This was the first record card found, which gives uncle Fedor’s name, date of birth, area of residence, the fact that he was assumed to have emigrated to Paris, and that he was last heard from in 1937; it also gives his database index number (933 421). Dr Mauss, who is referred to in the bottom-left corner, was the solicitor helping my father with the search for his family.
The second card, shown below, gives some file reference numbers to other cards/documents held in the ITS database: Files 12/682 and 18/302.
The next image shows the same information on a different card.
The two images that follow are a letter from Dr Mauss. I will provide a translation as soon as I can.
The next images are further correspondence via Dr Mauss that I found in the ITSD.We have stacks of such letters from the tracing services at home.
Again, when I am able to, I will provide translations. For the time being these letters are not a priority for me, because I know that the outcome didn’t give us any real answers – beyond what I started with.
With reference to the next image, according to the ITS glossary,
FVM (Französische Verbindungsmission) = French Liaison Mission
This indicates a research request received by the ITS through the French Liaison Mission in Bad Arolsen or Berlin; when encountering such cases a search of the Card File of the French Liaison Office in Berlin, also referred to as the Berliner Kartei‖, current ITS designation: 184.108.40.206 [searchable by name], is advised.
See also entries for: “AVM”, “Berliner Kartei” and “F.L.O.”
The following image is the reply from France, basically stating that they had no records concerning Fedor.
The name Fedor has been crossed out, and has now become ‘Theddor’; many such errors must gradually have been introduced to records as they moved through different national systems).
Below (left) is the familiar yellow ITS search form, scanned in on 12 February 2014. It states something under the ‘positive’ column, but I can’t read what it is. It seems to be to do with the FVM search, mentioned above, but this came to nothing, as far as I am aware. There is also a file reference here to F 14 that I will need to follow up.
However, the next page gives a ‘cross’ to show there are some Gestapo files for Fedor, and something in the State Archives, so this is presumably what the ‘positive’ denotation above refers to.
The following image shows that a Red Cross search has been carried out. This shows that there are files on Fedor with Gestapo Düsseldorf. A number – 28614 – is also given. It shows the date on which Fedor was transported to Riga (see Fedor’s page for more on this). I will provide a full translation in due course. The following page is the reverse side of this letter.
Lastly, for this section, the image below confirms that searches were carried out specifically for Bavaria, the French zone, Baden-Württemberg, and Mönchen Gladbach.
Why these places? I can’t be certain, but the following are some possibilities for why these locations might have been searched.
According to the ITS glossary, there was a compensation claims office in Bavaria, and there was also a list of former inmates of concentration camps who died after liberation in Cham (Bavaria) [or: Listen von verstorbenen ehemaligen KZ- Häftlingen verschiedener Nationalität, verstorben nach der Befreiung in Cham/Bayern (Nachkriegsaufstellungen)].
We know already that there was a query about whether Fedor and/or his daughter Betty had gone to France.
With reference to Baden-Württemberg: according to the ITS glossary, Kislau Concentration Camp (located in the castle at Kislau near Bad Schönborn in current-day Baden-Württemberg) was in operation from April 21, 1933 until April 1, 1939, under command of the Baden Interior Ministry, in contrast to ―regular SS-run concentration camps. The camp was closed in April 1939 after the prisoners were transferred to Dachau. For Fedor, perhaps there was something in the history that suggested this was a possibility, or perhaps it was a standard search.
Update: March 2015
The card below appeared when I entered F 12/682 into the ITSD. You can see this file reference number at the top right of the card. The card shows that some information about Fedor is held on some Gestapo files, Düsseldorf.
It tells us the period covered by the files (1934-1945), how many people are in this particular file (2024), out of which 55 have died. There are 251 pages to read through if we are able to access this file, if it still exists. It looks as though the search this card relates to/was made in October 1949, or that this information was filed on that date, and this was done in the British Zone Division.
The next card gives the breakdown of nationalities that are held in the file; it is the reverse of the previous card (I was advised always to check the reverse of these cards, as they often contain further useful/vital information).
The next card was another linked to the 12/682 file number; it also tells us that the file reference for this information was once coded F 12/673 – the codes have changed over time and you have to check quite carefully that the trail you follow is the one you intend to follow!
The record card refers to some prison lists, extracted from Gestapo files, Düsseldorf; it says that ‘full details are given’ in 620 pages of information. These files concern 6853 people, 148 of whom are known to be dead. The period covered is 1933-1945. The card that follows is the reverse side of this one and again gives the breakdown of nationalities.
The next card found has ‘Prisons’ as its subject. It is looking increasingly unlikely that Fedor did manage to ‘escape’, as family rumour once seems to have hoped. The rumour was that he had fled to Paris, France, possibly with his daughter, Betty. Given the course of events in WWII, however, ending up in France would have been far from a guarantee of survival for a Jewish family – even if they made it that far – and even if the attempt was made, which we have no proof of as yet.
Again this card came from following the initial File 12-682. The source is Gestapo, Düsseldorf, via the British Zone. There are 692 pages concerning 5853 people, 171 of whom are known to be dead. Bottom left, there is a series of other file references that I will need to follow up on my next ITS session. The following card (below left) is the reverse side – again showing a breakdown of the nationalities covered, with other locational information.
The next card again refers to Gestapo files concerning prison lists. The 740 pages refer to 6564 people, 198 of whom are known to have died. Bottom left, this card tell us that there is another set of file cards to be found, potentially – for 939 of those persons mentioned here. This had also once been filed as an F12/673, and as F12/1049. I will need to take advice about whether I should cross check these old file references – just in case. Again, although not uploaded here, the reverse of the card lists nationalities and further details.
