Sunday, July 21, 2019

New WWII Database--And A Cousin Who Survived!

Last week, Vera Miller posted about a new database, "Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947" which is on Ancestry but not easily searchable.  (Vera often posts about data sets to trace family from Ukraine and Russia; if you're not already following her blog, you should!).  Despite Ancestry setting up this data set in a way that doesn't allow you to search that database directly, I figured out a creative query workaround; I'll detail that below.  But first, here's one thing I found on a relative of mine to give you an idea of the kinds of discoveries you could make:
Lasar Rutner Survived!

Lasar Rutner, born March 18, 1924 in "Tetschonw," survived the war, as he has medical certificates prepared in October 1946.

Now, I have the birth record of my fourth cousin twice removed, Leizer Rutner, who was born on March 18, 1924--but he was born in Kolodne, not "Tetschonw."  But Kolodne was in the district of Tecso/Tiachev--which was Teutschenau in German!  So be sure not to discount town names that don't sound right, since they could use German versions of town or distrct names.
Lasar Rutner, Closeup
But here's the thing.  Leizer was dead, killed in the Holocaust--or so I thought.  His name is recorded in a volume of Ukraine's Book of Sorrows as having disappeared into a concentration camp in 1944.  Apparently after disappearing, he reemerged, but no one back in his hometown was aware.
Lazar Rutner's Entry in the Book of Sorrows
This is a great resource--but it's very difficult to search.  Here's the workaround that I've cludged together, which should allow you to search (with an Ancestry subscription).  Click here to get a listing of all 3 million records, and you can then edit those search results to add in your names of interest.  Good luck!

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  1. Lara, you are a genius! Thank you so much for the workaround - it worked fabulously!

    Congratulations on finding a surviving cousin that you thought had perished. Reading your post gave me chills and an even greater hope of finding the final chapter to the story of my paternal great-grandparents.

    Thank you!

  2. Lara, out of this HUGE database, how can I locate my uncle who traveled from Morocco to France? He disappeared and never came back, this was during the Nazi occupation of France. How do we filter results of these three million?

    1. This doesn't list all survivors/victims, by far. Click on the link above and then edit the search to add in your uncle's surname.

      You may also want to try an ITS query to see if they have information on him.

  3. Lara, thank you so much for this info and for the workaround. I have found so many family members already! BTW Ancestry seems to be having issues today but if you click on "View Image" instead of the long title of the record in your search results the records will show.

  4. Very interesting---where did these documents come from? Are they connected to the new Arolsen Archives website in some way?

    1. I don't know. Since there isn't a landing page like there is for most Ancestry collections, there's no real sourcing. And there are files on here not on Arolsen and vice versa.

    2. Very odd. I wonder how Vera fell upon these. I have been using the Arolsen website, but did not know about this one. My guess is that it's not really ready for "primetime" on Ancestry and that's why it's so glitchy.

  5. Thank you Lara, this is quite helpful, as I just found a great uncle on the Arolsen site but have not confirmed whether he perished at Dachau (transferred from Buchenwald).