Sunday, June 23, 2019

Concentration Camp Death Certificates

Did you know that in the 1950s, death certificates were issued for many (not all, by any means) of those who were killed in concentration camps?  I have found several for my relatives.  And many are searchable.
Death Certificate for Salamon Fuchs; Buchenwald; 1945

My great uncle Izzy had talked about his (and my grandmother's) first cousins, Golda and Feiga Joszovics.  Via records I later reviewed from the town, I learned that Feiga's legal name was Fani and that she later married Salamon Fuchs (records can be seen here).  Feige/Fani was likely killed in the Holocaust, although I've not found any documentation of that.  But now I know what happened to Salamon--he died in Buchenwald on April 9, 1945, just two days before the Americans liberated the camp.

This certificate gives the names and places of birth of Salamon's parents (including his mother's maiden name), his wife, and the towns of his birth and pre-Buchenwald residence.
Death Certificate for David Ruttner, Buchenwald
I've found records for deaths in Buchenwald, Dachau, Mauthausen, GroƟ-Rosen, Bergen-Belsen, Theresienstadt, and Auschwitz in this record set--and there are others as well.  It looks like these deaths were all recorded in the town of Arolsen--which is where the Red Cross based its International Tracing Service.  Likely they had records from the various camps that confirmed these deaths, and they registered those deaths in the 1950s.

So where do you search for records for your own family members?  These records are hidden within a much larger record set--Hesse, Germany deaths.  You can search them on Ancestry here.  By searching with the keyword "Lagerstandesamt," you can prioritize the results to see those deaths in concentration camps.

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  1. Please note that, despite what may tell you, most of the concentration camps listed as place of death in these records were not in Hessen.

    1. Correct. I believe these were recorded in Arolsen, which IS in the area.