My passion for genealogy is what led me to volunteer to “key” for the World Archives project in which millions of microfilmed records are being indexed.
A feeling of headiness with my “exceptional” accuracy rating and my German led me to choose to key 1940 – 1941 WWII Nazi records from Kraków, Poland in which Jews applied for permits to remain in the city.
Immersion into this ugly period of history is itself disturbing. It’s difficult for me to imagine a world in which one, by virtue of their faith, had to apply for a permit to keep a few pounds of their personal belongs and live in squalor. Looking at the rejections is even more disturbing. In 1940 Kraków, that must have been terrifying. Seeing the names and addresses of these individuals, I yearn to hear the rest of their stories. Just because there were so many of them, doesn’t mean each one’s not a poignant drama worthy of being told.
What did they do? Where did they go? Did they survive? Do they have relatives looking for their records?
Here’s hoping that one day their subsequent generations will hear their stories.
©Laura Hedgecock 2011