Background information on the creation of the Database of Prisoners at Auschwitz
The biographical information of 17,525 persons currently recorded in the database of Austrians deported to Auschwitz (hereinafter: database of prisoners at Auschwitz) is based on the data of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) contained in the database “list of names of the Austrian victims of National Socialism”. This data is in turn recorded in several other databases: the database of Holocaust victims, the database of victims of political persecution and the database of Sinti and Roma. Since 1992, the DÖW has been working to deliver empirically secured quantifications of persecution and resistance in the years 1938 to 1945. The databases of murdered victims are published and accessible online and have been furnished with photos and documents. They also function as commemorative books that are intended to give the victims their names and, as such, their individual identities back.
The basic data of the DÖW
The DÖW database of Austrian Holocaust victims contains biographical details of around 64,000 people who were murdered in the Shoah. The database “list of names of victims of political persecution” contains the biographical details of approx. 10,000 Austrian victims who perished. Names have been ascertained for approx. 9,500 Austrian victims who belonged to the Roma and Sinti population. Those included in the databases either had Austrian citizenship, were born on the territory of present-day Austria, or had been resident in Austria for a period of ten years prior to 1938.
Information has been integrated into the DÖW databases from numerous Austrian and international archival holdings. The biographical information can be retrieved on a person-by-person basis. Different holdings are of relevance for each victim group. For example, the deportation lists “Jewish transports from Vienna” and the deportation lists for transports departing from the countries that Austrian Jews had fled to have been incorporated into the database “list of names of Holocaust victims”. In addition to these, there were several dozen further holdings from Austrian archives (e.g. the “JOINT card index” of the Jewish Community Vienna, official gazettes with death declarations, the Gestapo card index, files of the Assistance Fund, victims’ welfare files, documents from the Property Transaction Office, etc.) as well as prisoner card indices and admission records and death registers from the ghettos and concentration camps that played a key role in the murder of the Austrian Jews.
The holdings of the political police, the judiciary, the penal system and the concentration camps formed the source basis for the names of the victims of political persecution. Regarding police, it was mainly the daily reports and the identification service card index of the Gestapo’s Vienna State Police Headquarters that were included in the database. In the field of justice and the penal system, the focus lay on the files of the People’s Court and those of the special courts in the districts of the Higher Provincial Courts of Vienna, Linz, Graz and Innsbruck. Additional source holdings from the post-war period that formed an important basis included, for example, the personnel files of the Concentration Camp Association and the holdings of the victims’ welfare authorities in the Austrian provinces. In the case of the concentration camps, in addition to the admission and departure records and the death registers, use was made of the records on the deployment of concentration camp prisoners to perform forced labour.
When recording the names of the Sinti and Roma victims, records of the concentration camps were the main source of information for the DÖW database – above all the Sterbebuch von Auschwitz (“Death Book from Auschwitz”) (Munich 1995) and the Gedenkbuch. Die Sinti und Roma im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau (“Memorial Book. The gypsies at Auschwitz Birkenau” (Munich 1993). In addition to other prisoner databases of the concentration camps, the identification card index and the daily reports of the Gestapo Headquarters Vienna in which Austrian Sinti and Roma were registered were taken into account.
Amendments and additions to the personal details of Austrian inmates at Auschwitz researched at a later date are regularly compared by the National Fund and the DÖW and integrated into the database.
The database of prisoners at Auschwitz contains both personal data of the Austrian inmates who perished and are recorded in the publicly accessible online database of the DÖW, and data on the survivors, providing for the first time a comprehensive overview of the people at Auschwitz who had a connection to Austria. As such, the database contains records on all those who were imprisoned at Auschwitz during the course of their persecution and were either murdered there or survived.
Database structure and search function
The database of prisoners at Auschwitz consists of records with biographical information on individuals or groups regarding their origin, place of residence, deportation to and from Auschwitz and their murder or survival. It contains the following data fields: last name, maiden name, first name, gender, date of birth, place of birth, occupation, place of residence in 1938, last place of residence, fate, arrival date, arrival from, departure date, departure to, date of death, place of death and “memo” (see below).
It should be noted that the DÖW’s basic data has been gathered from numerous sources that can themselves contain discrepancies in spelling, special characters, dates, abbreviations etc. A hierarchy was established for these sources, accorded with the DÖW and adopted for the database of prisoners at Auschwitz. In addition, modern spellings often deviate from those used in this source-based information.
As an aid to research and in order to achieve the most accurate search results possible for the “last place of residence” before deportation, the basic data of the DÖW on the residential address was modified in this data field where an update was deemed helpful. Current place and street names, including special characters, were added in square brackets. Information on the region (district, départment, federal province, etc.), hotels and other places of residence was retained and is entered in round brackets. Where no information can be found on the region or place of stay, the entries were not supplemented. The geographical location of the addresses can be determined by conducting an online address search using the standard search engines and online maps. Where it was not possible to update the address, the data field contains the remark “[historical address]”.
It is possible to search the content of the fields last name, first name, date of birth, occupation, place of residence in 1938 and last place of residence.
Database structure and search function
The content of the data fields listed below differs in how it came into being, as is it mostly taken from different sources.
The special features of the individual data fields are listed below:
NAME: Contains the family name in use at the time of persecution. Deviating spellings are added in round brackets. “Recte/false” and “vel” versions are also listed. In the registers on Jewish names from Galicia, the word “recte” connects the father's surname and the mother's surname if the children were classified as illegitimate. If the order was reversed, the names were connected by “false”. In the case of alias names (unofficial names), the abbreviation “vel” is used. For two entry (“Ko.. Michael, 09.04.1921” and “Wein.. [Weiningen?] Rudolf, 25.07.1939” the family name is not clear. This data uncertainty is indicated with two dots after the known part of the name.
MAIDEN NAME: The maiden names of women are recorded if they are stated in the sources.
FIRST NAME: Contains the first names in use at the time of persecution. Alternative first name spellings are added in round brackets. The compulsory names “Sara” and “Israel” are not recorded, as they were compulsory names stipulated by Nazi laws.
DATE OF BIRTH: The date provided is the one gathered from the most reliable source; fragmentary information is not listed. Alternative dates of birth are added in the “memo” field.
PLACE OF BIRTH: Entry according to source; obvious spelling mistakes were corrected tacitly; a standardisation of spellings was not carried out.
OCCUPATION: An occupation was recorded if indicated in the sources; the information is not necessarily consistent with the actual occupation; in some cases, contingency occupations or forced employment were also indicated. In some cases, the spelling was adapted to the common orthography.
PLACE OF RESIDENCE IN 1938: Where available, the “official place of residence” in 1938 was recorded; the main source for this information is the emigrant card index of the Jewish Community Vienna; but a number of other sources such as victims’ welfare files, the concentration camp association, the Assistance Fund or death declarations etc. were also taken into account. In the case of historical street names, the present names have been added in square brackets where possible.
LAST PLACE OF RESIDENCE: Last known residential address (town, street and house or apartment number); in the case of transports from Vienna, these are often the addresses of the collective apartments, otherwise the address abroad from where the deportation took place. The spelling and order of place names outside of German-speaking territories were checked individually and standardised so that the place and street name can be found using online maps.
SURVIVED: An entry “L” was made for survivors; a “T” for persons whose date and place of death are known as well as for persons with an official declaration of death; the entry “x” for all other persons, although these are also almost exclusively deceased persons.
DATE OF ARRIVAL: Since the sources for the transports can only be dated approximately, this entry usually refers to the departure date of the transport to Auschwitz. The actual date of arrival may have been several days later, depending on its place of origin.
ARRIVAL FROM: Place from where the transport to Auschwitz departed.
DATE OF DEPARTURE: The actual dates of departure for the evacuation transports from Auschwitz are only known in exceptional cases. In most cases, the date stated in this field is the date of arrival at the next camp. This also explains entries containing dates after the liberation of Auschwitz.
DEPARTURE TO: Destination of transfer from Auschwitz.
MEMO: Additional information on the different data on dates of birth gathered from the sources consulted, as well as on the prisoner number and the course of deportation.
Spellings and additions
Here and there, the data provided by the DÖW was amended with regard to the upper and lower case. The common last name affixes (Dutch: de, ten, van, van’t; French: de, de l’, du, de la; Italian: di, del, dello, della, dei, delle, da, dal etc.) as well as the affixes to informal names (unofficial or alias names – e.g. recte/false, vulgo/alias) were generally written in lower case. The abbreviations in the last name and maiden name fields – such as “vh.” for “married” and “vw.” for “widowed” – also follow this logic.
The DÖW database does not use special characters when recording place and street names. Therefore, in order to enable an updated place and street name search in the data field “last place of residence”, they were added in square brackets as described above.
Further sources of information
The database on prisoners at Auschwitz can also be taken as a basis for further research. In order to enable more in-depth investigations a selection of databases and institutions is listed below:
- Documentation Centre of the Austrian Resistance – www.doew.at
Numerous databases (as described above) in part with biographical information.
- Findbuch for Victims of National Socialism by the National Fund of the Republic of Austria – https://www.findbuch.at/home
The Findbuch enables users to search for persons and companies in over 200,000 records from archival holdings on Nazi property seizures and Austrian restitution and compensation measures at cooperating archives. In addition, it is possible to search through over 25,000 pages of digitised historical address books and official calendars and literature.
- Central database of Holocaust victims of the international Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem – https://yvng.yadvashem.org/
Around 4,800,000 of the approximately six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices are memorialised here. The database contains information on Holocaust victims: those who were murdered, many whose fate is still unknown, and some who survived.
- Database for Holocaust Survivors and Victims of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) – https://www.ushmm.org/online/hsv/person_advance_search.php
A comprehensive database on victims and survivors persecuted by the Nazi regime during the Second World War (covering numerous victim groups).
- Arolsen Archives. International Center on Nazi Persecution – https://arolsen-archives.org/en/
Founded as the International Tracing Services of the Red Cross, the Arolsen Archives constitute one of the largest collections of information sources on Holocaust victims and survivors. The collection contains information on over 17.5 million people.
- Auschwitz prisoners – http://auschwitz.org/en/museum/auschwitz-prisoners/
In addition to bibliographical information on prisoners in Auschwitz, there are descriptions of the holdings from which the information on each individual was gathered.
Further databases on individuals can be found on the websites of the following memorial sites:
- Sammellager Malines/Mechelen (https://www.kazernedossin.eu/EN/)
- Westerbork collective camp (https://kampwesterbork.nl/en/)
- Collection camp Drancy (https://ressources.memorialdelashoah.org/)
- Theresienstadt Ghetto (https://www.pamatnik-terezin.cz/database)
- Mauthausen concentration camp memorial (https://www.mauthausen-memorial.org/en)
- Website on victims from the territory of today’s Czech Republic and other European countries (https://www.holocaust.cz/en/main-2/).
Informational content and biographical research
In addition to biographical research on individuals, it is also possible to retrieve information from the database on prisoners at Auschwitz by making group-related queries on places of residence and deportation histories. This means it is possible to conduct searches on individual places, streets or houses or to trace the deportation routes to Auschwitz. When researching individuals, users can also create short biographies. The other sources of information described in the previous section, the further literature and life history records can be used to underpin the research.
The possibilities for conducting research in the database on prisoners at Auschwitz are briefly presented below taking as an example the three Auschwitz survivors, Ella Lingens, Ceija Stojka and Walter Fantl-Brumlik, who are also included in volume 6 of the series Erinnerungen – Lebensgeschichten von Opfern des Nationalsozialismus (“Lives Remembered - Life Stories of Victims of National Socialism”) (published by the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, Vienna 2021):
For the medical student Ella Lingens (née Reiner, born 18.1.1908 in Vienna), several pieces of personal information can be gleaned from the database. Her last place of residence was Piaristengasse 54 in the 8th District of Vienna. On 20.2.1943, following her detention by the Gestapo in Vienna, she was brought to Auschwitz before being transferred to Dachau concentration camp on 2.12.1944, where she survived to witness the liberation. In addition to her own publication Als Ärztin in Auschwitz und Dachau and the Erinnerungen (volume 6), further information can be found, for example, by using the DÖW’s victim search or in the article on Gerechte unter den Völkern (“Righteous among the Nations”) available on the Yad Vashem website.
Ceija Stojka (Margarete Horvath-Stojka) was born on 23.5.1933 in Kraubath an der Mur in Styria. She was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in 1943, together with her mother Maria “Sidi” (née Rigo), her sister Mitzi and her brothers Karl (born 20.4.1931), Johann “Mongo” (born 20.5.1929) and Josef “Ossi” (born 1935). Ceija Stojka survived Auschwitz-Birkenau, Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen. She described her life in 1988 in her autobiography Wir leben im Verborgenen. Erinnerungen einer Rom-Zigeunerin (“We live in seclusion. The memories of a Romni”) and in Erinnerungen (volume 6). In Reisende auf dieser Welt. Aus dem Leben einer Rom-Zigeunerin (“Travellers on this world”) (1992) she tells of life after her liberation and her relationship to music. In 2005 in Träume ich, dass ich lebe? Befreit aus Bergen-Belsen (“I dream that I am alive – liberated from Bergen-Belsen”) (2005), she describes her last months at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Walter Fantl-Brumlik (born 6.3.1924 in Bischofstetten) and his father Arthur, mother Hilda (née Tichler) and sister Gertrude had to live in a collective apartment in a so-called Judenhaus situated in Große Mohrengasse 38 in the 2nd District of Vienna before being deported from Vienna to Theresienstadt. He and his father were transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 28 September 1944, where he had to perform slave labour as a locksmith in a subcamp. They were joined at Auschwitz by his mother and sister on 9.10.1944. His three closest family members, father, mother and sister, were murdered there. Walter Fantl-Brumlik survived a death march and was liberated by the Red Army at the Blechhammer concentration camp. His story is told in the book Überleben: Der Gürtel des Walter Fantl (“Survival. Walter Fantl’s Belt”) (2018) and in Erinnerungen (volume 6).
A personal query creating a short biography, as demonstrated by the three examples above, can be made for many other persons appearing in the database. This serves to keep the memory of these people alive.