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What if there are no records for a student in stages 2, 3, or 4?
May 7, 2008, 03:52:02 pm
Even if you cannot easily find wartime records for a person (beyond their name and birth date in the Lodz Ghetto Database), you may find valuable information in post-liberation records like the World Jewish Congress database and Pinkas Ha Nitzolim. And sometimes these records provide clues that allow you to work backwards to trace a student's story.
Bajla Epsztajn appears in a World Jewish Congress list of survivors as "Bela Epsztajn." She is recorded as having been liberated at a camp called Salzwedel. A review of secondary sources reveals that Salzwadel was a sub-camp of Neuengamme where a small number of Lodz ghetto women were sent from Bergen-Belsen and forced to work in an ammunition factory called Polte.
This provides enough information for the museum to look for Bajla (Bela) Epsztajn in documents recording prisoner transfers between Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Neuengamme (most likely between September and November 1944), as well as Neuengamme prisoner registration records.
Finally, I was able to use this information to find a 1995 USC Shoah Visual History Foundation interview with Bella Tiefenbach (aka, Bajla Epsztajn) that filled in the details of her story.