click here:

British Library Sound Collections: Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

The British Library has created an Archival Sound Collection that includes a major project entitled the Living Memory of the Jewish Community which was recorded during 1988-2000.

As part of this larger project, approximately sixty-four (64) interviews with Jewish Holocaust survivors in the United Kingdom (UK) have been made accessible online.  Many of the interviews were conducted by Jewish genealogist Ros Livshin of Manchester, England, and other such experts.

The interviews are arranged in alphabetical order by the name the person was known by at the time of the interview.  Many times, this name is an Anglicized version of their original name.  Or, in the case where the interviewee is a woman, her maiden or original name is oftentimes provided.
The following are the names of the interviewees and where they were from:
ANSON, Martin (Leutershausen, Germany)
AUGSTEIN, Margaret (Laun, CZ)
BEALE, Mendel (Sompolna, PO)
BERNSTEIN, Fela (Lodz, PO)
BIBER, Toby (Mielec, PO)
BIRKIN, Edith (Prague, CZ)
COLLINS, Renate (Germany)
DUCHIN, Edgar (London/Germany)
ENGELBERG, Philip (Berlin, Germany)
FELDMAN, Gisela [Knetor] (Berlin, Germany)
FERSTER, Chaim (Sosnowitz, PO)
FISCHL, Lily (Vienna, Austria)
FOSTER, Ruth (Lingen an der Emms, Germany)
FREIMAN, Solomon (Jeziorna-Konstancin, PO)
FRENKEL, Morris (Lodz, PO)
FUCHS, Jan (Sudentanland, CZ)
GALETZKA, Trudy (Buchabach, Germany)
GOLD, Margaret [Hoffman] (Ujpest, Hungary)
GOLDING, Maurice [Auscaler] (Wloclawek, PO)
GROVES, Rose [Roszi Gluck] (Hungary/Oradea Mare, Rumania)
GUNZ, Jack (Zemter, Yugoslavia)
GUNZ, Olga (Mako, Hungary)
GUTERMAN, Henry (Berlin, Germany)
HABER, Nadina [Stern] (Zemter, Yugoslavia)
HEIMLER, Brigette [Brigette Schulze] (Penig, E. Germany)
HEIMLER, Eugene (Hungary)
HERDAN, Lily (Ujpest, Hungary)
HERSH, Arek [Hershlicovich] (Sheradz, PO, mother Konin, PO & Toledo, Spain)
IGIELMAN, Charlie (Bialobrzegi, PO)
KAHAN, Xenia (Vindau, Latvia)
KENNEDY, Claudette (Bourg-la-Reine, Paris, France)
KOHN, Henry (Czeladz, Silesia)
LASKER-WALLBISCH, Anita (Breslau, Germany)
LEOWY, Charles (Bratislava, CZ)
LEVI, Trude (Hungary)
MARCHAND, Ernest (Gelsenkirchen, Germany)
MEISSNER, Erna (Prague, CZ
NORTON, Lottie [Lottie Meyer] (Hamburg, Germany
PERL, Josef (Ukraine)
POLLOCK, Lili [Lili Schwarz] (Vienna, Austria)
RAND, Bernard (Kolomyya, PO)
REIFER, Shmuel (Chrzanow, PO)
ROBERTSON, Wlodja [father Lucien Blit/mother Fela Herzlich] (Warsaw, PO)
ROSLYN, Mary (London, parents Lodz, PO)
RUBENS, Anna Louba (Baku)
SANTCROSS, Jack (Amsterdam, Netherland)
SAUNDERS, Vernon [Werner Schwartz](Berlin, Germany)
SCHAUFELD, Vera (father CZ, mother Iserlohn, Westphalia)
SHERWOOD, Leslie [Laszlo Szusz] (Budapest, Hungary)
SINCLAIR, Ilse [Ilse Guttentag] (Hamburg & Posen, Germany)
SOUZA, Liselotte (Prague, CZ)
STANTON, Miriam (Warsaw, PO)
STEIF, Bernard (Krakow, PO)
STERNBERG, Sonia (Berlin, Germany)
STIMLER, Barbara (Alexandrow-Kinjawski, PO)
TAICHNER, Helen [Rosenberg] (Novy Dvor, PO, father Zelva, Lithuania, mother Lida, Lithuania)
WINEMAN, Freda (father Frankfurt, Germany & mother Lodz, PO)
WINTER, Oskar (Berlin, Germany)
WINTON, Nicholas (Hampstead, London & parents Germany)
YUDT, Rosa (Berlin, Germany)
ZALIELAK, Rena (Warsaw, PO)
ZIMMERMAN, Cecily (London & father Lithuania)
ZINRAM, Polly (Kostell, S. Moravia)
These interviews are truly a treasure of information from the survivors about their families, where they lived, and the circumstances that befell them and their relatives during World War II.  It is also an opportunity to hear how they pronounce the names and places from their homelands.

