Wishing You a Sweet New Year

Dear Friend,
This past summer, for the first time in many years, we published a beautiful 24-page report highlighting JewishGen’s accomplishments over the course of the previous year. It has been viewed more than 14,000 times, and if you have not already done so, we encourage you to read it by clicking here.
The 2011 Update is a reflection of how the year has gone for JewishGen – busy, productive, and successful.
In terms of our online collection, more than one million records were added to JewishGen this past year, including more than 300,000 new entries for JOWBR(our online burial registry).
As you may have noticed, we have renamed some of our popular features so that they are immediately understandable to all of our users.
For example, the JewishGen ShtetlSeeker is now called the JewishGen Gazetteer. Similarly, JewishGen ShtetLinks is now called JewishGen KehilaLinks. In addition, major and significant improvements have been made “behind the scenes” to help foster an easier and more powerful experience.
To be sure, we still have lots of room to improve. For example, more than 42,000 new users registered for JewishGen last year, and yet only small percentages joined our Discussion Groups and Family Finder. These are important networking tools that have helped connect thousands of families, and we plan on improving these numbers in the year ahead.
Finally, and most importantly, our loyal users continued to provide us with a strong base of financial support – we received more than 6,000 donations last year – allowing us to operate within our budget for the second year in a row despite global economic uncertainty.
This feat was possible only because our users made a conscious decision to participate – each according to their ability – in the important service we are providing. Every single financial donor has a share in any success that results from JewishGen. While we received some donations in excess of $1000 or as little as $5, each was significant and important to us, and we are grateful.
As the New Year approaches, we remain confident that you and other JewishGen users will once again help support our important work to the best of your ability. Each donation makes a difference, and helps us to continue offering a service that has connected thousands of families over the past two decades.
If you are in a position to make a financial contribution to JewishGen, please click here today.
Regardless of your level of financial support, we are glad that you are part of the global JewishGen community – the JewishGen family – and we wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year, a Shana Tova and a K'siva V'chasima Tova.
Warren Blatt - Managing Director
Michael Tobias - Vice President of Programming
Avraham Groll - Director of Business Operations
Photo: Rosh Hashanah card made by Gisela Stern for her parents. (Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Online Collection. Gift of Gisela Stern Simon, 2007.A.305).

JewishGen LostNFound

The JewishGen LostNFound desk, which was largely inactive for the last few years, is up and running again. Below is a description of LostNFound's services and needs from the LostNFound Coordinator,Marian Price.

1. LostNFound is a volunteer service of JewishGen to connect a genner with another genner whose e-mail has bounced or who is not answering emails. We will try to update the "lost" genner's address.

2. When you make your request, please put the person's name or JewishGen ID # in the subject line of your e-mail ("seeking Josef Levy" or "seeking JGID# XXXX").  Send your request to lostnfound@lyris.jewishgen.org. Spelling is important or the person may not be found in JewishGen's database.

3. JewishGen has a privacy policy that prevents us from revealing someone's email address or any other identifying information. You give your permission to reveal your name and e-mail address to the person you are seeking when you make a request through LostNFound (otherwise there is no way to link you to the person you seek).  If we find your genner, it would be nice if you donate to JewishGen.

4. If you know of a genner who has died, please report this to LostNFound. If you have a link to an obituary, please send it. We will follow up and mark their profile RD (researcher deceased).

5.  If you live outside the United States, we need volunteers to make phone calls to lost genners in other countries. When a request comes, you would be sent the information we have on that person (street address and phone).

Marian Price
Coordinator, JewishGen LostNFound

New law allows Greek Jews to reinstate citizenship

From the JTA

The Greek government on Sept. 2 passed an amendment to a new foreign resident law that will automatically reinstate Greek citizenship for all Jews that were born in or before 1945.

