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How to Find People That Were in Concentration Camps

by Laurie Rappeport

Since the end of World War II many concentration camp survivors and family members of people interned in the camps have tried to determine the fate of individual concentration camp victims. The Nazis kept careful records of the people whom they deported to concentration camps but still, among the millions of people who entered the camps were those whose fate remains uncertain. Individuals still search for family members who, they believe, were in concentration camps. Some simply want to find information about their family. Others hope to trace survivors, a task that, even today, sometimes bears fruit.

Review Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims Names. The Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial has, since 1953, encouraged Holocaust survivors to submit names of family members who disappeared during the World War II years. Yad Vashem maintains these names, along with any additional information that the submitter was able to add to the submission. Please see Resources to access the website. Search the database by entering as much information as possible about the individual that you're searching for. The advance search allows you to search by the person's first and last names, maiden name, place of residence, parents' names, spouse's name, place of birth or name of the submitter. If the site finds a match, they provide a summary of the person's basic information in English. Submission forms include a request for information about the individual's place of residence during the war, including possible internment in a concentration camp.

Contact the Red Cross. The International Red Cross has assisted people looking for concentration camp internees and other Holocaust victims since 1939. The Red Cross established the Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center in 1989 and holds over 47 million records of Nazi documentation relating to the fate of Holocaust victims. The Tracing Center serves as a clearinghouse for individuals who want to trace people who were in concentration camps. The trace uses the Red Cross's own documentation as well as links to other archives, museums and organizations.

Check the databases available through the Jewishgen Holocaust Website. Jewishgen offers users the opportunity to use their search tool when searching for concentration camp and other Holocaust victims. Jewishgen has access to 150 component datasets including transfers, deportations, camp arrivals and concentration camp death lists. Jewishgen volunteers translate these lists into English, allowing English-speaking searchers to more easily search the databases.

Access the Mormon church's microfilm records of concentration camp victims. The Mormon church, through its International Genealogical Index, microfilms, indexes and catalogs names of Holocaust victims, including those who died in concentration camps. The Family History Library Catalog provides links to the microfilm, microfiche, and publications that you may obtain through your local Mormon church. Searchers locate the material that they wish to review in the Index and then order it at their local Family History Center (located in Mormon churches throughout the world). The main center in Salt Lake City, Utah, which stores these microfilms, will send the material to your local Family Search Center where you can review it in the Center's library.

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