Project Coordinator: Michał Majewski
The Holocaust Project is concerned with documents about events that took place in the territory of the former Galicia during the period 1939-1943, particularly those with useful genealogical and historical information. The main sources for the current project are state archive branches in Poland and western Ukraine, and municipal offices in southeastern Poland.
There are important documents also in other archives, libraries, local museums, government ministries, universities and private collections, and not only in Poland and Ukraine. In addition, there are specialist institutions dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust.
From 17 September 1939 to the end of June 1941, the eastern part of Galicia was occupied by Soviet forces, who controlled the territory to the east of the River San, including a small area of present-day Poland in the far south-east. Once they had established a civil administration in their area of control—in most places by early 1940—the Soviet authorities kept their own records of births, marriages and deaths. Very few of these records are known to have survived, though more may become available if they are still kept, at present inaccessibly, in Polish civil registration offices.
From late June onwards, in the eastern part of Galicia, and from September 1939 in the western part, vital records were ordered to be kept by the Jewish community.
Municipal records, spanning all or much of the period 1919-1945, exist for many Galician towns. In present-day Poland, such record sets may sometimes be found in state archive branches—such as Fond 15 in the Nowy Sącz State Archive, with municipal records from the town of Nowy Sącz—or stored in municipal offices, such as the one in Tarnów. The records in these files from 1939-1944 are likely to much material, such as on forced labor, relating to Jewish residents during the Holocaust period.
Testimonies of death
Testimonies contributed by survivors form an important, if sometimes inaccurate, source of information about the Holocaust. Oral and written testimonies of the Holocaust are kept by specialist institutions, such as Yad Vashem and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and by many other institutions worldwide. A particular form of testimony, recording the memories of Holocaust survivors, are the yizkor (memorial) books.
One extensive file relating to the former Galicia can be found in the Rzeszów State Archive. The file contains almost 800 testimonies of death, provided shortly after the end of the war in 1945 by Jewish survivors—about family members, neighbors, and friends from the Dębica area who had perished.
Questionnaires of medical staff
There are also questionnaires that medical staff throughout Galicia were forced to complete. Often including photos, these four-page forms provide details about the person and their family members, and where the person had studied and practiced. The Holocaust Project has indexed over 100 such questionnaires held in the Przemyśl state archive, and a small number held at AGAD in Warsaw. Yad Vashem in Jerusalem holds a large set of these questionnaires.
The current Holocaust Project
In 2020, the Holocaust project is continuing to work on records from the Stanisławów Ghetto. The Ukrainian State Archive of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast (DAIFO) has a large set of records from the Ghetto from 1942-1943. They include Fond P-57, Series 1, File 104—a card index of those registered for an obligatory insurance scheme for employees and their families. In the Polish State Archive in Przemyśl, Fond 154_50, subfiles 3-18 contain further valuable information from the same period, including a partial index of the ghetto residents, household index cards ordered by street name and house number, a register of sick people in the ghetto, and a short set of food ration cards. The project is indexing this material, attempting to link the various sets of records from the two archives.
For further information on the Stanisławów Ghetto and Gesher Galicia’s project to index the ghetto records, see the article by Michał Majewski in the December 2018 issue of the Galitzianer, “The Stanisławów Holocaust Project: bringing back lost names.” See also the Stanisławów Street map, 1941 in the Gesher Galicia Map Room.
Click here for an inventory of all Holocaust-period records Gesher Galicia has indexed and made available on the All Galicia Database.
The table includes include several vital record sets, which also appear in the inventory of vital records indexed by Gesher Galicia. The numbers of records shown from each record set relate only to records from the period of the Holocaust, which is taken—for the purposes of the table—to have started in Galicia in 1940. The complete files in which these records appear often contain many further records from earlier years.
The basic indexes are made available on the freely searchable All Galicia Database. In addition, all completed spreadsheets of indexes, along with images of the original records, are made accessible to Gesher Galicia members through the Members Portal on the website. Donations towards this project, though, of whatever size, will be greatly appreciated.
Support for the project
Support for the Holocaust Project, as for other Gesher Galicia projects, is always much appreciated. Any donations by credit card or PayPal may be made online at the Gesher Galicia website, by clicking here.
Donations by check should be in US dollars, made payable to Gesher Galicia, Inc. and mailed to:
Charlie Katz, Treasurer
40 W72 St #161C
New York, NY 10023, USA