The card scanned below shows just how many old file types we are dealing with (bottom left); this card again refers us on to 117 sheets concerning 6812 people, 198 of whom are known to be dead.
There are 6 photographs referenced here too; the reverse of the card has similar information to that given elsewhere. In terms of which is the most numerous group of people among the categories given, by far the largest number were Jewish. It is worth bearing in mind, too, that ‘stateless’ often referred to Jews, who had been stripped of their nationality by the State.
The card below refers us to more prison lists via Gestapo files covering the period 1935-1944. Of the 2046 people referred to, 72 are known to be dead. This card specifies that the following information is given: name, date and place of birth, and next of kin and address. The image that follows shows the reverse of this card and gives similar information to that outlined elsewhere, as well as listing the concentration camps to which these people were sent. At this stage, we don’t have any links to individuals – the information is given only at the level of nationalities. We will need to try to access the actual Gestapo files to get any further specifics about uncle Fedor.
The following card is an F 12/673 from July 1949; it concerns 789 people, 21 of whom are dead. The reverse side of the card again gives nationalities, as well as pencil-written additions of the KZs (concentration camps) to which they were sent.
The next card seems to refer to something a bit different again – it is a police record concerning State Police daily reports at Düsseldorf regarding arrest of foreign (?) for sabotage and political activities. The reports cover the period 1943-1944. This was an 11-29/M file, first filed in September 1946. The reverse side of this card is blank.
The card below was an 11-29/K file from October 1946; it then became another F12/862. It refers to the period 1935-1944 and contains 49 folders on 78 people. The folders contain Gestapo information on the prosecution of people for neglect of labour, sabotage, illegal crossing of frontiers, spying, communistic activity, smuggling, political speech, enemy propaganda, racial and political persecution. This might suggest that uncle Fedor tried to cross the borders to France, or his arrest might have been for one of the other categories given here, which would cover almost anything. I hope that this file still exists when we get to the next stage – it really would answer one of our main queries. The reverse of this card has the kind of nationalities breakdown mentioned and shown above.
The following image is similar to that given above and pertains to Gestapo records of 57 people in 56 folders. Prosecution was carried out in these instances for the following: spying, labour neglect, smuggling, illegal crossing of frontiers, political and racial persecution, anti-Nazi activity, illegal contacts with PWs (prisoners of war). The reverse side gives the breakdown of nationalities, plus an indication of where the files had been sent.
The next record card is similar in appearance but in fact refers to a search file, regarding 17 ‘stateless’ and 1 ‘unknown’ persons. There is one folder here for each of the 18 persons being sought after the war. Again, if uncle Fedor is one of these people, it might be useful to see the information contained in this file. The period covered is ‘before 1939 to 1944’. The following card is much the same kind of search reference, this time for 25 persons.
The next image refers to further Gestapo records, this time concerning 16 people who are first referred to as ‘German nationals’, but ‘German’ has been crossed out. (As I have said elsewhere, German nationality was removed from Jews, making searches using this kind of information after the war even more difficult; obviously, I have no way of knowing whether this was the issue here.) This card states that these persons were recorded by the Gestapo for various reasons: it is dated March 1948.
The image below clearly shows the file references that we began with – F 12/682 and F 18/302 – I should probably check both references again when I next visit the Wiener, in order to be sure I have found everything before moving on to the next stage. As best as I can translate it, the German text states that the file was put together on 10.05.1947 and that one should also refer to a file from 08.06.1947. This image opened the batch of file cards outlined above and is included here for the purpose of completeness.
Update: 17 March 2015
For some reason, all these Gestapo Düsseldorf documents have been redacted from the ITS files. You can see where they were, but all the icons have a small green cross through them. I have been told that the researchers have not been allowed to access these types of files, but that as a family member I ‘might’ be able to, by applying directly to Bad Arolsen. I have now done so, but don’t hold out any hope of an early resolution to this, as so far they have not replied to any of my emails going back several months. I also know that they rightly prioritise compensation claims, and that they are very backed up with enquiries.
In the meantime, I found a couple more documents on Fedor in the ITSD yesterday. There has always been an issue of the spelling of Fedor’s name, and in using one of the other spellings found in the Bundesarchiv (we know it is our relative because of the date and place of birth, etc.), we have found some more documents.
So, under Theodor and Theddor Bloch we have the following cards and documents.
The first two are a new record card and its reverse. This provides the usual identifying information, his profession (kaufmann/merchant), and the date of his deportation and the destination. It also gives a filing number for a document: a CMI number and a reference to a VCC 155 file. The reverse also gives a reference to a Bundesarchiv (BA) file.
The next main image is the document this record card refers to. It is a scan of the transport list page on which uncle’s name appears: to the Riga ghetto from Düsseldorf. Fedor was one of only 19 Düsseldorf Jews on this transport of 1007 Jews from the surrounding area (for further information about this transport, see Fedor’s page). This is preceded by the cover page for this file.
It would seem, then, that the family narrative about whether Fedor ‘escaped’ to France was incorrect and that he was deported to the Riga ghetto, where he almost certainly died early on – given his age, the circumstances of the ghetto’s history, and the length of his initial deportation. I am slightly puzzled about where the narrative about escaping to France has come from, as Else seems clear in her letters (which my father had in his possession by the time he was searching for his family) that her brother had been deported to Riga.