2014: At the Feefhs conference in Salt Lake City I was privileged to spend an hour with Dr. Diane Afoumado, PhD, Chief of the ITS (International Tracing Service) Research Branch at the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D, C. https://www.its-arolsen.org/
See previous posts on this resource:
A description of one record is described in the following post:
Dr. Diane had also provided me with several records about an Anna Spurgat/Ona Spurgatiene from Pilviskis, now Pilviskisi, Lithuania. Because the parents of the wife of one the three –at immigrants in the 2010 book lived there and we had visited there in July 2013, I was mildly interested. See
Dr. Diane graciously e-mailed me five records. My curiosity was peaked. Several days later one of her staff members e-mailed me the entire file of 32 documents resulting in 45 pages.
2015: The story of Anna Spurgat/Ona Spurgatiene is complex. By piecing together all the documents that the ITS sent me, I wrote her story from 1941 to 1950.
he International Tracing Service (ITS) has designated the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D. C. as the digital repository of its archives in Bad Arolsen, Germany. ITS provides access to over 50 million reference cards which give information about the fate of 17.5 million people during and following WWII. The Allies established a tracing service for civilian victims of the war and a Central Name Index. The resulting databases not only contain information about Holocaust victims, but also follow-up data after 1945. These supplementary records include information about displaced persons and forced laborers.
The ITS defines “victims” in a broad sense, those who perished and those who survived. “Anyone who was displaced, persecuted, or discriminated against as a result of the racial, religious, ethnic, social, and political policies of the Nazis and their Allies can be considered a victim.”
Anna Spurgat’s story continues:
…Her relationship to one of the three Spurgat families that immigrated to the United States remains unknown.
Her elaborate Displaced Persons file is the result of the circumstances under which this Spurgat family left Pilviskiai, [Pilviskis] Lithuania, in early 1941. It records events from 1941 to 1950 and shows what happened to one Spurgat family from Lithuania as they found themselves first, under German jurisdiction; second, under the Third U. S. Army; then, under the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA); and finally, the International Refugee Organization (IRO)… The status of this Spurgat family as Displaced Persons remained undetermined for five years as the following records illustrate.
Most of the records below are part of the Spurgat Family’s Care and Maintenance File which holds documents related to the family’s request for assistance after the war. It includes forms, testimonies, and processing documents. Information was generally given verbally on prescribed forms. It seems likely that a German or Lithuanian translator was present at the time of the recording. A great deal of paperwork followed Displaced Persons from location to location so some information was repetitious and is not re-recorded here. Sometimes additional information was added to original paperwork so more than one date is written on a document which can aid in determining when another undated document was generated. In other cases there was conflicting information about birthdates or movement from one location to another. The author has analyzed these documents carefully to tell the story correctly. Some records contradict each other….
Information about this Spurgat family is based on the compilation of many records… some type- written documents, some handwritten, most in English, some in German, and others in Lithuanian. In some cases details have been omitted because of illegible handwriting. Many German words have been translated. …
It will not become clear until her transcript of October 6, 1946, suggests the reason why Anna faced the obstacles that she did. On her March 12, 1948, Application for Assistance, her problem is directly stated.
Because I was had researched my –at family in various locations around Wylkowiszki, I had a hand- written 1997 note from microfilmed records from Wirballen/Virbalis, Lithuania, that I thought was probably the birth date of Albert Spurgat with the name of his parents. Another look at the FHL microfilm in Salt Lake in August 2015 reminded me that it was a confirmation record that contained his names, birth date, and name of parents.
Anna Spurgat’s story is supplemented with some historical data, maps, and brief descriptions of various Displaced Persons camps.
At the Feefhs conference in Salt Lake City in 2015 I was again privileged to spend an hour with Dr. Afoumado. https://www.its-arolsen.org/
Because the emphasis of this blog is to assist researchers, Anna Spurgat/One Spurgatiene’s story is not told here, but it could be in the future. It is poignant, disturbing, truthful, and as of this writing unfinished….
Dr. Diane indicated that if I wished to pursue stories of other people named Spurgat in the ITS records, I could do that onsite at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C. with assistance of her staff and volunteers.
I had also written in the October 10, 2015 post:
The additional ITS records of Albert Spurgat and Anna Spurgat/Ona Spurgatiene…will be the subject of a future post.
Future posts will include additional research experience with the International Tracing Service records at the Holocaust Museum.