European Days of Jewish Culture (EDJC) kick off September 4th, however some events are starting in August. This year’s theme is “Renewal”. See: https://jewisheritage.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Renewal.pdf from the National Library of Israel. The EDJC is coordinated under the auspices of the AEPJ (European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage), in partnership with the National Library of Israel. This European-wide event, which has been organized since 2000, is to highlight the diversity and richness of Judaism and its local, regional and national historical importance, with the firm intention of promoting dialogue, recognition and exchange through conferences, concerts, performances, guided tours and other activities, which take place simultaneously throughout the continent.
A pan-European festival of tourism and education centered on Jewish built heritage, the EDJC takes place each year in more than two dozen countries across the continent, and has become Europe’s most successful cross-border Jewish cultural initiative.
Vatican News reports, “At the request of Pope Francis, the virtual reproduction of a collection preserving the requests for help addressed to Pope Pius XII by Jews from all over Europe after the beginning of Nazi-Fascist persecution is now accessible to all. It consists of a total of 170 volumes, or nearly 40,000 files. Only 70% of the total material will be initially available, but will later be supplemented with the final volumes currently being prepared…
A special documentary heritage that distinguishes itself from other archival series, already from the name assigned to it: “Ebrei” (Jews). A heritage that is precious because it gathers the requests for help sent to Pope Pius XII by Jewish people, both the baptized and the non-baptized, after the beginning of Nazi and fascist persecution.
The “Ebrei” series of the Historical Archive of the Secretariat of State – Section for Relations with States and International Organizations (ASRS). The series of 170 volumes in total are part of the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs Collection (AA.EE.SS.) related to the Pontificate of Pius XII — Part 1 (1939-1948), and already available for consultation since 2 March 2020, in the Reading Room of the Historical Archive, by worldwide scholars.
The then Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (from which the archival Collection gets its name), equivalent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, charged a diplomatic minutante (Msgr. Angelo Dell’Acqua) to manage the requests for help that were addressed to the Pope from all over Europe, with the aim of providing all the help possible.
Requests could be made to obtain visas or passports to expatriate, find asylum, reunify families, obtain liberation from detention and transfers from one concentration camp to another, receive news regarding deported people, supplies of food or clothing, financial support, spiritual support and much more.
Each of these requests constituted a case which, once processed, was destined for storage in a documentary series entitled “Ebrei”. It contains more than 2,700 cases with requests for help almost always for entire families or groups of people. Thousands of people persecuted for their membership to the Jewish religion, or for merely having “non-Aryan” ancestry, turned to the Vatican, in the knowledge that others had received help.
After the pontificate of Pius XII was opened to consultation in 2020, this special list of names was given the name, “Pacelli’s list, (Pope Pius XII), echoing the well-known “Schindler’s list”.
As of June 2022, the “Ebrei” series will be available for consultation on the internet in its virtual version, freely accessible to all on the website of the Historical Archive of the Secretariat of State – Section for Relations with States and International Organizations.
In the Moment article there is an example of the types of letters that are being addressed in the article. To read the article see:
The Polish Institute of National Remembrance announced the burnt remains of approximately 8,000 victims of the Nazis were unearthed in a mass grave outside the town of Działdowo, a town in Northern Poland, located on the historical Prussian-Mazovian border, today belonging to the southern part of the Warmia-Masuria voivodeship.
The bodies are thought to have been dug up and burned in a Nazi operation to hide traces of their murders. The Nazis murdered Jews, political opponents and members of the Polish elite at Soldau.
The concentration camp was built in 1939 for transit, internment and extermination and used throughout the Nazi occupation.
Up to 30,000 people are thought to have been killed there and researchers hope to carry out DNA analysis of the remains to find out more about the victims. Among the Poles who were murdered were members of the clergy and intelligentsia. Mr Jankowski said two pits had been found near Soldau, now known as Dzialdowo, and further excavation would take place to search for more. The estimate of 8,000 victims is based on a person’s body weight estimated at 2kg.
Archaeologists have found hundreds of traces of clothing, buttons and other items, but nothing of value, indicating the bodies were robbed before being set alight.
General view of the excavations on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Photo: Warsaw Ghetto Museum
Jewish Heritage Europe reported on excavations at the site of the Warsaw Ghetto where a child’s shoe, Kitchen utensils, Crockery, Books, Ceramic tiles, Corroded tools, were found during archaeological excavations this summer. The dig is being lead by an archaeologist and historian at the Warsaw Ghetto Museum. together with a team of scientists from Christopher Newport University in the U.S. and the Aleksander Gieysztor Academy in Pułtusk, Poland. The dig has been extended to the end of July.
