Sunday, April 23, 2006

Holocaust Records to be Made Public

(Psychic readings done here... the door is open and beckons to all who dare to enter!)

It's like an earthquake in the world of Polish genealogy. I'm referring to the
Yahoo news article that reports that Germany has finally consented to open and make available to the public their collection of archived Holocaust records created by the Nazis.

I can't think of a group who will benefit more from getting access to this information than those with Polish ancestors... primarily those whose ancestors were Polish Jews. They were the largest group annihilated by the Nazis. Having said that, I know of ancestors on both the maternal and paternal sides of my family who were killed, deported, or made slave laborers by the Nazis and I don't have any Jews on my tree. There will be a great deal of valuable information available for all Polish genealogy researchers once these records are made public. Given that so much of World War II was fought in Poland, and so many of it's citizens were victims of the Nazis' atrocities, it's hard to imagine many families with roots in Poland who will not find pertinent family information in these documents! So this is good news indeed for those of us doing Polish genealogy research.

The down side is that most of what we will learn will be unpleasant. These records hold information that will make us cry, make us grieve, make us think. For many, it will make them remember. And those memories will bring pain. But they will also bring closure. For many of us it will bring peace because there is a certain peace in just getting the answers to questions too long unanswered.

Public access to these records is not exactly a done deal yet, but there is more reason than ever to be optimistic. Let's hope the process from here on out will be speedy!

(One Plymouth store owner sets out biscuits and water for canine visitors.)