Friday, November 13, 2009

Footnote: Details of the Holocaust Collection

Thank-you to Justin Schroepfer for providing valuable information about the National Archives (US) Holocaust Collection available at
"Originally, we planned to have these records open to the public for only the month of October. However, due to the popularity of this collection, we have decided to keep the records open free to the public through the rest of this year. This will enable more people to search and explore the original records from the National Archives. On January 1, 2010 these records will become part of the paid subscription on These records, however, will remain free to access through any of the National Archives physical locations. [...] The url for the microsite where these records can be accessed is: ."
Ol' Myrt here did a little research and discovered that the collection includes:
  • Ardelia Hall Collection -- intelligence reports, interrogation reports, captured documents, and general information regarding Nazi looting.
  • War Crimes Collection -- The documents are transcripts, in German, of trial testimony, clemency petitions, affidavits, prosecution exhibits, photographs of concentration camps, etc., as well as original German documents used as evidence in the prosecution of the numerous war crimes cases.
  • Captured German Records -- The majority of this collection consists of concentration camp records, including releases, transfers and deaths lists. There are daily reports of changes, as well as some administrative material from the camps.
  • Dachau Concentration Camp Entry Registers -- The first Nazi camp created for political prisoners, Jews, and other so-called undesirables. Records feature information including prisoner names and number, birth date, birth place, etc.
  • Flossenburg Concentration Camp Entry Registers -- Original records from the camp for political prisoners, criminals, and “asocial” individuals.
  • Mauthausen Death Books -- Lists of those held at what some consider the most physically brutal concentration camp of the Nazi regime.
  • WWII Nuremburg Interrogation Records -- Pre-trial interrogation transcripts as well as summaries and other pertinent records for nearly 200 individuals who were questioned by the Interrogation Division.

Note there is a caveat above the search box on the Holocaust Collection that reads "We are continuing to add records to our search database. If you didn’t find what you were looking for, come back soon and check again." Anxious to make individual records available as soon as possible, Footnote has decided to put indexes and images up on the website as soon as they are available, even if the collection isn't yet complete. (Wonderful!)

For example: Click to search an individual collection, the Dachau Entry Registers. The researcher is presented with a page containing more details about the registers themselves, in addition to the search box for that collection. There are also two useful options to keep you informed about the completeness of the collection, circled in the screen shot below:

Close review indicates that this morning the collection includes 573 pages and is estimated to be 57% complete, as shown below:

By clicking the "WATCH" button, a researcher may add the collection to his personal "watch list" and receive email when images or member discoveries are added to this specific collection. One may also "UNWATCH" the collection when research is complete.
Ol' Myrt here wouldn't advise "UNWATCHING" a particular collection, though you may be inclined to do so once you've located a document concerning your ancestor. Quite simply, you want to know when other researchers contribute to the collection.
That other researcher may be a here-to-fore unknown distant cousin. That other researcher may elect to attach a picture of the ancestor or the scanned image of a unique document handed down through his family. Most likely, additional information the other researcher has to share will prove valuable to your understanding of the common ancestor. Why not let the computers keep track of all this, so you don't have to go back and check each collection individually every few days?
This "WATCH" service is free, and is a win-win for researchers and alike. You stay on top of newly added content for the databases you are interested in reviewing, and has a legitimate reason to invite you back to their website.
As part of the digitization agreement with Footnote and other websites, the National Archives maintains free access to these digital images and indexes at all National Archives branches for researchers who wish to visit those locations in person. However, most of us find access through our home computers to membership sites, such as, a much better use of our research dollars. In my case, savings earned will go in the "travel kitty" so I can visit in person those places on the globe where my ancestors once lived but records are still buried in dusty government or church archives. In this day and age, any way to save money is well appreciated.

If you have any questions about the Holocaust Collection at, contact

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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