Historic Polish Synagogue Rededicated

From the JTA

The historic synagogue in Zamosc was rededicated after a $2.4 million restoration, though the Renaissance town in southeast Poland no longer has a Jewish community.

Amid prayers and commemorative speeches, Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, affixed a mezuzah to the door of the fortress-like building, which was built originally in the early 17th century.

The restored building will function as a cultural center, including a Jewish museum, and serve as a hub for a tourist "Chasidic Route." Located near the site of the Nazi death camp of Belzec -- now a memorial and museum -- the synagogue also will be available for religious services.

The building is one of the most important synagogues in Poland to have survived the Holocaust and communism; most were destroyed. Most of the town's 12,500 Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

During World War II the German occupiers used the vaulted interior of the elegant building as a stable and carpentry workshop, and after the war it served as the local library. The building was restituted to Jewish ownership in 2005.

Click here to read the entire article, and here to learn more about Zamosc

Australia and New Zealand Papers Digitized

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Australia newspapers, book, journals, photographs, letters, and more have been digitized and can be accessed, free on which is part of the National Library of Australia.

New Zealand Newspapers and periodicals from 1839-1945 have been digitized and are on-line , free, at paperspast: This collection is part of the National Library of New Zealand.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

New York Municipal Archives Changes in Fees

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Paul Silverstone, IAJGS Treasurer and Public Records Access Monitoring Committee member, recently visited the New York City Municipal Archives and found they no longer charge $5.00 rental fee for the microfilm reader, however, the charge for a copy of a record when you are there in person is now $11.00 per record. All other charges remain the same and can be found on their website.

This has been verified by speaking with the Municipal Archives staff since neither their website nor the New York City Government Information (212) NEW-YORK has yet been updated as staff stated this change "just happened"!

Paul also found that while everyone visiting the building, [31 Chambers Street, NYC 10007 ] , while it is still required to go through a metal detector, there is no longer a requirement for a visitor's pass and proof of identity with a government issued photograph.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

International Jewish Genealogy Month

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen on behalf of IAJGS President, Michael Goldstein

What does Oct 29 to Nov 26 2011 have in common with IAJGS, your JGS and the Jewish Genealogy? If your answer was that this is the Hebrew month of Cheshvan you are right in part. It is also International Jewish Genealogy Month and an opportunity and vehicle to have our communities focus on Jewish Genealogy and our JCCs, our SIGS and our projects.

This year's International Jewish Genealogy Month Committee will be chaired by Nancy Adelson of Seattle who will be joined by Rabbi Garry Gans of New Jersey, Howard Morris of Boston, Jeanette Rosenberg of England and Garri Regev of Jerusalem. We are still looking to expand the committee and get volunteers to ensure a success so if you have any ideas let me know.

And though our focus is a month of great programs, our annual poster is an anchor. Details of the poster contest for which a June 15th submission date has been established, are to be found at our website and will be elaborated on by Nancy.

So start thinking of International Jewish Genealogy Month whether you live in Los Angeles, Toronto, Liverpool, Ra'anana, Johannesburg, Paris or Melbourne. Your November programs are right around the corner.

Michael Goldstein

Michael Goldstein
President IAJGS

National Archives (USA) Conference on Media Access To Government Information

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

For those of you who either live in the area or will be visiting the Washington DC area on April 12 you may find the conference on Media Access to Government Information they are holding of interest. The goal of the conference is to discuss how technology might improve access to government information for journalists and citizens alike. The conference is free.
For more information go to:

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Poland Requests Nazi Death Camps to Change Web IDs

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

According to the World Jewish Congress, the Polish government has requested at museums at former Nazi death camps located within Poland to replace their Polish internet suffix "pl" with more neutral suffixes such as .com or .eu The move reflects an effort in Poland to underline the fact that although many of the death camps were located in wartime Poland, they were set up and run by Germans.

The state museum at Majdanek has already implemented the change and the new url is:

As of this posting the Auschwitz-Birkeanu website has not changed and its website is:

Both sites have archival information.

