Some applicants have been denied the pension on the basis of insufficient evidence. It should be noted that while the Polish Office of Veterans and Victims of Oppression does a fairly thorough search, they limit themselves to resources available in Poland. Consequently, it is possible to unearth evidence that they have not found. Please find some resources below that are worth exploring to find records of an applicant’s Holocaust experiences.
Request for Information on a Victim from the Holocaust Period
After making a request, Yad Vashem will search their archives and send documentation of persecution if available. It has been reported that relevant documents, including a concentration camp certificate of incarceration, were sent within a short time.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)
Registry of Survivors Research Request
The USHMM will will search for documents in the records of the International Tracing Service and other digitized collections of the Museum free of charge to survivors, their families, and families of victims.
Free limited research
In addition to Yad Vashem and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, we can provide free limited research services to try to uncover evidence. This includes: looking for references through yizkor books in English, Hebrew and Yiddish; utilizing search engines in English, German, Hebrew and Polish; and contacting online archival and genealogical resources. We cannot guarantee results, and we will let you know either way if we are able to find anything. In order to initiate the research, please contact us using this online form.
Yizkor books are compilations of recorded memories of a town. (The Hebrew “yizkor” means “May He [G-d] remember.” They were written years after the war by the town’s inhabitants. Often, they contain detailed personal accounts with specific names of individuals and dates of incidents that occurred during the war, and thus can be valuable sources of information for establishing that someone applying for the Polish pension lived in the town, was confined to its ghetto or was taken away to a camp. Many yizkor books have been translated into English from their original Yiddish or Hebrew, and are available on the Internet on sites such as JewishGen.org. The New York Public Library also has an extensive collection of yizkor books, although they are in original Hebrew or Yiddish. The best place to start is by doing an Internet search for your town’s name with the additional search term, “yizkor book.”
JewishGen’s Holocaust Database is a collection of databases containing information about Holocaust victims and survivors. It contains more than 2.7 million entries. You will need to log in in order to view the entries in the databases. Please contact us for a free JewishGen ID and password.
International Tracing Service
The International Tracing Service (ITS) is an archive and a center for documenting National Socialist persecution and the liberated survivors. There are more than 30 million documents in the ITS archives. While research inquiries to Yad Vashem or the US Holocaust Memorial Museum will also tap into ITS archives, contacting ITS directly will provide the fullest access to its resources.