Else Weissenberg – Arolsen Archives records

The following record cards and documents on Else Weissenberg were found in the Arolsen Archives database; we consulted the version held at the Wiener Holocaust Library, London


Note: The descriptions given below relate to the older system of consulting Arolsen Archives in its previous incarnation as the International Tracing Service. Since I carried out these searches many of the Arolsen records have been painstakingly digitised and the search process is now much more straightforward.

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.

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Else Weissenberg, Record card © Arolsen Archives

At the time of writing, the Wiener had 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.

Else Weissenberg, ITS

Else Weissenberg, Reverse of record card © Arolsen Archives

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. She is referred to as a ‘stateless Jew’ (see next section).

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Else Weissenberg, Record card © Arolsen Archives


Nuremberg laws

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

Else Weissenberg, ITS

Else Weissenberg, Record card © Arolsen Archives

This shows that Werner was trying to locate information about his family via the British Red Cross. It has 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: 11.04.1947.

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.

Else Weissenberg

Else Weissenberg, Record card © Arolsen Archives

Else Weissenberg

Else Weissenberg, Record card © Arolsen Archives


Search forms

The next image shows the first of the documents found under the Arolsen number mentioned above. It shows a form that has been filled out with Else’s number on it.

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Else Weissenberg, Search form © Arolsen Archives

It was scanned for the database in 2013. Little wonder 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. According to the old International Tracing Service glossary (held at USHMM) this 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).

Else Weissenberg

Else Weissenberg, Search form © Arolsen Archives

It notes that the person sought was in Gestapo Region Gleiwitz; also checked were Gestapo card files for Else from the following regions: Koblenz, Hamburg, Würzburg, and Frankfurt am Main (Ffm). These regions are given under the category ‘various’, rather than some of the other categories available, which are named KZs (concentration camps): Dachau, Buchenwald, etc.


Postwar search letters

Next, some letters concerning the search Werner carried out for his mother. We almost certainly have these among the documents at home, which are still going through a slow scanning and cataloguing process.

The stamped box has a tick 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 seen this word in letters at home, I won’t have had any idea what or where it was, or what it held.

The letter below confirms personal identifying information: that Else was Jewish, of German nationality, widowed (verwitwet), without occupation/profession, and most recently living in Gleiwitz.

Else Weissenberg

Else Weissenberg, Letter, 4 July 1961 © Arolsen Archives

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.

Else Weissenberg

Else Weissenberg, Letter, 21 March 1960 © Arolsen Archives

The documents that follow are the letters Dr Heyn refers to above, and supply (now) known information. The letters are given here for reasons of completeness.

Else Weissenberg

Else Weissenberg, Letter, 16 December 1959 © Arolsen Archives

Else Weissenberg

Else Weissenberg, Letter, 16 December 1959 © Arolsen Archives