To read more go to:

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

National Archives (USA) Has New Chief Information Officer

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

US Archivist David Ferriero announced a new Chief Information Officer at the National Archives: Mike Walsh- effective March 27, 2011. Previously Mr. Walsh had 7 years of experience as the CIO of the U.S. Government Printing Office. Prior to joining the federal government Mr., Walsh worked in the private sector for 26 years with Eastman Kodak Company.

As the Open Government Executive/Chief Information Officer, Walsh will be responsible for leading projects and programs, and developing information systems and tools that will help customers discover NARA's holdings. In addition, he will oversee our IT security and applied research initiatives.

Charles Piercy the Acting CIO since this past July will resume his duties as Deputy CIO until he officially becomes the Executive for Business Support Services.

As of this posting there was no press release posted on the National Archives website.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Georgia State Archives Threatened to Be Closed to Public Due to Budget Constraints

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Friends of Georgia Archives and History website has posted an article that states Georgia HB 78, the state budget bill as currently drafted and passed the House of Representatives on March 11, could force the closure to the public due to a $300,000 budget cut. Currently the Archives is open only 3 days a week to the public.

To read the Friends of Georgia Archives and History article go to:

At the time of this posting, the Georgia State Legislature does not have HB 78 posted and available to the public,
Original url:

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

IAJGS Website Genealogical Resources Updated

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

As one of the IAJGS website components, there is a list of genealogical websites of interest. The list has been updated and added to with a number of new sites of interest They are marked as new with the date added.

Many of these sites will be on the computers in the Resource Center for the 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy hosted by JGS of Greater Washington. But why wait to try these free sites! Go to to access the "Websites
of Genealogical Interest".

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large

1940 US Census-Release Date April 2, 2012

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The National Archives (US) has a blog, NARAtions where monthly Constance Potter, Archivist of Archives I Research Support Branch is writing on how to prepare for the release of the 1940 US census on April 2, 2012. For the
first time the census will be released digitally and not on microfilm. You can subscribe to the blog for free. There is a place to enter your e-mail address on the right hand side of the blog at the url entered above.

Additional information on the 1940 US census is available at:

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

National Archives (USA) Annual Genealogy Fair

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The National Archives (US) will be holding its 7th annual genealogy fair on April 20-21, 2011 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the National Archives Building 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington D.C.

If you live in the area, or are visiting Washington DC at that time it is a worthwhile program which showcases the Federal Records located at the National Archives for family history research and they will have speakers and exhibitors from the Archives,,, Harvard University and professional genealogists.

To learn more and see the schedule go to:

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Who Do You Think You Are?

The latest episode is online, and can be viewed here
What did you think of the episode and the research methodology they used? Please visit our Facebook page and join the discussion.

Shanghai's Jewish history

SHANGHAI (AP) -- Not far from the Bund district in Shanghai, with its hordes of tourists and view of the city's famous skyscrapers across the Huangpu River, is a quiet neighborhood called Hongkou.
Walk here along Zhoushan Road and you'll stumble on a sign that signifies an otherwise unremarkable building at No. 59 as a landmark. "During the World War II," the sign reads in imperfect English, "a number of Jewish refugees lived in this house, among whom is Michael Blumenthal, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury of the Carter Government."
Click here to read the entire article.

The Bukharian Jews

There is tradition that Bukharian Jews are the descendants of the Tribe of Naphtali and of the Tribe of Issachar and that they were exiled during the Assyrian conquest of Israel in 7th century B.C.E.  The Bukharian Jews of Central Asia, today’s Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, were essentially cut off from the rest of the Jewish world for more than 2,500 years. 
They are considered one of the oldest ethnic groups of Central Asia and over the years have developed their own distinct Jewish culture. In the region of Bukhara (Uzbekistan), the largest concentrations were in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khokand. In Tajikistan, they lived in the capital, Dushanbe. Throughout the years, Jews from other Eastern countries such as Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Morocco migrated into Central Asia by way of the Silk Road, as did Jews who were exiled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition; all these joined the Central Asian Jewish community and were later collectively known as Bukharian Jews.
The first written account of this Central Asian Jewish Community comes from the 4th century C.E.  The Talmud relates the story of Rabbi Shmuel bar Bisna from the academy in Pumbeditha who traveled to the region now known as Turkmenistan and feared that the local wine and spirits produced there by the Jewish community were not kosher. There is also evidence of a Jewish presence from the 5th and 6th centuries C.E. found on ossuaries discovered in the mid 1950’s.
Click here to read the entire article.

Jews of London

Click here to read more.