The number of Greek Jews affected by the amendment is likely no more than 300 to 350, according to reports. Their descendants, although eligible, will not receive citizenship automatically. They must apply and meet the proper criteria to receive their Greek passports and citizenship. The amendment comes after 65 years of appeals, applications and behind-the-scenes efforts by the Greek Jewish community. 

During World War II, a number of Jews were able to escape to Turkey, where the Greek consular officer tried to persuade them to join the Greek army in Egypt. Those who refused and wanted to reach Palestine were stripped of their citizenship.

Click here to read the entire article.

Jewish supporters of the Confederacy abounded

Click here to read the article from the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Yizkor books open window on lost world

From the Jewish Review:

A new exhibit at Portland State University’s Branford P. Millar Library tells the stories of Eastern European Jews and their communities destroyed in the Holocaust.
“Of Place and Memory: The Yizkor Book as a Window into a World Destroyed” will be on view in the Millar Library (1875 SW Park Ave.) from Sept. 16 to Dec. 16, and is the result of a first-time collaboration between the PSU Library and the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies.
The University Library’s Special Collections will display a grouping of Yizkor books that were assembled by survivors from all over Eastern Europe to document their lives, those of their lost family members and friends and their obliterated shtetls.
Part memoir, part family tree, part family photo album, Yizkor books tell not only of a people and culture destroyed, but also of a people’s renewal and post-1945 regeneration that followed in Israel and the Diaspora.
The books, usually composed in Hebrew, Yiddish, or a combination of the two languages, include black-and-white maps hand-drawn from survivors’ memories, photos of family members and stories of community activities. Each book is a rare and powerful experience into the collective memory of a world that no longer exists.
Click here for the entire article and here to visit JewishGen's Yizkor Book project.

Jewish Records from Perm

Posted by Chuck Weinstein

Ukraine SIG has recently become aware of about 450 pages containing about 1500 records of Jewish births, marriages, divorces and deaths in the city of Perm, which is located in Russia proper. Since there is currently no Russian SIG for JewishGen, we are looking for a volunteer to help catalog these records and set up an archive, so that when there is a Russian SIG, we can turn them over.

Many Ukrainian Jews, fleeing the oncoming Germans in 1941, stopped in places like Perm on their way east. We are not looking to create a  translation project; but rather to archive these records for future use.

Please contact me if you are interested in helping with this project or any other project involving towns in Ukraine. We are always in need of project
leaders and those who can translate or transcribe records.  The pay is lousy, but the rewards are excellent. Please contact me if you can help.

Chuck Weinstein
Towns and Districts Director, Ukraine SIG
Bellport, NY

Announcements: JGS of Cleveland

Posted by Kenneth Bravo

Nuts and Bolts of Jewish Genealogy

Sunday, September 18, 2011

12:00 noon to 4:30 P.M.

Western Reserve Historical Society
10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Cleveland settlement patterns

  • John Grabowski, Director of Archives/Library at WRHS
  • Kenneth Bravo, President, Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland
  • Sean Martin, Associate Curator of Jewish American History at WRHS 
For additional information contact: Nancy Leinweber at 440-205-1942 or nanbwl@juno.com. A registration form can be downloaded from www.wrhs.org, click on library and then genealogy.

In Sicily, Jews reach out to Inquisition-era forgotten Jews

SIRACUSA, Italy (JTA) -- On her deathbed, Salvatore Zurzolo's grandmother confided a long-held secret: Their family was Jewish...

Click here to read the entire article from the JTA.

