Sunday, January 1, 2023

Hungarian Holocaust Survivors (And Other Yad Vashem Additions)

Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Memorial, has been digitizing and indexing many Holocaust-related records and making them searchable by the public.  Their Pages of Testimony, where people memorialized relatives who were murdered during the war, have been searchable for a while and are an invaluable resource.  But even if you've looked at Yad Vashem's database of records in the past, it's definitely worth re-looking every so often because of the scope of record sets they've added.

One of their recent additions has been information about Hungarian Holocaust Survivors--including many that were from what is now Subcarpathian Ukraine (where my mother's mother's family originated)--which can help you identify relatives who survived the war.

Survivor Card for my 2nd cousin twice removed Samuel Ruttner/Fuchs

These survivor cards give the name, birthplace (Osandorfalva in the example above), year of birth, and place of residence pre-war.  It also gives the individual's mother's maiden name.  And sometimes it gives information about what happened to the person during the war (as can be seen here, Samuel was imprisoned in Dachau).   And near the bottom right of the card is the individual's signature.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at Hungarian records in particular is that many times parents weren't legally married (although they were religiously married), so a child used the mother's maiden name.  That's the case for the example above; Samuel's father's surname was Fuchs, but he used Ruttner, his mother's maiden name.

Survivor Card for my 4th cousin twice removed, Mrs. Herman Jäger

Another thing to keep in mind is that married women sometimes don't have their given name on their survivor card.  the 'né' suffix appended to a given name means that she's mentioned with her husband's name.  For example, the card above is for Hermanné Jäger--or Mrs. Herman Jäger.  Nowhere on this card am I given her first name (Sari) or her maiden name (Ruttner).  But I am given her mother's maiden name, Etel Neulinger.  I found this card by searching for records for the town of Dulfalva and the information that was contained on the card allowed me to figure out that the survivor was Sari Rutner Jäger.

So how do you find these cards--and many other records as well?  Yad Vashem's database is easily searchable here.  Search for surnames--and also search for towns (assuming they aren't huge cities).  You'll likely find records related to relatives who were murdered, but you'll also potentially discover records like the above that will show you that some survived.

And remember, no matter what you find today, search again in a few months, and you may find newly-added records.

Good luck with your search!

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