The Ghetto Museum, currently under development, is due to open in a complex of buildings that was a pre-WW2 children’s hospital in April 2023 — the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
The excavations are concentrated on the site where two pre-war apartment buildings stood; they were located between two streets, with entrances at Miła 18 and Muranowska 39 and at Miła 20 and Muranowska 41. During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which began on April 19, 1943, a bunker in the basement that had been used by smugglers housed the headquarters of the Jewish Combat Organization, led by Mordechaj Anielewicz. On May 8, 1943, as the Germans closed in, Anielewicz and scores of other Ghetto fighters committed mass suicide in the bunker. The bodies were never exhumed.
The U.S. and the Holocaust will premiere on PBS September 18, 2022. Check with your local cable provider for the station. The U.S. and The Holocaust, a new three-part , six-hour documentary directed and produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, explores America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history. Americans consider themselves a “nation of immigrants,” but as the catastrophe of the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, the United States proved unwilling to open its doors to more than a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking refuge. Through riveting firsthand testimony of witnesses and survivors who as children endured persecution, violence and flight as their families tried to escape Hitler, this series delves deeply into the tragic human consequences of public indifference, bureaucratic red tape and restrictive quota laws in America. The series will air September 18, 19 and 20, at 8:00-10:00 p.m. eastern/pacific 7:00-9:00 PM Central (check local listings) on PBS, https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/us-and-the-holocaust/
Jewish Heritage Eurooe reports that the Oshpitzin Jewish Museum in Oświęcim, the town in southern Poland were the Nazis built the Auschwitz death camp, has launched a digital catalogue of its collection that makes information about its thousands of items available online. See: https://ajcf.pl/archiwum/en/
“The museum — which goes by the Yiddish name for the town — is part of the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation (AJCF) education and religious complex, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NY, which is anchored by the town’s one surviving synagogue and includes the house where Szymon Kluger, the town’s last Jewish resident, lived.
The digital catalogue project took 18 months to complete and entailed surveying and cataloguing 1,378 artifacts, 8,058 photographs, 18,165 documents, 744 multimedia pieces and 4,096 books. more than 100 selected items also include pictures.
The aim of the Oshpitzin museum is to promote knowledge and understanding of the rich and diverse Jewish life that flourished in Oświęcim for centuries, up until the eve of World War II. “
The FHL is open later now (M, F, Sa, from 9am to 6pm; Tu, W, Th, from 9am to 8pm). Perhaps we can consider in-person meetings as well, but we’d have to switch to Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and finish by 8pm.
Our next meeting will be a Round-Table discussion. We would like each of you to talk about a great research experience, travel adventure in pursuit of family or research, family reunion or DNA connections, something we can all enjoy!
Also, please remember to keep your membership active (or start it).
We still need chairs for membership and activities committees, and members in all committees. Please participate!
It’s been suggested that we rotate the program responsibility for each month to different members of the group (or interested parties). You can present the program yourself or work with us to locate a speaker on a topic of your choice of benefit to all (or most). Our next scheduled presentation is in March 2023, so there are lots of opportunities!
We have been unable to obtain a speaker for 20 June, so we’ll have a board meeting instead of a regular meeting. We suggest that you take advantage of the GRIP Evening Programs announced earlier by Banai in email to all members. Also, the talks from RootsTech are still available for free online at https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/.
If you have ideas or are willing to present a talk in July (or any other month), please let a board member know (Kathy, Paula, Josh, Banai, Gary).
The (US) National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is looking for feedback from their catalog users to help them create the Next Generation Catalog. If you sign up they may contact you to optionally participate in focus groups, usability tests and more.
If you are interested in participating than complete the survey at:
“What Can We Learn about Our Ancestors from Jewish Surnames Adopted in the Russian Empire?” will be the topic of a presentation by scholar and author Alexander Beider for the Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, virtual meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois at 2 p.m. CST. Register/RSVP at https://jgsi.org/event-4545169.
Newspapers.com, a member of the Ancestry family of databases, is offering free access to their collection of over 720 million plus pages of publisher extra papers through 21 February 2022 at 11:59 p.m. MT. Registration with name, email and password are required. Newspapers are a way to find birth, marriage, death notices and more about those you are researching. After the promotion access will only be through a paid subscription. Accessing the database after the promotion time period will result in a request for a paid subscription.
Put the name you are searching in the “search keywords, names dates box” and click on search. The results will return those articles with the name/phrase you entered. Click on the photo of the article and it will open. You can clip or save to your computer by clicking on the icon on the upper right clip or print and save. It will appear in yellow highlights. There is also a magnifying glass to help you find the name on the page.