Survivor’s Son

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I went to a very moving service at my synagogue for Holocaust
Remembrance Day. It made me realize I have a trove of family
materials about the Shoah (that I found under my father’s bed after he
died). They’re everything from my parents’ passports to
documentation about the bureaucratic rigmarole the Germans made
even Jews with exit visas to America and South America go through.
No one in my family is into genealogy. What can I do with them?

Survivor’s Son

Dear Survivor’s Son:

You’re so very lucky to have this material. Too many families have no
idea what happened to their relatives, or, if they do, they had to pore
through the horrors of German record keeping of the Shoah to find it.
First of all, make copies of everything, preferably in a pdf form so it is
easy to transmit. Then start googling. You will find everything from the
Holocaust Museums in the US to Yad Vashem in Israel. There are
many university collections devoted to Holocaust studies. Also
individual academic or academic departments that study various
aspects of the 20 th century diaspora as well as the Holocaust per se.


Spend some time determining who seems to address your family’s
history the best. Then email a summary of what you have, with a few
attachments. Ask if there is a way that the collection can be kept
together. See who answers. You may also be asked to give an
interview or oral history of what you remember from your parents’

Give copies of the copies to your children and sibs and ask them to do
the same. We owe it to those who perished never to forget.