Archives: which documentary collections should be used for research?

A few publications to help you with your research in the archives:

 

  • 1945- Les rescapés juifs d’Auschwitz témoignent, Alexandre Doulut, Sandrine Labeau et Serge Klarsfeld, Éd.FFDJF- Après l’oubli, 2015.
  • Je cherche les traces de ma mère : chroniques des archives, Paris, Éd. Autrement, coll. « Passions complices », 2005, 118 p
  • Guide des recherches dans les archives des spoliations et des restitutions Caroline Piketty, Christophe Dubois, Fabrice Launay, 2002 – Link. in French only

 

The Shoah Memorial archives

The Shoah Memorial museum, in Paris, offers online and on-site access to tens of thousands of documents (photographs, receipts, lists, posters, etc.). It also organizes collections to raise funds, which enable it to increase the resources available each year.

 

Searches can be about a person or for a document.

 

French National Archives

The various collections held by the National Archives at Pierrefitte-sur-Seine provide the opportunity to carry out in-depth research on the deportees. The center offers an online portal, training, research assistance and introductory information for both adults and students. The National Archives also offers theme-based educational workshops, which

 

The method of filing an archive is very different from that of a library. It is therefore imperative to carry out searches in advance using the online catalog and to follow the search help notes. Copies of documents can be sent on request in return for a small fee.

 

Overview of some of the collections with the Archivist, Caroline Piketty.

 

Points to note

      • Certain handwritten documents are sometimes difficult to decipher.
  • The spelling of the deportees’ names is not always accurate, so it is sometimes necessary to try several different spellings in order to find the people concerned.

Link

 

Naturalization records

“These files usually contain all the addresses at which applicants have lived, making it possible to trace their journeys across the whole of Europe,” says archivist Caroline Piketty.

How to access them?

A page on the National Archives website provides access to all the search help sheets.

People who were not naturalized are not listed on the site, but you can ask for help with your search.

Link

 

The Moscow collection

These documents, known as the “fonds de Moscou”, 95% of which come from the Directorate of General Security of the Ministry of the Interior (now the Central Headquarters of the National Police), were seized by the German occupying forces when they arrived in Paris in 1940.

The police compiled extensive files on foreigners and Jews. Specific surveillance files, identity cards and records can therefore be found.

These archives were then transferred to the German Reich, where they were analyzed before falling into the hands of the Red Army following the surrender of the Nazi regime. They were then held in the USSR’s Central Special State Archives in Moscow for more than 50 years, hence the name of the collection. The collapse of the Soviet bloc enabled them to be returned to France between 1994 and 2001.

Link

 

The AJ 38 collection

It is made up of documents from the Commissariat General for Jewish Questions (C.G.Q.J.), which was created by a law dated March 23, 1941, to establish and submit to the Head of State all legislative measures concerning the Jews (dates for the liquidation of Jewish property, appointment of receivers, supervision of their activities etc.). It can be used to find business addresses, for example.

Link

 

French Departmental Archives

Local Town Halls, City Halls and French Departments sometimes hold certain records.

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