Welcome!

Welcome to my Polish blog! My Polish great grandpa was orphaned during the Chicago flu epidemic of 1918 & spent his life looking for all of his siblings. Some family stayed in Chicago & some returned to Poland. Some family was Catholic, & some are believed to be Jewish. I post the things I learn in efforts it may help someone else in their research. I also hope this blog helps me connect with others that know about the people I'm learning about. Digital images of records or links are put inside most postings so you can view records full screen. I encourage comments. Feel free to sign the guestbook, stating who you're looking for. Maybe we can all help each other out this way, because there are many challenges with Polish research. I hope you enjoy learning with me. And I hope to be taught more about my Polish heritage.
I have added a few languages to this blog through Google translate. I hope that it may be accurate enough with the communication of ideas.
Thanks! -Julie

Witam! (Polish translation of Welcome)

Witam w moim polskim blogu! Mój pradziadek został osierocony w czasie epidemii grypy w 1918 roku i spędził wiele lat poszukując swojego rodzeństwa. Część rodziny pozostała w Chicago a część wróciła do Polski. Część rodziny była katolikami a część, jak przypuszczam, wyznania mojżeszowego. Piszę w moim blogu o rzeczach które odkrywam i o których dowiaduję się mając nadzieję, że pomogą one wszystkim zainteresowanym w ich własnych poszukiwaniach. Wierzę, że ten blog pomoże mi w skontaktowaniu się z ludźmi którzy wiedzą coś na temat osób ktorych poszukuję. Zdjęcia cyfrowe lub linki umieszczone są w większości moich komentarzy i artykułów, można więc otworzyć je na cały ekran. Gorąco zachęcam do komentarzy. Proszę wpisać się do księgi gości i podać kogo Państwo szukacie. Może będziemy mogli pomóc sobie nawzajem, ponieważ nie jest łatwo znaleźć dane których szukamy. Mam nadzieję, że zainteresuje Państwa odkrywanie ze mną tajemnic przeszłości. Mam rówież nadzieję poznać lepiej moje polskie dziedzictwo.

Dodałam do mojego blogu automatyczne tłumaczenia poprzez Google. Ufam, że będą wystarczające w zrozumieniu o czym jest mowa w artykułach i komentarzach.

Dziękuję! - Julie

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Kliknij na flagę, aby zobaczyć w języku polskim

29 August 2010

Auschwitz-Jewish and Catholic records available on-line

I find it challenging to try to find out if some of my ancestors were Jewish or Catholic. I have read stories about Christian-Jewish marriages. Not easy or popular, but it did happen. I find a record, yet it still doesn't tell me which religion they were. I found surnames like Mazurkiewicz and Wandzels in holocaust databases. Yet these names are also in Catholic parish records. Now I think I know the biggest source of my confusion. My discovery, is that being in a concentration camp didn't necessarily mean they were Jewish. And I don't mean someone who might have been considered a political threat or who protected Jews. I already knew those people were in camps.

I told a friend that I haven't found any Sanetras in holocaust or concentration camp records, but I know these records are just starting to go online. He sent me this link to Auschwitz records. I don't know who these Sanetras are yet. But the name Sanetra is not very common, and they lived near my Sanetras. My first reaction was shock. I was stunned at how many Catholics were in Auschwitz! This list (60 thousand) was about half Catholics and half Jews. I never knew it was like that. When I asked other people if they knew it was this bad, (this many Polish Catholics in addition to Polish Jews were killed), they were stunned like I was. I just had no idea the Poles were targeted this severely!  I asked a Polish friend some questions, and she was surprised we didn't know. So today, I write about what I learned this week, in the hopes we may go learn more history and know this part of our history a little better.

I knew that besides Jewish, there were others in the concentration camps, like: gypsies, Russians, and anyone deemed a political threat. Then I wondered, how was it "justified" on paper if they weren't Jewish? Was everyone not Jewish (in Auschwitz) labeled as a political threat? Were Poles targeted because Poland had been a haven to Jews for hundreds of years? I know we can't really understand the insanity of those who murdered millions of people. I was thinking in terms of record keeping, but even that is beyond what I can comprehend.

Wikipedia states 146,000 non-Jewish Poles  were estimated to have died in Auschwitz. Wiki also quotes:
German Nazi planners had in November 1939 called for "the complete destruction" of all Poles. "All Poles", Heinrich Himmler swore, "will disappear from the world". 
It then went on to say that about 3-4 million Polish would be left in Poland to serve as slaves to the Germans. Nazi planners even wanted to kill people who spoke the Polish language. It also said that all Polish (and other Slavic nations) were deemed "non Aryan" by Nazis. Wiki articles went on to say German planners decided not to target Poles to the same scale as Jews because of timing, and possible complications in the future, such as reckoning with neighboring countries. The footnote source for this information was given as: Gellately, Robert (2001). Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. Oxford University Press. pp. 153–154.

There are now four places I've seen records for Auschwitz, and they're all a little different. The Auschwitz foundation page explains that when Nazi's knew the troops were coming, they started mass destroying records. But multiple records were kept. The Auschwitz Foundation is collecting any record relevant to Auschwitz. They have received other records for other concentration camps in this process. The foundation is working on a way to archive and make those records accessible too.

1) Here is the link I was sent, where I first realized how many Catholics were there too. (Orthodox and Roman Catholic notated). This link is set to the "S" page, for a Sanetra search. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can see the alphabet and go to other surnames. This database is about people who died at Auschwitz, with a death certificate issued by camp doctors.  (free record search)
http://houston.indymedia.org/news/2007/03/56679.php

2)  My friend sent me this link to the Auschwitz foundation page. http://www.auschwitz.org.pl/
The site is available in Polish and English. (free record search) This site lists birth, marriage and death information in "the prisoner search" database. There are informational pages on collections, preservation, restorations, goals and finances. It is a well done site that I highly recommend reading through. There is a page about Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton pledging 15 million dollars on the behalf of the United States and encouraging other countries to do so (last month). Art work done secretly by prisoners is posted on this site. The thing I thought most impressive, is that they stated the reason for doing this was to preserve the concentration camp and records. As proof that it happened, so it can never happen again. I was so impressed reading how extensive the preservation efforts were. I believe that a worldwide interest in preserving history and records is so important and so awesome!

3) Footnote.com has 12 holocaust databases. (subscription paid for records) There are also some amazing historical documents about the camps. Including pictures of a camp Hitler had set up for propaganda. Pictures were staged and taken. Then sent out to show how the Jews were being "cared for". One of the databases are War Crimes Records. Here is my Jan Wandzel image I got from Footnote.com. (click on it, to view full screen).

4) Ancestry.com (subscription site) contains 18 holocaust databases. There are 45 Jewish databases on Ancestry.com. Including these 5 databases for Poland listed as free: Jewish birth, death and marriage collections. The Bedzin Jewish Census of 1939, and Jewish Survivors from the Keilce district 1945. All of the non-United States Jewish databases are listed as free. Ancestry.com's site says this information is all free, in cooperation/partnership with the Jewish Gen site.

If you have relatives that you can't find any family information about, and they were in Poland during WWII, I highly recommend checking these records. No matter the race, age, or ethnicity. Then remember to check back again periodically. These records are just at the beginning of being released online. Right now, records available are counted in the thousands. But millions of people will be accounted for with these records.

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