Friday, June 18, 2010

The Jewish New Synagogue of Harbin, China

You can now view a number of photographs of the Jewish New Synagogue of Harbin, China. It used to be the largest synagogue in Northeast China, but it hasn't be used as such since the Jews left Harbin in the 1950s. Built in 1921, it served as both a synagogue and library and has within the past number of years been renovated. Harbin used to have the largest Jewish population in the Far East.

The Harbin photos can be found at

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Update on the Lodz Ghetto Cemetery Database

More names have been added to the list of those buried in the Jewish Ghetto Cemetery of Lodz, Poland, now totaling more than 3,400 burials. More will be added, but not until 2011. Not only does this list contain the names of the deceased and date and age of death, but also grave location, Hebrew name of the deceased and father and more.

The lists are displayed in two different ways, i.e. by cemetery section and alphabetically. One must also scroll across the screen the see the many columns of information available. You can also see the map of the Jewish Lodz Cemetery here and note the section number that corresponds to the individual sectional lists provided to you.

To select your preferred method of search, go to and use the links provided.

Each webpage contains a photo of the cemetery, cir 1940-1944 that you might not have seen before.

This burial list is part of an upcoming online Museum exhibition entitled "The Jewish Ghetto" which will go online sometime this summer.

More Photos of the Synagogues of Europe

Many more photographs of the synagogues of Europe (now close to six hundred in all), both from sometime before World War II and of the recent past, can now be found within the Museum's exhibition. "Synagogues of Europe..." which arguably has the largest number of synagogue photos from Europe online.

More photographs will be added along the way as time permits. Recent photos added to this collection are of Polish synagogues from Przeymyl, Slupsk, Bydgoszcz, Bielsko Biala, Wlodawa, Lesko, Krakow, Szydlow, Inowroclaw, Pinczow, Kielce, Ostrow Wielkopolski, Gliwice, Wroclaw, Konskie, Lodz, Lublin, Lowicz, Piotrkow Trybunalski, Porozow and Opole.

Also from the Ukraine: Berehove, Uzhhorod, Mukacheve, Vylok; also a synagogue in Sveksna in Lithuania, Budapest and Szeged in Hungary, and Subotica in today's Serbia. You can now also see new webpages created for synagogues in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia and Portugal. The main page for this exhibition can be found at More synagogue photos are always welcome.

An Untapped Genealogical Resource: Pre-War Gravestone Photos from Europe

One of the resources for genealogical discovery not often thought about, I don't think, are old pre-war photographs or films, e.g. where names of Jewish businesses are displayed on various signs, or where there are photographs of pre-war matzevot (gravestones) from Europe are displayed. The latter, of course, is intriguing as many of these matzevot that we can see now online no longer exist, having been destroyed at sometime from then until now.

For instance, in my latest display of Lodz Ghetto Cemetery data I have displayed at least two photos of the cemetery grounds where one can distinguish the names inscribed on at least two matzevot, one for a Sura Goldkrantz and the other for a Rivka Leah Borenstein (Borenstejn perhaps in Polish). The first photo can be found at; the Borenstein gravestone photo can be found above or at There are photos like these that are found on a number of sites, e.g. the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (, not to mention others. It might be a good project--that shouldn't take that long at all--for someone to do a limited search on such sites and find such matzevot photos, and where there are names inscribed that are legible, to make a list of them, i.e. at least the name of the deceased and the town in which the cemetery is located. Then you can post them for all of us to see. Of course, you're welcome to send this list to me and I will make the list available to all online.

Of course there are many matzevot still extant within the many cemeteries of Europe, and many photos have been taken of them and put online. Many, however, are broken, missing or otherwise eroded to the point of being indistiguishable. Surely, though, there are photos online or elsewhere of matzevot that are no longer extant, that can be of genealogical value to those who are researchers of particular surnames or towns.

Just an idea for a project that sounds interesting to me. What do you think?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Master List for Lodz Ghetto Cemetery Now Online

For those of you who are interested in learning about those who are interred within the Lodz Ghetto Cemetery, you can now view the current master list online within the Museum of Family History.

Because of the large size of the database--there are more than 3,400 burials to date--the data had to be spread over four webpages, the burial lists organized alphabetically by the first letter of the deceased's surname.

The fields include:

Plot Location (section and grave number)
Surname (English)
Surname (Hebrew letters)
Given Name (English)
Date of Death (English)
Date of Death (Hebrew)
Age at Death
Hebrew Given Name(s) (English)
Given Name(s) (Hebrew letters)
Father's Name (English)
Father's Name (Hebrew letters)
Other Surnames

You can begin your lookups by visiting .

It is important to note that even though the list is divided among four webpages, it might take a minute or so (or not) to download each page. Also, because of the many fields and columns, you will no doubt have to scroll across the webpage to glean all the information for any particular burial.

There are many more burials in the Lodz Jewish Ghetto Cemetery and hopefully by sometime in 2011, more work will be done by those involved in this project to get more burial data online.