The first image gives Else’s name and maiden name, date and place of birth, where she was deported from and (assumed to have been deported) to, who is dealing with the search and where he is located, and in the top right-hand corner is her file index number, 791 768.
Currently, the Wiener has just finished uploading from the seven hundred thousands to over one million records, so any information that is held on Else in the ITSD should now have been uploaded. It’s just a case of trying to find it …
On the reverse of this card (below right) is the enquiry number (which would have been to do with my father’s search for his mother after the war; it also gives another date – probably when the case was closed.
The third image (below) shows the basic record card that confirms Else’s name, date and place of birth, the person looking for her and their address, and the fact that she is now referred to as a ‘stateless Jew’ (see next section).
The Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935 stripped nationality from Jews; Aryan citizens were to be the only bearers of full civil rights (see Nicosia and Scrase (eds), Jewish Life In Nazi Germany: Dilemmas and Responses; p. 5).
The Red Cross
This shows that Werner was trying to locate information about his family via the British Red Cross. It has the old enquiry number 93812, as well as the following file references to be followed up: F 20/10, F 19/11, PR 31/16 and a hand-written date: 11.4.1947.
The next record card is a further version of what is given above; it is inserted here for the sake of completeness. The reverse side (below) shows the current index number.
The next image shows the first of the documents found under the ITS number mentioned above. It shows a form that has been filled out with Else’s number on it.
It was scanned for the database in 2013 – little wonder, then, that I didn’t have any success finding this when I started my searches 10 years ago. It gives a series of dates in the 1960s, which was when my father was attempting his formal searches; this is a record of those attempts. It also gives me a file reference to follow up: F 13.
The next image is the second page of this document. In the bottom right-hand corner it refers to Sonderstandesamt, which according to the ITS glossary is the Special Civil Registry Office at Bad Arolsen (i.e., an office of the ITS responsible for issuing death certificates and other vital records).
It notes that the person sought was in Gestapo Region Gleiwitz; there may be Gestapo card files for Else from the following regions: Koblenz, Hamburg, Würzburg and Frankfurt am Main (Ffm). These regions are given under the category of ‘various’, rather than some of the other categories available, which are named KZs (concentration camps): Dachau, Buchenwald, etc.
The next card refers to Prison Lists, found under a F 12/710 search, now under N13 files. The source of the records is the Amtsgericht Westerstede – the Westerstede Court. The record covers the period 1940-1944. It concerns 142 people, covering 10 sheets of paper. This type of record was formerly a P 20/10 file, and states that the persons listed were tried by a court before being sentenced. I found it quite extraordinary that the system in place by 1942 would have bothered with such formalities … The reverse gives the breakdown of nationalities referred to in the document.
The next card refers to Civilian Residents – file reference F 19/11, to be followed up. It is part of a British Search Bureau record, opened in September 1946; the records cover the period ‘from before September 1939 – up to-day’. The 8 pages cover 17 persons and are records of Burgomasters’ lists of civilian residents living in Germany before 1939.
The final one of these card types is given below; it again refers to Westerstede and covers 18 people on 2 lists. These lists refer to people of unknown nationality who were punished by the court in Westerstede/Oldberg.
Postwar search letters
Next, we come to some letters that are directly to do with the search Werner carried out for his mother. We almost certainly have these among the documents at home, which are still going through a very slow scanning and cataloguing process.
The stamped box has ticked next to the abbreviation inhaft. – inhaftiert/incarcerated. The next marked category is Todeserkl., which I believe refers to a death certificate. It is interesting to me to now understand what ‘Arolsen‘ refers to: when I have probably noticed this word in letters at home, I won’t have had any idea what or where it was, or what it held.
The letter confirms the personal identifying information, that Else was Jewish, of German nationality, widowed (verwitwet), without occupation/profession, and most recently living in Gleiwitz.
The next letter is from Dr Max Heyn. It gives a street address in Gleiwitz, which again confirms what we had assumed to be the case – 10, Wernickstrasse. It states that Else was deported in May 1942, probably to Auschwitz. Finally, Dr Heyn refers to several previous letters he has written, with dates supplied for this correspondence.
The documents that follow are the letters Dr Heyn refers to above, and supply information already known to us now. The letters are given here for reasons of completeness.