Project Update: Ukraine SIG

Posted by Linda Cantor

Are you researching family from Ukraine (provinces of Podolia, Volhynia, Kiev, Poltava, Chernigov, Kharkov, Kherson, Taurida and Ekaterinoslav)? We can help you. Are you involved in the Ukraine SIG? We need your participation. Here are some ways we can help each other:
  1. Look at the home page of the Ukraine SIG. You’ll find information about the work we are doing to help you with your research.
  2. Share your genealogical queries with us on the Ukraine SIG Discussion List. To subscribe to the Ukraine SIG Discussion List, click here. If you are already subscribed and want to post a query, just send your message to ukraine@lyris.jewishgen.org.
  3. Check out our new Ukraine SIG Facebook page by clicking here. We hope you will "like" us, add comments, ask questions, and generally share with the Ukraine SIG community.
  4. Volunteer to get involved in our many new projects.  The new Ukraine SIG Board along with many volunteers are revitalizing  the SIG and getting a number of new research projects going. We need volunteers to work with us on indexing projects, on translations from Russian and Yiddish to English, on web projects, and more. 
Whether you have time to volunteer or not, you can help us move forward by contributing financially. Your contributions will help pay for acquisition of documents and for professional translators to supplement our volunteers.  You can make tax-deductible contributions to the Ukraine SIG General Fund by clicking here.

We hope you will get involved in all of the above activities.  If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to post your family surnames and towns on the JewishGen Family Finder. If you have genealogical queries, be sure to post them on the Discussion Group. Take a look at our Facebook page and ‘like’ it.  Contact us to get more involved in SIG activities.

For more information about how you can help, contact Ron Doctor, the Ukraine SIG Coordinator, at rddpdx@gmail.com.  

Linda Cantor
JewishGen Ukraine SIG

Irish Newspaper Archives Free until December

Irish Newspaper Archives is one of the largest digital collection of Irish newspapers, with more than 30 titles from all over the country. Spanning four centuries from the 1700s through today, the archive offers researchers, students and general interest users alike access to a wealth of Irish history and news.

Access will be free from September through December of this year.

Click here to read the entire article.

Vilnius, Lithuania Internal Passport Records

Posted by Howard Margol
I received another 734 Vilnius Internal Passport  records.

While those listed lived in Vilnius mainly in 1921 in this  group, many were born in many different places other than in Vilnius or even in  Lithuania. Their street address where they lived is included; their date of  birth; their occupation; father's name; maiden name where applicable;  etc.

This makes a total of 1,039 records translated so far. This is a  drop in the bucket compared to the total records available. It is a slow process because I only have one translator who is capable of translating the records because they are in Polish. Hopefully, I will be able to add one or two more translators in the near future.

If you would like to receive all of the  Vilnius Internal Passport records as they are translated, please contribute a  minimum of $100 to http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen-erosity.  Feel  free to use your credit card as the site is secure. In case you do  contribute, please let me know so I can send the records to you promptly.

Technical Difficulties

We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with the JewishGen Family Finder. We are working to resolve this issue quickly and appreciate your patience and understanding.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may caused and thank you for your continued support of JewishGen's important work. If you have any further questions, please email info@JewishGen.org

Contacting Families of the Fallen

Please read this important message from the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America:

On 24 October the American Jewish Community will dedicate at Arlington National Cemetery a congressionally mandated memorial to Jewish Chaplains who died in service to our country finial uniting their names to the names of the protestant ac Roman Catholic Chaplains who perished.

All are welcome to the dedication but we would like to contact and formally invite any family members we can reach.

If you know any family member of the below listed Rabbis please contact or have them contact:   DAVID S. ENGEL, 22 Round Hill Road Shelton, CT 06484 Tel: 1-203-924-7474  greystintl@aol.com

Captain Rabbi Nachman S. Arnoff U.S. Army
October 2, 1899-May 9, 1946 Ordination: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1925

Lt. Colonel Rabbi Meir Engel U.S. Army 
1914-December 16, 1964 Ordination: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1942

