Tracing Survivors & Victims

Tracing Holocaust Survivors and Victims

The following is a brief guide to help you research and search Holocaust survivors/victims and to acquaint you with the resources available in the Holocaust Memorial Center Library Archive. For specific questions, please check with the reference librarian on duty or call 248-553-2834 to make an appointment for individual guidance.

Preliminary Searching

Check the name of the person whom you are searching and the name of the town where the person originated. Locate the city on a map and note surrounding towns and area. Learn what happened to the city during the war and identify the governing bodies or occupying forces. If possible, ask relatives or persons who would know where the survivor/victim went and what happened. Get as much information as possible, including the European spelling of the person’s name, age, address and names of relatives.

Forms available at:
The ITS is a social service agency and will contact other social service agencies in other countries.

Online form:
Request paper forms by calling 866.912.4385 or 202.488.6130 or the Resource Center 202-488-6112. The USHMM will also check their archive as well as their scanned copy of the International Tracing Service records.

Check website for names, locations, registers, and current research by topic and location. Pay special attention to the InfoFiles, Holocaust Database, Family Finder and Special Interest Groups.

AVOTAYNU: (Jewish Genealogy Magazine)
Current and all back issues available in HMC Library, 1985- to present.  Search the website for very useful, up to date, articles in your area of research.  Contact Avotaynu office for subscription to online keyword searching 475-202-6575 or  For up-to-date news, subscribe to Avotaynu Nu? What’s New?

In-Depth Searching

Contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Survivor Resource Center at 1-202-488-6112 or 1-202-488-6130.

Check American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee files at Photographs and text searching also available.

Check Miriam Weiner’s Routes to Roots website to identify Jewish archival records in Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Moldova.

Check USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education online catalog of survivor who gave their oral history at .  Also searchable by relatives, subject and place name.

Check Memorial Books for the town(s) where the person originated and numerous registers. The HMC has a very extensive collection. Our website has a list of the memorial book cities.

If the person was imprisoned in a concentration or slave labor camp, write directly to the address or find out where the records are currently being kept.

Check Yad Vashem,, for
Dape Ed – Pages of Testimony, where persons have registered names of people who died in the Holocaust.  Click ‘Search the Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.’
Archival lists – Under “New on website” click ‘Shoah Victims’ Database’.
Archival records – Hire a researcher to check their extensive archival and photographic files

Check displaced persons camps records and periodicals which appeared at the time. HMC has microfilm copies.

To locate persons who may have gone to Israel, Mrs. Batya Unterschatz-Landsman conducts research for a fee.  Email is Address is 91 Derech Hazeitim, Moshav Beit Zeit, Israel 90815.  Fax 0972-2-5346573.  Be aware that the person’s last name may have been changed to a Hebrew version of a European name.

Write to Landsmanschaften societies. Place an ad in their newsletters or ask the head of the society to speak with members regarding the person(s) in whom you are interested.

Place an ad in TOGETHER, published semi-annually by the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors by emailing This magazine has a ‘Searches’ column and they accept notices for publication.

Place ad with Serena Woolrich, President of Allgenerations, Inc., administers list serve of survivors and children.  The notice will reach the survivor community quickly and efficiently.

Place an ad in Generations of the Shoah International Newsletter ( Email: