Bernard Brilling is widely considered the greatest 20th century German-Jewish genealogist. Brilling was a rabbi, archivist and, genealogist. Before World War II he fled to Palestine and lost much of the material he had collected. However, he did not lose his interest in German-Jewish genealogy and he continued to collect material. After the war, he returned to Germany and lived in Münster/Westfalen until his death in 1987.
Brilling's collection of German-Jewish material grew to massive dimensions, 1,300 boxes totalling 140 meters of files, and is currently housed in the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt am Main. After his return to Germany, Brilling devoted considerable efforts to collecting material on former Jewish communities in Westphalia. One part of his research was devoted to determining what happened to Westphalian Jews during the Holocaust. In 1962, he wrote to the administrations of dozens of small and large Westphalian towns/cities, asking for the names of all Jews resident in each town from 1933 to 1942 and what happened to them. He received detailed replies from over 60 communities (see list below).
About the Database:
This database contains information extracted from the replies given to Brilling from the various communities. It contains information on over 8,000 names. There was no uniform format for the information supplied by individual localities and as such, the information listed for individuals varies. When it is available, the following information is listed:
- Family name, Maiden name, Given name(s)
- Birth date
- Marital status (rarely provided)
- Place of residence (i.e. name of locality which submitted the information)
- Date and destination for emigration
- Death date (usually only for person who died before deportation)
- Date and place to which person moved within Germany
*The notes field is limited to "suicide" or "survived." "Survived" is only noted when the individual apparently had not emigrated to a safe country (e.g. the U.S.), since it is assumed that all persons who reached such countries survived. On the other hand, the fate of persons who emigrated to countries which were later occupied by Germany, and, even more, those who went to other cities within Germany, is less certain and, therefore, if their survival was documented, this is noted. (In most cases where a person had left Westphalia, the towns there had no further information on their fate).
Inclusions, Omissions, and Changes:
A word of explanation as to what information was included and omitted. Wherever information as to date, place of birth, etc. was given, it was included. Where it does not appear, it is because the information was not provided. The only changes made to information relate to names of cities/countries. German city names were left as they appeared, but other city and country names such as Neu York or Indien were translated into English. For the sake of historical accuracy and consistency, Israel and Palestine were both entered as Palestine. Certain data, such as profession and street address were omitted.
Where to go for More Information:
It is recommended that anyone interested in an individual consult the actual town/city document itself to determine whether additional information was provided. The original documents are held in the archives of the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt. However, interested persons should request any documents from the Survivors Registry at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. or from the archives of the Leo Baeck Institute in New York City. Additional information on persons born or resident in Lippe and western Westphalia may be available from the Nordrhein-Westfaelisches Personenstandsarchiv Westfalen-Lippe, Willi-Hofmann Strasse 2, 32756 Detmold, Germany.
List of Towns:
|Neuenkirchen b. Rheine
|Werne a.d. Lippe