The Yad Vashem Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project; a short film documenting the work being done to help the Jewish community of L’viv; a new yizkor book project has been started for Skala Podolskaya, Ukraine; a new KehilaLinks page has been created for Sokal, Ukraine; a book titled Jews in Tarnopol has been posted as individual page images; a memory stick was found in the Jewish cemetery in Tarnów on 13 October 2011; the Vienna Library has digitized and put online for free city directories for Vienna, Austria from 1859 to 1942; the Digitized Collection of Jewish Records is a searchable database of about 5,000 digital copies of Jewish vital, communal, organizational, legal, immigration, school, and other records from the area of the former Austrian province of Eastern Galicia; Jewish Records Indexing-Poland has a source to identify all vital records available in repositories in Poland and Ukraine for towns formerly in the Austrian province of Galicia and now in Ukraine; the Jewish Virtual Library has a page that lists all countries in the world with Jews living there; The Talergofsky Alamanac, Volume 1 (published 1924 in Lvov), discusses the “Terror in Galicia” during 1914–1915.
The Center for Jewish History opened officially in October of 2000. It embodies a partnership of five major institutions of Jewish scholarship, history and art: the American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The Center serves the world- wide academic and general communities with combined holdings of approximately 100 million archival documents, a half million books, and thousands of photographs, artifacts, paintings and textiles—the largest repository documenting the Jewish experience outside of Israel.
When my brother and I were growing up in Germany my father would sometimes tell us about his military service. He had been born and raised in Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1913, he was drafted into a Polish-speaking unit of the Austrian Army and, during the first World War, fought on the Italian front. In 1917 he became an Italian prisoner of war along with tens of thousands of his comrades. In late 1918 he was recruited into Haller’s Army as an adjutant and sent first to France for training and then to newly independent Poland to fight against Ukrainians and the Red Army. About a year or two ago, having reached an impasse in tracing my parents’ family lineages, I decided to look into that part of my father’s life and began to research Haller’s Army.
I have recently returned from Warsaw where I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to do some work in the AGAD (Archiwum Glowne Akt Dawnych) and briefly visit the Urzad Stanu Cywilnego, the two archives in Warsaw which keep Galicia birth marriage and death records. I would like to share this experience with you and help you understand what a treasure these records area and how important they are to understanding Jewish history in Galicia. The AGAD archives are housed in a lovely, old (probably rebuilt), small palace very close to Old Square in Warsaw. The rooms are bright and pleasant to work in and the staff, although mainly not fluent in English, is most helpful. The security is strict. One is not allowed to take large bags or materials other than a pencil and notepaper into the reading room.
The Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States consist of a collection of 111 manuscript volumes compiled in Poland in 1926 and delivered to President Calvin to honor the 150th anniversary of the US Declaration of Independence. Richly illustrated with original works by prominent Polish graphic artists, the collection includes the greetings and signatures of national, provincial and local government officials, representatives of religious, social, business, academic, and military institutions, and school children. President Coolidge asked that this collection be transferred to the Library of Congress where it remained “forgotten” for some 70 years. In 1996, during the visit of Polish First Lady Jolanta Kwasniewska and other Polish dignitaries, the collection was serendipitously “rediscovered.”
There is a little-known resource for Galician researchers held in the Lviv State Historical Archive — the “Tabula Krajowa,” or Tabula Registers (Fond 166, 1780-1891). In 1780 the State Registrar Department — established by the Austrian Emperor Joseph II — began documenting the purchase and sale of real estate and land, property leasing, testaments, deeds, money-lending agreements, promissory notes, public sale for debts, etc.. Because Jews were active in commerce — it was one of those areas in which the government allowed them to work — many families had occasion to participate in some kind of business relationship and sign a contract, which often contained names of both the husband and wife represented in the deal as one participant. Other documents, like testaments and public sales for debts, frequently contain information on several generations.
The Slownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów slowianskich (Geographical dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and other Slavic countries) is a 15-volume gazetteer published between 1880 and 1902. The entries in the Slownik cover regions, towns, villages and other settlements in the Kingdom of Poland, also known as Congress Poland; the Baltic, Western and Southern gubernias of the Russian Empire; Western and Eastern Prussia; parts of Hungary and Bukovina; many other areas in Eastern Europe; and — most important to the readers of The Galitzianer — Galicia. As an example of Slownik entries we are publishing the entry on Galicia itself in this issue.
More articles of this type from The Galitzianer will be added soon.