Treasure Chest Thursday: Jewish Ancestry?

Susan Soyinka has written a remarkable book on her search for the survivors of her mother’s family who fled Nazi Germany. A Silence that Speaks: A Family story through and beyond the Holocaust describes her 18-year search for those members of her mother’s extended family who were now scattered around the world.

Ref: Refugees flee as war between Germany and Czechoslovakia appears to be inevitable, 1938, Sir George Grey Special Collections
For someone who is searching for their ancestors, dispersed through war and tragedy, particularly with Czech Jewish ancestry,  Susan’s book is a goldmine with its sources of information and step by step descriptions of her search.

When she gives you her sources, Susan will say how this information was useful to her and with whom she spoke. For example: Czech District and Regional Archives. Research was carried out for me in the Uherske Hradiste and Vsetin District Archives, and in the Moravian Regional Archives in Brno by Martin Kocarik and his wife Sarka Kocarikova. Martin and Sarka work for a private company whose details are available at the Czech Family Tree.

One of Susan’s appendices is a Note on Czech Jewish genealogy, where she explains the network of archives the Czech Republic holds and the different Jewish records held. She has helpfully included a table showing the names of towns and cities in the Czech Republic, with their spelling now, and then, and the German form used during the Habsburg Empire.

Following her own search, the chapter in her book The Nazi machine in Austria contains different sub chapters with one headed Forms and standard letters used during Aryanisation, which explains, as an example, what a Request for approval of sale was. She also lists the Offices, departments and organisations involved in or dealing with Jewish matters, such as,  ‘the Office for the calculation of surcharges, who were charged with the task of working out the fee for the “dejewification” process’.

This book is a family history and a biography,  giving an insight into the workings of the Nazi regime in Austria which may help other historians struggling to piece together their own Jewish story.

For more helpful information on finding your Jewish ancestors, search the Auckland Libraries catalogue by the call number 1 GEN REL JEW for more resources held in the family history collection.



This entry was posted on Thursday, 18 July 2013 and is filed under ,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

Leave a Reply

Kia ora! Please leave your comment below.