Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Seeking Assistance with a Hyena, a Shipwreck, Woodbine, and Route 66

This year National Volunteer Week runs from April 21 through 27.  The week, observed in Canada and the United States, is designed to honor volunteers and the contributions they make.  I use it to highlight the work that volunteers do within the family history world and projects that can currently use their assistance.  And I know about a few projects right now that would like your help, if you have the information they're looking for.

Judith A. Yates is a criminologist who is writing an all-encompassing book on Irma Grese, the "Hyena of Auschwitz."  She is seeking people to interview who came into contact with Grese, who was employed at:

  • Ravensbruck, July 1942 to March 1943
  • Auschwitz, March 1943 to January 1945 (mostly at Bergen-Belsen)
  • Belsen, March 1945

Yates would also like to interview:

  • people who attended the Belsen trials
  • people who know about Grese's home town, Wrechen (Neubrandenburg County), North Germany
  • people who can discuss the general life of female guards at either camp (behavior, where they lived, how they lived, etc.)
  • people who did not have personal dealings with Grese but knew "of" her personally
  • family members of survivors
  • anyone who can provide information, including photos and documents

You may contact Yates at truecrimebook@yahoo.com.  Her site is http://www.judithayates.com/.

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Descendants of victims from an Australian shipwreck are being sought to share their stories.

The SS Nemesis disappeared in 1904 on its way from Newcastle, New South Wales to Melbourne, Victoria.  Thirty-two crew members were on board the ship, and they left behind more than 40 children.

The ship's wreckage was found in 2022 and confirmed to be the Nemesis this year.  After the first call for descendants, twenty grandchildren and great-grandchildren, from almost every Australian state, came forward, including relatives of the ship's captain.  Heritage NSW is asking more relatives to share their stories so they can be saved and archived.

An article about this story has more details and includes contact information for Heritage NSW.

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Do you remember Route 66?  (I don't, I'm too young!)  Have any great stories?  The National Trust for Historic Preservation wants you to share those stories so they won't be forgotten!

Leading up to Route 66's centennial in 2026, the National Trust is hoping to receive (at least) 2,026 stories to celebrate the famous highway, and it's asking community members, travelers, historians, and everyone else to contribute.  More details and a link to the submission form can be found here, along with many stories and photos that have already been shared.

[I just discovered by reading the Wikipedia page about Route 66 that it was established on November 11, 1926.  Although this was commemorated as Armistice Day, it was not yet a holiday (that didn't happen until 1938).  And November 11 is a special day in my family because it was my mother's birthday.]

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Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D. of New York City is in the planning stages to film a documentary about the Jewish Agricultural Colony of Woodbine, New Jersey.  The filming is likely to happen this summer, but the exact scope and content are still under discussion.  He is looking for descendants and others from the extended Woodbine family who have anecdotal information or memorabilia related to the colony to share that information and/or to participate in the documentary.  You may contact him at diamondesllc@gmail.com.


  1. What a great service to provide to the genealogical community by listing these calls for info.

    1. Thank you! I figure boosting the signal can always help!


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