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How Do I Search for Someone?

The internet offers numerous possibilities for researching people persecuted by the Nazi regime. But where is the best possible place to start my search?

Frederik Jan Fikke, called Freddy, born on May 24, 1925, in Amsterdam, died on April 9, 1945, in the Lengenfeld subcamp of Flossenbürg concentration camp (personal property)

1. Databases

Information about concentration camp prisoners can be found in various online databases. The following websites also allow private individuals to conduct research:

Online Archive of the Arolsen Archives
The Arolsen Archives, with more than 30 million documents, is the most extensive archive on victims of Nazi persecution. The collection, with documents on around 17.5 million people, has been part of the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register since 2013. Its contents also include all the remaining original documents from the concentration camps. A large portion of the documents are already available online.
Arolsen Archives

Memorial Archives
The Memorial Archives is the digital research platform of the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp Memorial. The database brings together biographical information and documents on each inmate and makes it possible to reconstruct imprisonment histories. As part of the “open archives", basic personal data can also be viewed without registration.
Memorial Archives

Database of Holocaust Survivor and Victim Names
In the database of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), aside from searching for Jewish prisoners, one can also search for prisoners from other persecuted groups. Approximately 60 percent of the contents of the museum’s database is accessible online.
Database of Holocaust Survivor and Victim Names

The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names
The database of the Israeli memorial site Yad Vashem contains the same information as the USHMM database. Users can submit “Pages of Testimony” to help complete the database.
The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names

JewishGen's Holocaust Database
Meta-searches of 190 specialized databases, enabling access to more than 3.79 million entries.
JewishGen's Holocaust Database

2. Research Tools

Those who search in the databases of people persecuted by the Nazi regime may come across documents from concentration camps—including personal effects cards, registry office cards, or prisoner registration forms. It requires background knowledge to understand these documents. The following resources can help with interpretation:

The e-Guide to the Arolsen-Archives
The e-Guide uses examples to explain what are known as “individual documents,” meaning the prisoner registration forms and registry office cards that were filled out for each individual prisoner in the concentration camps. Documents about displaced persons and forced labor are also explained here.

Additional Resources to the e-Guide
Helpful research materials, including a glossary of abbreviations for camp documents, overviews of prisoner symbols, and categories of imprisonment, as well as a prisoner number register.
Additional Resources

Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations found in the Archive of the International Tracing Service (ITS)
A list of abbreviations that can be found in concentration camp documents.
Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

Transports to Extinction: Holocaust (Shoah) Deportation Database
A database about the deportation of Jews to the concentration camps. The tool makes it possible to trace the transport routes in detail. It is also possible to search for the people on the transports.
Transports to Extinction

EHRI Portal
A directory of all archives holding Holocaust-related materials, including holdings descriptions and help for searches.
EHRI Portal

3. Reference Works

Many prisoners were transferred to subcamps that remain largely unknown today. Information about these subcamps can be found in two reference works:

Wolfgang Benz and Barbara Distel (eds.), Der Ort des Terrors: Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager, 9 Volumes, Munich 2005–2009
These nine volumes in German, titled Site of Terror. History of Nazi Concentration Camps, present a chronological timeline of all concentration camps and their respective subcamps, meaning individual camps can easily be looked up during research.

Geoffrey P. Megargee (ed.), The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, 4 volumes, Bloomington 2009–2018
The planned seven volumes of this encyclopedia aim to present the entirety of the Nazi Socialist camp system. Due to its lexical character, camps can be looked up individually. Volumes 1 to 3 can be downloaded free of charge.
Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos