Finding the Descendants of the Jews of Greifenberg

To enlist support for the project, and show the authorities in Gryfice how many people around the world are descended from the former Jewish community, I set about seeking out the descendants of Jews who had lived in Greifenberg. The first step was to find the names of Jews who had lived there in the past. I used various sources:

  • I have over 30 cousins of various distances who are descended from Salomon Leiser, and live in the UK, the USA, Israel and France
  • Gerhard Salinger’s book “Zur Errinerung Und Zum Gedenken Die Einstigen Jüdischen Gemeinden Pommerns” (“In memory of the former Jewish communities of Pomerania”) contains a section on Greifenberg, and various list of names from the town
  • Das Gedenkbuch des Bundesarchivs für die Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Judenverfolgung in Deutschland (1933-1945) lists victims of the Holocaust, and can be searched by town of birth, residence before the war or residence at the time of the war. While it only lists people who were killed, these names can be useful in finding surviving members of the same family
  • The Yad Vashem organisation in Jerusalem maintain an online database of victims of the holocaust. Details of victims are added by surviving family members and friends by completing Pages of Testimony. As well as allowing us to find Jews who were born or lived in Greifenberg, the Pages of Testimony tell us the names of survivors whom we can search for and make contact with
  • The Family Tree of the Jewish People, hosted at jewishgen.org, contains details of the ancestors of modern day Jewish family history researchers, and can be searched by location of births, marriages and deaths.

Finding former Jewish residents of Greifenberg is only the first step. There is then an arduous task of trying to locate living relatives and contacting them to ask for their support. It could take a few days just to follow forward descendants of one resident, and there was no guarantee that there would be living descendants or that living descendants could actually be located.