26 July 2008

New Jersey: Family traces at Bad Arolsen

New Jersey resident Janet Isenberg was part of the group of genealogists who visited the Bad Arolsen archives in May, hoping to learn the fate of 163 relatives caught up in the Holocaust.

Her story is in a New Jersey Jewish Standard article by Jeremy Fishman.

The trip for amateur and professional genealogists was organized by genealogist Gary Mokotoff of Avotaynu, a major publisher of essential Jewish genealogy reference and related publications. The international group - from the US, Israel, UK and Australia - was the first large group of individuals to access more than 26 miles of Nazi documents since they were opened to the public in November 2007.
"My father was a Holocaust survivor," Isenberg, a genealogy enthusiast, told The Jewish Standard last week. She formed a passion for genealogy when she was 17. "I have been studying the history of my family for over 35 years, so when I discovered this opportunity I had to seize it," she said.
Mokotoff said that the International Tracing Service  archives at Bad Arolsen "has a computerized index designed for in-house purposes only. It is organized in a unique manner that is difficult to navigate if you are untrained in how to use it."  The German language documents are in three general categories in separate buildings: incarceration documents, forced labor documents and post-war documents.
"What I hoped to find were people who survived that I didn’t know about," Isenberg said. "I entered inquiring about 163 relatives. [But] 158 died in the Holocaust, and only five survived. I was excited to find cousins of cousins, one in Germany and one in Israel."
Fore more details, read the complete article at the link above.

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