Hermine Bloch – Arolsen Archives records

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


(The descriptions given here 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.)

This first image is the most basic form of record card held on the ITS database, from which all other information can be followed up. It gives confirmation of the person we are looking for in the form of name, date and place of birth, and last known address.

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Hermine Bloch, Record card © Arolsen Archives

It also gives a partial address: Amtsgericht Bln. Schöneb; that is, Amtsgericht Schöneberg, Grunewaldstraße 66-67, 10823 Berlin, Germany. This was a district court.

The second image gives the same information with some hand-written additions.

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Hermine Bloch, Record card © Arolsen Archives


Search forms

The third image shows a search form that has been filled out after the war in response to Werner‘s attempts to locate information about his grandmother.

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Hermine Bloch, Search form © Arolsen Archives

We can also see the date this form was scanned and uploaded into the ITS database (2013); little wonder we didn’t find anything 10 years ago, then.

The next image, below, is another page of the same form. I had hoped that this would give us confirmation of whether or not Hermine entered Auschwitz, as shown by the 3 marked boxes, as follows:

  • Auschwitz Häftl. P. Bg. = Häftlingspersonalbogen (or Häftlings-Personal-Bogen)

A prisoner registration form; that is, a standardized concentration camp prisoner intake form containing personal, family, arrest, transport and other descriptive information about the prisoner; such forms were typically filled out by prisoner-clerks and then signed by the prisoner near the bottom lefthand corner; the information gathered on such a form was subsequently used to create a Häftlingspersonalkarte (= prisoner registration card); such forms are found in the Individual Documents sections of some concentration camp record groups of the Incarceration Documents section (e.g. Individual Documents male Buchenwald, current ITS Archives designation: 1.1.5.3), where they are easily searchable by name. See also entries for: “H.P.K.”, “Häftlingspersonalkarte‖ and “v.g.u.”;

  • Effekt.Verz = Effekten-Verzeichnis (or Effektenverzeichnis)

A list or register of personal effects (i.e. which were typically seized upon arrival in a concentration camp or other place of incarceration);

Tod. Meldg. = Todesmeldung – A death notification.

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Hermine Bloch, Search form © Arolsen Archives

In our case, however, I am told that these marks only show that the Auschwitz records were checked, not that anything was found. The uncertainty in this regard continues.

The fifth and sixth images depict another search form, again confirming the personal information that told me I had found the correct records. It looks like my father’s handwriting.

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Hermine Bloch, Search form © Arolsen Archives

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Hermine Bloch, Search form © Arolsen Archives

The seventh picture is a scan of a letter from Max Heyn (see Werner’s page for more on Dr Heyn) concerning the search for Hermine. We have a considerable amount of correspondence at home between Dr Heyn and my father.

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Hermine Bloch, Search records © Arolsen Archives

The eighth image, below, is a scan of a letter from the state authorities in Köln, again with confirmation of the family details and search.

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Hermine Bloch, Search records © Arolsen Archives

Next is a scan of a letter confirming information about various members of the family and the nature of the search.

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Hermine Bloch, Records © Arolsen Archives

The tenth image shows further correspondence from Dr Heyn. It is interesting to note the range of dates across the paperwork generated by my father’s search in order to understand how lengthy a process it was to try to ascertain information and, ultimately, to have death certificates issued, which were required by the postwar German government.

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Hermine Bloch, Records © Arolsen Archives

The next image also contains information of the search being conducted through Dr Heyn.

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Hermine Bloch, Records © Arolsen Archives

Below is further confirmation of this search in relation to the requirement to obtain a death certificate.

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Hermine Bloch, Records © Arolsen Archives


Transports – deportations

In the next scan, below, as I understand it to date, we can see the stations through which the transports passed in the region, and on which dates.

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Hermine Bloch, Records © Arolsen Archives

As far as I understand it, this basically states that they don’t know which transport Hermine might have been on from Gleiwitz (see Hermine and Else’s pages for further explanation of this issue). The letter provides a list of stations around the known deportation period, containing the transports of people being deported in horrific conditions ‘to the East’, as it was euphemistically stated in Nazi documents.


Death certificates

The final three letters are also part of these early attempts by Werner to get some resolution about what happened to his family, and to get death certificates issued, which were required as part of the BEG application process for compensation, I believe. One says, in essence, ‘proof of death is not available; we are therefore not in a position to provide a death certificate’.

Anyone who has ever tried to finalise the affairs of someone who has died will understand something of the scale of difficulty this would have created. And that’s before one factors in that anyone in this position would want to know whether or not they should keep looking for a loved family member.

Hermine Bloch, Records © Arolsen Archives