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Interested in tracing your Radom Ancestry?                            Here are 5 free on-line resources that could help!

JewishGen website (jewishgen.org) is a collection of searchable databases of records mostly of Jewish life in Europe before World War II. Of special interest is its link to the JRI-Poland (Jewish Research Institute, a Poland-based entity) database, which a town-by-town transcription of civil records for Jewish residents and is regularly updated as more records become publicly available under Polish law. For Radom the JRI-Poland database includes birth, marriage, and death records going back to the 1820s. database also includes the Radom Book of Residents, a compilation of several censuses of city residents by household which helps in tracing family trees. You have create a JewishGen account to access the databases but it’s free.

 

The Genealogy Indexer website (genealogyindexer.org) is a compilation of searchable old directories and other lists from various countries including Poland: telephone directories, business directories, medical directories, lists of bank account holders, military reservists, voters, etc. For Radom available items range from an 1880s “synagogue district” voters list to 1930s business listings. Free.

 

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website (ushmm.org) has a searchable database of wartime and immediate aftermath documents. Digital images of some of the documents in its collection are immediately available by e-mail. The museum also owns a digital copy of the records of the International Tracing Service (ITS), the world’s largest compilation of wartime and postwar documents related to Nazi atrocities. Although documents from ITS records aren’t immediately available, they can be obtained by filing a research request with the museum. (The museum has a long research request queue and it could take couple of years to get ITS documents from them. It might be quicker to send a request directly to ITS, which is located in Bad Arolsen, Germany.) Free.

 

The website of Yad Vashem (yadvashem.org) in Israel has a searchable database for records of Holocaust victims. Some of their information is based on official wartime and postwar records, but much is also from “Pages of Testimony” about individual victims filed by witnesses (survivor relatives or friends) and postwar descendants. The website is available in several languages including English. Free.

 

Probably not as well-known as the four above, the Polish National Archive (szukajwarchiwach.pl) has a searchable on-line database containing a variety of prewar, wartime, and postwar records. The archive’s Radom branch has done a better job than other branches of putting references to many of its documents into this on-line database. Of particular interest to descendants of Radom Jews is a collection of 1941 applications for identity cards submitted by adult Jewish Radom residents because the Nazi ordered it (szukajwarchiwach.pl/58/387/0#tabJednostki). Applicants were required to attach a photo to the form and, while some have been lost, many forms still have their photos. This could be of interest to descendants who never had pictures of some Radom ancestors. Searching the archive database is free. Digital images of documents can be ordered from the archive, but that’s not free. Depending on the document, the cost is 2 to 4 Polish zlotys per page. (The US Holocaust Memorial Museum mentioned earlier has a copy of the 1941 applications database from which document images can be obtained for free, but at this time you have to actually go to their library in Washington, DC to access it. Perhaps in the future they’ll put the images on-line for free.)

If you’re interested in researching your Radom ancestors and want to learn more, send an e-mail to pharmlabhead@hotmail.com with your inquiry. Advice is free.

German Law lets children of some deceased Holocaust survivors collect compensation

Are you the child of a Holocaust survivor, living or deceased? If your survivor parent is deceased, was he or she still alive on 01-July-1992? Was your parent a slave laborer in a ghetto during the Holocaust? If you answered “Yes” to all 3 questions above, you may be eligible to collect a substantial sum of money from the German government.

In July 1997 Germany enacted a law that made Holocaust survivors who were slave laborers in a ghetto eligible for Rentenversicherung (German social security) pensions. The “ghetto” stipulation was because the law was aimed at Jewish survivors and in ghettos only Jews did slave labor. Rentenversicherung is a totally separate program from Wiedergutmachung (reparations) that’s been paid to survivors for more than a half-century. Eligible survivors can collect both and one does not affect the amount of the other. After taking a couple of years to set up the systems to implement the 1997 law, Germany began accepting survivor applications in the early 2000s. Successful applicants received compensation consisting of a lump sum payment retroactive to July 1997 (when the law was enacted) and subsequent monthly payments for life.

A major difference between the two benefits is Wiedergutmachung payments end with the death of the survivor but under the 1997 law Rentenversicherung is transferable to a surviving spouse.

In September 2013 Germany added an amendment to the 1997 law that expanded transferability after the survivor’s death. The amendment allows children of deceased eligible Holocaust survivors to collect payments under the program if the survivor was still alive on 01-July-1992 (five years before the 1997 law was enacted). The child does not have to be a Holocaust survivor and does not have to be retired to be eligible. In addition, if the deceased parent was eligible for this benefit, the child is eligible whether the parent applied during his / her lifetime or not.

Case History: My parents Z”L were both born and grew up in Radom. From summer 1942 to summer 1944 they were Jewish slave laborers in what remained of Radom’s ghetto (which made them eligible for Rentenversicherung). After the war they collected Wiedergutmachung starting in the 1960s. In the early 2000s they successfully applied for Rentenversicherung under the 1997 law. Neither payment affected the amount of the other. After my mother died in 2012, her Wiedergutmachung ended but her Rentenversicherung was transferred to my father. He collected his own Wiedergutmachung and Rentenversicherung, plus her Rentenversicherung, for the rest of his life. After my father died in 2014, his Wiedergutmachung ended but the Germans sent me a letter urging me to apply for my parents' Rentenversicherung. I applied and received two lump-sum payments in 2015 and 2016 totaling more than $50,000 American ($65,000 Canadian) which was what the Germans calculated they still owed my parents.

If you answered “Yes” to the 3 questions above and want to learn more, send an e-mail to pharmlabhead@hotmail.com with your inquiry. Advice is free. The wartime suffering of your parent(s) already paid for your right to collect this money from the Germans.

Thu, April 18 2019 13 Nisan 5779