Steve Morse and Peter Landé have just created a One-Step search application for the 160,000 people who were at Dachau Concentration Camp. Unlike many of Steve Morse other tools in which the search is done in the data stored on a different website, these records are on his site. The One-Step is in the Holocaust and Eastern Europe section. http://www.stevemorse.org
Thank-you for letting me know about the Dachau Concentration Camp Records database.
When I traveled to Germany, France & Austria in 1995 for genealogy research, I visited Dachau with a good librarian friend, Diane. Of this heart-wrenching experience, I wrote:
"Although we have no known ancestors who were forced to Dachau, Diane & I felt it necessary to visit out of respect for the lives impacted by such terrible places during the Holocaust. The first of many concentration camps, Dachau (1933-1945) was unusual in that it held intellectuals, vagabonds and others who were considered a threat to the Nazi regime, not just people of Jewish faith.
Walking down "camp road" between the remaining foundations of bunk houses, the utter silence was deafening as it hit me each 2-inch stone placed within a bunkhouse foundation represents for me the life of a prisoner. (I remember Schindler's list, and the tradition of placing a stone on a tombstone.)
Each step I took drew me closer to the crematorium. I could not help but be reduced to tears by the contrast with my easy life in the late 20th century United States. Standing in the showers, with benefit of clothing and open doors, brought an unbelievable feeling of helpless despair at man's inhumanity to man. The triteness of that phrase was quickly replaced by the shock of the full-size photographs of people and shoes heaped in 5 foot piles like last week's trash, as the taken by the American liberators to show the townspeople what they had allowed to develop in their village. How these neighbors could ignore the particulate in the smoke from the ovens, I'll never know.
There are still ashes in the ovens."
From the Introduction to Dachau, Steve explains: "The extent of records for concentration camps varies widely, with the most extensive files available for camps located in Germany (Buchenwald, Dachau, Flossenbürg, Neuengamme, Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen), France (Natzweiler), the Czech Republic (Theresienstadt) and Austria (Mauthausen), with partial records for such Polish camps as Stutthof, Auschwitz, Gross Rosen and Majdanek. Some of these records are available on the web thanks to the efforts of Jewishgen, but access to most remains restricted to major museums or memorial sites at camp locations. As noted above, there are virtually no records for the death camps such as Sobibor and Chelmno and extermination sites in Lithuania and the former Soviet Union.
The purpose of making this Dachau collection available was to illustrate the vast diversity of persons who became victims of the Nazi system. Dachau was the oldest concentration camp (see below) but it was chosen less for its historical interest than because its records are available without restriction, having been located at the United States National Archives and Records Administration and the United States Holocaust Museum. [...]
This database was initially developed by Jewishgen volunteers and then edited and revised by Peter Landé. Volunteers were working with the often poor legibility of Dachau records. An effort has been made to correct some of the errors which crept in, and this database will continue to be revised and supplemented periodically as this effort continues."
Here's how to use the Dachau Database:
1. Go to: http://www.stevemorse.org/dachau/dachau.html
2. Type in some part of identifying information on one's ancestor.
3. Review this hit list for the most likely entry.
4. Click to view details, such as:
LAST NAME: RENNERT
FIRST NAME: Gustav
BIRTH DATE: Mar 11, 1888
BIRTH PLACE: Bressen
RESIDENCE (town): Kölnhausen
RESIDENCE (street): Brachstr. 12
Research need not end here. Steve Morse recommends contacting his co-creator Peter Landé at firstname.lastname@example.org, who will search other databases, if available, to supplement or correct what appears in the Dachau Database.
FOR FURTHER READING
- Virtual Dachau Tour (English) NOTE: I am surprised at how wide the street appears between the bunkhouses. Just figure that about 200,000+ people passed through the gates, some to be transferred, many to die -- only 30,000 liberated in 1945.
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© 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.