The partnership between the Arolsen Archives and the JDC Archives kicks off with a joint project focusing on the online publication of the so-called Paris emigration card file. This card file contains information about Jewish survivors who emigrated via Paris after 1945 – supported by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

The project concerns the information on around 30,000 emigration documents from the Arolsen Archives, which is now being evaluated by the JDC Archives, the archive of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Up until now, the database of the Arolsen Archives only supported name searches. The aim of the cooperation is to provide online search functionality for all the information on the cards in future. This will make it possible to find out who emigrated to Australia on 9 August 1949 or which countries most of the people came from, for example.

One of 30,000 cards from the Paris emigration card file documents the emigration of Blanka and Laszlo Hermann from Vienna to Australia on 09.08.1949 – 3.1.3.1. / 80197908 / ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

The Emigration Service Cards collection contains cards with information on people who emigrated to various countries of Europe, Africa, America and Asia, or to Australia, in the years that followed the Second World War. Today, these documents are proving to be extremely useful sources of information for people involved in clarifying the fates of individual victims of persecution as well as for genealogists and family researchers.

Christian Groh

“This project is one of a number of projects which are designed to make the holdings of the Arolsen Archives more accessible by working in partnership with relevant institutions. This is not only a mark of openness towards users, but also towards the original donors of the documents, archives, memorials and, in this case, interest groups as well.”

Christian Groh, Head of Archives
Cooperation is to be continued

The seeds of the partnership were sown at the international conference on “Tracing and Documenting Victims of Nazi Persecution” held in October 2018 in Bad Arolsen, where Linda G. Levi, Director of Global Archives at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, gave a lecture on the early activities of tracing services. Informal discussions afterwards led to the launch of the joint project by the two institutions. “This just goes to show how important international networking is,” said Giora Zwilling, Head of the Archival Description Department. The digital processing of the Paris emigration card file is a pilot project. Further projects are currently in the planning stage.

The Arolsen Archives and the JDC Archives

The archive of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee holds organizational records and historical documents relating to the humanitarian work of the AJDC in over 90 countries. This makes the archive one of the most important collections on modern Jewish history. Founded in 1914, the original function of the relief organization was to provide support to Jewish victims of the First World War. After Hitler came into power, the JDC became the central point of contact for providing financial support to German Jews and for coordinating their emigration from Germany. In 1948, the Arolsen Archives, originally founded under the name International Tracing Service, took over the original documents from the European emigration offices of the AJDC. These also included the documents from the central office of the organization in Paris. More than 70 years on, the organizations are now working together to make the documents available to the public.