Lieutenant Rabbi Frank Goldenberg U.S. Army          
November 8, 1919- May, 1946 Ordination: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1944
Lieutenant Rabbi Alexander D. Goode  U.S. Army 
May 10, 1911-February 3, 1943 Ordination: Hebrew Union College, 1937
Lieutenant Rabbi Henry Goody  U.S. Army      
April 2, 1916 October 19, 1943 Ordination: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1941(Canadian citizen)
Captain Rabbi Joseph I. Hoenig, U.S. Air Force 
July 18, 1942-December 29, 1966 Ordination: Mesifta Talmudic Seminary, Brooklyn, New York, 1964
Major Rabbi Samuel Dodkin Hurwitz U.S. Army 
October 24, 1901-December 9, 1943 Ordination: Hebrew Union College, 1929
Lieutenant Rabbi Herman L. Rosen, U.S. Army 
1901-June 18, 1943 Ordination: Rabbi Isaac Elchanon Theological Seminary, 1922

Lt. Colonel Rabbi Samuel Rosen U.S. Air Force  
February 12, 1907-May 13, 1955 Ordination: Yeshiva College, 1929

Lieutenant Rabbi Solomon Rosen U.S. Air Force   
May 11, 1924,-November 1, 1948 Ordination: Mesifta Rabbinical Seminary, 1946

Captain Rabbi Morton Harold Singer         
October 25, 1936-December 17, 1968 Ordination: Yeshiva Tifereth Yerushalayim, 1965

Captain Rabbi David M. Sobel U.S. Air Force
October 14, 1946-March 8, 1974 Ordination: Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, 1973

Captain Rabbi Irving Tepper, U.S. Army         
December 15, 1912-August 13, 1945 Hebrew Theological Seminary College, 1939

Lieutenant Rabbi Louis Werfel U.S. Army       

June 9, 1916 -December 24, 1943 Ordination: Rabbi Isaac Elchanon Theological Seminary, 1940

Holocaust Prisoner Portraits Donated To Yad Vashem

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The story noted below is about the collection of 43 drawings by Felix Cytrin mostly form 1944-1945 of Jewish prisoners donated to Yad Vashem by Cytrin's heirs. Some of the images are of the young men who worked in an infamous secret Nazi operation to produce fake money--hand selected from the death camps--called Operation Bernhard. In today's value of money what was created amounted to $6-$7 billion. See:

Original URL:

Thank you to Randy Herschaft of the Associated Press for alerting us to this article.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Library of Congress Documentary

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

A C-SPAN documentary on the (USA) Library of Congress- the largest library in the world with nearly 150 million items has been posted: the 1 hour and 31 minute documentary which may be watched at:

It is a behind-the-scenes look at the national repository, providing the history of the institution, a tour of its iconic Jefferson Building, and glimpses of some of the library's rare book, photo, and map collections. The film also featured some of the presidential papers housed at the Library of
Congress, ranging from George Washington through Calvin Coolidge. Viewers learn how the library uses technology to preserve its holdings and expand public access to them, as well as how technology is helping to uncover new information about some of the items in its collections.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

The JewishGen ShtetlSeeker is now the JewishGen Gazetteer

Posted by Avraham Groll 

On August 16th, at the recent IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Warren Blatt announced that the “JewishGen ShtetlSeeker” was being renamed to become the “JewishGen Gazetteer.”  This name was chosen to more accurately reflect the contents of the database.

The JewishGen Gazetteer is based upon data from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, and contains the names of one million localities from 54 countries throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

Along with the name change, a number of significant improvements have been made:
  • The geographic scope has been expanded to include:
    • Scandinavia: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
    • Iberia: Spain, and Portugal.    
    • Luxembourg.
    • Kyrgyzstan.
    • Yemen.
  • Improved Search Functionality:
    • Names in non-Latin alphabets (such as Arabic and Cyrillic) are now displayed (this is extremely useful when trying to locate towns based upon old documents).
    • “Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching,” a more advanced and accurate form of Soundex coding, has been implemented.
    • Search results are now displayed in order of relevance, with the most likely matches appearing first.
The JewishGen Gazetteer has helped thousands of people identify the places where their ancestors lived. The new name of the database, along with the technical improvements, will enable JewishGen to continue helping amateur and professional genealogists as they research their Jewish family history and heritage.

