Saturday, October 30, 2010

Memory Book Of A Young Jewish Girl In Hungary 1937-1941 (Provenance)

1. I found the book in a Jewish district of Budapest, during the city-wide collection day of things cleared from attics and basements and taken out to the streets to be picked up by the city, late 2008.

2. I left the book with a friend of mine, a professor of law at English and Hungarian Universities, who arranged with me to leave it with Mult es Jovo, a well known publisher of Jewish related books in Budapest. We thought they would like to publish a facsimile of the book, and that they were well situated to find a trace of the family of Magda Adler, the girl whose book it was.

3. In early 2009, the professor's assistant retrieved the book from the publishing company which, though they would have liked to publish a facsimile, were having financial difficulties.

4. The assistant sent the book to me UPS, with customs declaration as a manuscript notebook. It passed through Hungarian customs with no problem.

5. When I received the book, I took it over to the Simon Wiesenthal Center here in Los Angeles. I left it with the head librarian, who said she would look for a donor. I asked her also, while she had the book, to use the resources of the center to look for Magda Adler's family.

6. I put scans of most of the book's pages on the photography site flickr.com. Using genealogical sites, I contacted everyone I could find who had a Magda Alder in their family history, and referred them to the flickr.com site to see if they recognized any of the fifty or so names of people who had made entries in the book. I also telephoned the few living Magda Adlers I found listed in telephone directories.

7. I asked the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. to use their resources to look for Magda Adler and her family. They referred me to the Yad Vashem archive in Jerusalem and to the Shoah project here in Los Angeles.

8. The Shoah project found several mentions of Magda Adler in their recorded interviews, but none matched the required age range and place. The Yad Vashem archive in Jerusalem, searching their Shoah Victims database and their ITS (International Tracing Service) database at Arolsen found several Magda Adlers who had entered concentration camps, and one record, an entry questionnaire to the Dachau camp, fit all the requirements, and had a signature at the bottom that closely resembled the signature on the first page of the Memory Book.