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Jewish Victims in the District of Nienburg

For six days, amateur historian Gerd-Jürgen Gross did research at the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, searching through the central name index. The respected volunteers of “Against Forgetting – For the Democracy of the Regional Group of Hanover” are working on research of Jewish persecution victims in Nienburg/Weiser. “On 27 January, 2013,” said Gross, “we want to publish a book of memories; by that time will have collected more for our project from the ITS mosaic.”

Three years ago, the 69-year-old began searching for names of Jewish citizens in the civil records of the district of Nienburg. He also researched online the Memorial Book of the Federal Archives of the victims of Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany (1933-1945). His interest in this volunteer research was triggered by a personal experience that took place at the Grunwald train station in Berlin. “When my wife and I were there waiting for a train, we saw the string of metal plates that documented the deportation trains to concentration camps.” There, Gross saw the date 31 October, 1942, which is his birth date. “I thought, how frightening to be born in Berlin on the same day that others were being sent to their death,” said the amateur researcher. “I asked myself if the person on this transit could have also had the same birthday. Through his research, Gross came across Fanny Kirschbaum. “I was very shocked,”recalls Gross. “I have researched her life, and have come up against a block for more information about her and her brother.

”The first 1,001 people were deported from Hanover to the Riga ghetto on 15 December, 1941. Until 1944, there were seven more transports from the ghettoes to concentration camps in Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, and Warsaw. Gross explains, “Until now, for the district of Nienburg, there are no collected records of the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. In addition to the names of the victims, we want to add the information about the transports, that means, who was in which deportation train.” While doing his research, the pensioner, Gross, has relied on the information on the name cards. “I will examine the original documents at a later time.” Overall, through his work in the last few years, Gross has investigated over 300 names in the ITS database. “By studying the lives of the victims, I can add information about the persecutions. In some cases, I even came across completely new information,” said the amateur researcher excitedly.