The database can be accessed by clicking here. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email info@JewishGen.org.

We hope you will find this change beneficial, and thank you for your continued support of JewishGen’s important work.

Jewish memorial in Poland vandalised

From the AP

Vandals destroy a Jewish memorial in Poland, memorializing the pogrom in Jedwabne. Vandals painted on the memorial,, "I'm not sorry"and "they were highly flammable".

The memorial was put up to remember the 1941 pogrom, where Polish residents in Jedwabne killed their Jewish neighbors.
In 2001, Polish-American historian Jan Gross published his widely controversial book, Neighbors, which exposed and documented the massacre, where in 1941, after the German occupation of the town Jedwabne, under German encouragement, the Polish residents violently massacred 1,600 of their Jewish neighbors. Ending the pogrom, the Jews were forced into a barn and burned alive.
Gross' book spurred a Polish-wide discussion and soul searching, as previous beliefs that Poles were only victims during the Nazi war were dissolved. Jedwabne has since become both a symbol and a sign of the cataclysm of Polish-Jewish relations during the war
While leaders and dignitaries gathered in Jedwabne for the ceremony, the atmosphere inside Jedwabne was tense, as many residents felt blamed for a massacre that their grandparents or parents had been apart of. Few residents attended the ceremony.

Click here to read the entire article. 

****Update from Jan Meisels Allan

The following was sent to me by Witold Dzielski, First Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Poland  to the United States. I am sharing this with you for informational purposes. Note at the time of posting the English version of Poland's President's message was still not posted.

Sent: Friday, September 02, 2011 2:46 PM
Subject: Reaction of the Polish government to the incident in Jedwabne

Dear Friends,
·         Poland's President and Minister of Foreign Affairs released statements condemning the vandalism of a Jewish massacre memorial in Jedwabne. Both expressed strongly that such incidents are completely unacceptable in Poland. For further information, please take a look at the following links:

I assure you that this crime it being treated in a very serious manner by Polish authorities. Both state and local governments are involved. Please let me know if you have further questions.

Best regards,

Witold Dzielski, First Secretary
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
2640 16th Street, NW, Washington DC 20009
Telephone: (202) 234 3800, ext. 2108

In the News: JewishGen Helps Reunite Family Torn Apart by the Holocaust

The following excerpts are from an article by Peter Kash - published in the Jewish Week

My 84-year-old father, Robert Kash, received a phone call from a woman who introduced herself as a cousin, with the same great grandfather. She said she was working on a Family Tree from a website called www.Jewishgen.org. 

About seven weeks ago she emailed me the Family Tree and shared the newfound cousins she contacted, including one from Israel. My newfound cousin, who deserves all the credit for her arduous, detective-like work in tracking down the family, is Toni Dee; we just met for the first time and shared a warm, long overdue hug. 

For more than 30 years, I have been looking for any remnant of family from the Holocaust. My grandfather was one of 13 brothers and sisters, but only three survived, along with his elderly parents who made it to the United States from Poland well before the war. 

Recently, based on information from the Family Tree that Toni provided, I called a newly discovered cousin in Tel Aviv. He was surprised that I spoke Hebrew and I explained that I served in the IDF more than 25 years ago. I started to cry, realizing that I had not really been a Lonely Soldier and had family in Israel; I just didn’t know it back then. 
I have also found cousins living in the same county as me and never knew it even, though we have shared friends. This experience has brought to life the black and white pictures I use to stare at as a teenager of the Old Country.
Surely hundreds of our relatives perished in the Shoah.
The new family members plan to connect later this year in Israel during the celebration of my 50th birthday and 50th visit to Israel; it will be a reconnection of a generation of cousins that will meet for the first time in four generations. I will meet descendants of all five of my great grandfather’s siblings; I now I have over 60 cousins in Israel that I didn’t know existed until a few weeks ago. 
I guess that along with the adage “Never Again,” we can add: “Never Give Up.”
Click here to read the entire article.