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Aufbau Database

From September 1, 1944 through September 27, 1946, the German-language newspaper Aufbau, published in New York City, printed numerous lists of Jewish Holocaust survivors located in Europe, as well as a few lists of victims.

These lists, which include 33,557 names, were computerized and proofread by staff and volunteers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. from 1997 to 1999, utilizing the following fields:

  • ID #: This is solely an internal USHMM finding aid, and does not appear in Aufbau.
  • Surname: Family Name
  • Given Name: Forename(s)
  • Maiden surname
  • Pre-war city/country of residence
  • Post-war city/country of residence (often a displaced person camp)
  • Source: Title of article in Aufbau, and date it appeared, with page number.

The survivors originated from all parts of Central and Eastern Europe.  At the end of the war most were gathered in displaced persons camps, including camps, such as Bergen Belsen and Dachau, which were once concentration camps.  Other survivors returned to the countries from which they originated.  A few lucky ones were admitted quickly to England, Sweden, Australia and the United States.  Persons are listed in each of these categories.

The extent of the information available on any individual varies widely, but in most cases only a few of the fields contain information.  Some of the information contained in the Aufbau lists were not computerized.   These include local addresses in Europe and the names and locations of persons outside Europe with whom survivors were seeking to make contact.  This information can easily be located in the original Aufbau material, since the date of publication is always included.

Complete information on any individual was very rare.  In most cases only names and postwar location was listed.  Data was entered as it appeared in Aufbau; i.e., no attempts were made to correct apparent typographical errors.  Names often appear more than once: e.g., when an individual moved from camp to camp or the spelling of a name was slightly changed.

The data include information taken from lists which appeared between late 1944 and early 1947.   Almost all the persons listed were at that time located in Europe, though a few were in transit camps in the United States or other countries, e.g. survivors in the Philippines.

The lists published in Aufbau were prepared by many different organizations, often by Jewish relief organizations or by officials in displaced persons’ camps.  The vast majority of these lists are survivors.  The only victims' lists give the names of persons who perished in the Shanghai ghetto.

Aufbau is still publishing, and its office is located at 2121 Broadway, New York City, NY 10023.

Nationality is rarely given in this material.  Judging by place of birth and prewar residence, the principal nationalities included are German, Austrian and Polish.  However, virtually every European nationality is included to some degree.  Here are some statistics on the pre- and post-war country of residence listed for persons in the database.  Note that many times this field is blank, and that some records have more than country listed.

      Pre-war Country:          Post-war Country:
      Austria           24      Algeria           164
      Belgium          268      Austria         5,452
      China          1,436      Belgium         1,204
      Czechoslovakia    49      Canada             14
      Denmark          479      China              85
      France           489      Czechoslovakia    927
      Germany          794      Egypt             209
      Hungary          364      France            270
      Philipines        41      Germany        13,252
      Switzerland      315      Italy             218
      NONE LISTED   29,686      Luxemburg          28
                                Netherlands       322
                                Palestine         120
                                Philipines         23
                                Poland            645
                                Sweden            479
                                Switzerland     2,370
                                NONE LISTED     8,576

It should be stressed that this database is a finding aid, not a complete presentation of the information available in the original source.  Researchers interested in particular names should be prepared to go back to the Aufbau material itself.  In some cases, date and/or year of birth was listed in Aufbau.  Researchers should consult the original list to see if this information is available.  Similarly, where the title of the list says something like "suchen" or "gesucht", ("seeking" or "sought"), this refers to efforts by survivors to reach relatives/friends in the United States or elsewhere.  These names were not computerized for this database, but might well be a valuable family link.

Of course, this is not the end of a search.  If the researcher finds a possible new relative in this list he/she should consult other sources of information to obtain further information.  In this connection, the Yad Vashem archives' filmed collection of International Red Cross records through the mid-1950s is the best publicly available source of information as to where survivors went in the decade after World War II.

Microfilmed copies of Aufbau are available in many major libraries, and specific locations can be determined by a librarian through the OCLC system.  At the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the Aufbau microfilms can be found in the library.  There are no microfilm call numbers for Aufbau at USHMM.  Vistors to the USHMM can ask for the Microform material, this collection is housed alphabetically by name of publication.

Peter W. Landé
June, 2001

This database is searchable via JewishGen's Holocaust Database, and the JewishGen Germany Database.

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Last Update: 19 Oct 2004   MT
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