Tag Archives: databases

Database of Polish Victims of the Nazis

There’s an interesting database listing Polish victims of the Nazis, organized by a group of Polish government and non-government organizations, and sponsored mainly by Polish media organizations.

The site is connected to three Polish organizations: the Institute of National Remembrance, the Foundation for Polish-German Reconciliation, and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. It is also sponsored by a number of Polish media organizations, including the Polish Press Agency and several Polish TV stations.
The site, Straty.pl, is unfortunately only available in Polish. Luckily, it’s not too hard to use without knowledge of Polish, especially if you use Google Chrome and the built-in Translate feature. Even without Translate, you can get around the site. This is what the search page looks like:
Straty.pl Search Page
A quick translation of the fields:
Nazwisko (Surname)
Imię (Given name)
Imię ojca (Father’s name)
Imię matki (Mother’s name)
Miejsce urodzenia (Place of birth)
Data urodzenia (Day of birth)
Data śmierci (Day of death)
dzień (day)
miesiąc (month)
rok (year)
SZUKAJ is Search, and CZYSC is Clear.
You can search for a surname alone, but apparently not a town alone. If a surname has too many hits, it will force you to fill in additional search fields to help pare down the umber of results.
Victims listed in the database include Polish soldiers who were killed, prisoners of war, resistance fighters, concentration camp prisoners, those persecuted for reasons of race (aka Jews and Gypsies), those executed by the Nazis, those sentenced to death by German courts, slave laborers, displaced persons, children, civilian casualties (such as from bombing raids), etc.
This list is not exclusively, nor even predominately, Jewish. The site was not set up as a memorial to Jewish victims of the Nazis, but rather as a database of Polish victims of the Nazis, some of which happened to be Jewish. In fact, one looking at the site might wonder if Jewish names in the database are more of an afterthought than a primary section of the database.
There are many sources of data in the database, and each listing will tell you which source they came from, which can help you track down further information. Data sources I’ve noticed include:
International Tracing Service (Bad Arolsen) (http://www.its-arolsen.org/)
Jewish Historical Institute (http://www.jhi.pl/)
Polish Red Cross (http://www.pck.pl/)
State Archive in Krakow (http://www.ank.gov.pl/)
Obviously this database is not complete, and it’s not going to be 100% accurate (and certainly not complete when it comes to Jewish names). It is still useful to supplement the other existing databases out there, and to give you some direction on possible research routes. For example, if you see records from the International Tracing Service, you can contact them to get more information on the person you find.
You can also contribute data to the database, although I have not tried to do this. They have a questionnaire that you can fill out on individuals, listing their name, parents’ names, birth date and location, nationality, religion, place of residence before the war, education, occupation, political organization membership, social activities, etc. This is, unfortunately like the rest of the site, only available in Polish. I’m not sure what would happen if you filled out the form in English.
Of course, when searching for information on Jewish victims of the Nazis, the most important database is the Yad Vashem Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. One important distinction between these databases, beside Straty.pl’s focus on Poles and Yad Vashem’s focus on Jews (with obvious overlap), is that Straty.pl’s database contains victims who are not necessarily people who were killed. Prisoners of camps, etc. even if they were not murdered, are contained in their database.

For example, the database includes two people with the surname Trauring, the couple Ferdynand and Stefania Trauring, who I know to appear on Shindler’s lists. They show up in the Straty.pl database as prisoners of the Gross-Rosen sub-camp in Brunnlitz, which happens to be where prisoners working in Oskar Schindler’s factory were interned. Whether this couple survived the war or not, they are listed in the Straty.pl database as having been prisoners. That’s an important distinction.

The launch of the all new All Israel Database

It’s hard to believe it’s been less than a year since the launch of the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). Launched in January of this year, IGRA has achieved much, including having their website genealogy.org.il being ranked one of the top 40 International Genealogy web sites only 4 months after launching. Last week they reached a new milestone with the launch of their all new search engine for the All Israel Database, IGRA’s collection of 85 (and growing) Israel-related databases. I mentioned these databases about a month ago (when there were under 60 databases), and also mentioned a new search engine was in the works. Today that new search engine has launched:

IGRA’s All Israel Database search engine

The search engine was designed in conjunction with Brooke Schreier Ganz, based on her LeafSeek genealogy search engine. Brooke’s LeefSeek won 2nd place at the 2012 RootsTech Developer Challenge earlier this year, and IGRA worked with Brooke to enhance the engine to include such important features as the ability to search concurrently in both English and Hebrew. The search engine also supports phonetic searching, based on Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching (BMPM), allowing matches to be made to similar-sounding names, regardless of exact spelling.

The new search engine was developed through the hard work of IGRA volunteers, such as IGRA President Garri Regev, Database Coordinator Rose Feldman, Secretary Carol Hoffman, and website team-members Daniel Horowitz and myself, as well as many database volunteers who helped find, scan and transcribe the information in the 85 databases.

You may have seen an earlier version of Brooke’s search engine in use on the Gesher Galicia All Galicia Database, but this new search engine that we’ve designed is capable of searching in both English and Hebrew simultaneously, which is a major breakthrough and of course necessary for our Israel-focused databases.

I hope everyone reading this will stop and take a minute to check out the new All Israel Database and try it out. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask via the contact form on the web site, or in the comments below.