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Digitization brings Holocaust-era records online

Wolf and Moses Arm were Polish citizens when they sailed to the United States as displaced persons aboard the SS Marine Perch in August of 1946.

Wolf was 16. Moses was 6.

There weren’t any adults with that surname on that ship.

Arolsen Archives

Amalie Marx was list on the passenger manifest with the citizenship of “stateless” when she sailed aboard the SS Marine Flasher as a displaced person in May of 1946.

No-one else aboard that ship shared her name either.

Victims of the Holocaust whose stories were in danger of being lost or forgotten.

Victims whose stories are now recorded in digital form for all of us to learn.

These are records that will break your heart.

But they are records that are oh so important to preserve and for families to use.

And they are coming online now, under a partnership between the Arolsen Archives and Ancestry, free for all of us to use.

Two of the Arolsen Archives collections are now available on Ancestry and are accessible globally to the public — with or without an Ancestry subscription — through the portal at on a permanent basis:

Africa, Asia & Europe Passenger Lists of Displaced Persons (1946-1971): This collection tracks people relocated by the war as they journeyed to rebuild their lives. It includes displaced persons leaving Germany and other European ports and airports between 1946-1971. The majority of the immigrants listed in this collection are displaced persons – Holocaust survivors, former concentration camp inmates and forced laborers, as well as refugees from Central and Eastern European countries and certain non-European countries. This collection includes 1.7 million records and 300K images.

Europe, Registration of Foreigners & German Individuals Persecuted (1939-1947): Registers of those living in Germany and German occupied territories with non-German citizenship, stateless persons and also German Jews. This collection is not restricted to people who were incarcerated in camps or other locations. These documents may also include information on those who died, including burial information. This collection includes 9.97 million records and 900K images.1

Digitized by Ancestry, copies of these records will also be donated to Arolsen Archives and to the 11-nation International Commission of digital copy holders of the archives including Yad Vashem in Israel and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., to post on their website as well.

The Arolsen Archives is the new name of the International Tracing Service or ITS — “an international center on Nazi persecution with the world’s most comprehensive archive on the victims and survivors of National Socialism. The collection has information on about 17.5 million people and belongs to the UNESCO’s Memory of the World. It contains documents on the various victim groups targeted by the Nazi regime and is an important source of knowledge for society today.”2

And with this new digitization effort, the documents are more and more accessible.

So we can know more about people like Moses, and Wolf, and Amalie. Who lived.

And about all those millions of people who didn’t.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Ancestry and Arolsen,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 1 Aug 2019).


  1. See “Ancestry® Unveils Two Unique Holocaust Record Collections, Making Them Searchable Online for the First Time Ever,” Ancestry Blog, posted 31 July 2019 ( : accessed 31 July 2019).
  2. About the Arolsen Archives: About Us: Who We Are,” Arolsen Archives, International Center on Nazi Persecution ( : accessed 31 July 2019).
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