This year, the Day of Remembrance of the victims of the Shoah, Yom HaShoah, falls on the 8th of April. As before, at the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, the names of all French Jewish victims will be read aloud. The abomination that is human brutality when expressed as genocide is chilling and, it seems, will not go away any time soon.
All that any of us can do in the face of evil is good. There are times when we think that the search for our ancestors, and our need to find them and remember them, springs from not only obsessive research, but from a deep feeling of sympathy with and for those who are gone and cannot ever again speak for themselves. To be sure, genealogy is not charity but perhaps thoughts of kindness for the dead do lead to acts of kindness for the living.
One of the most important websites dedicated to the preservation of the culture and memory of France's Jewish people is the site du Judaïsme d'Alsace et de Lorraine. It began as a website only, and not as the Internet presence of an association (though it now has such an association of supporters) in 1998 and very quickly grew to be the centrepiece of research and historic preservation of the Jewish people of Alsace and Lorraine. Founded by Michel Rothé, one of the co-authors of the seminal book "The Synagogues of Alsace and Their History", the site is dense with information.
- Scholarly articles on many aspects of the communities and their history
- Memorials of those from the region who died in the Holocaust
- Much about the local customs, traditions, cookery and clothing of the Jewish communities of the region
- Oral histories
- Biographies of the well-known
- a section on genealogy, including a beginner's guide and two discussions of marriage contracts, along with notices placed by people seeking genealogical data and/or connections
It is a very well constructed site and could well lead you to some research success. For those of you who may have photographs, postcards, or any documents relating to the pre-war history of the Jewish communities of Alsace and Lorraine, sharing copies via this site would be of help to all.
©2013 Anne Morddel