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Morts en Déportation / Deaths During Deportation

Written in French by Eve Line Blum
Translated by Rosanne Leeson

· Background
· Database
· Acknowledgements
· Searching the Database

Background

This list contains the names of 7,346 French female deportees for whom requests for "Certificates of Disappearance" were made by surviving family members.

Beginning in 1945, when it became evident that a number of deportees had "disappeared", the families were told to file "Certificates of Disappearance".  Those filings were followed by a Final Decree of Death which took the place of death certificates.  The Final Decrees served to prove the disappearance of the heads of family and enabled the families to receive the compensation necessary for their survival.

This list contains requests for "Certificates of Disappearance" made by surviving family members on behalf of those that were lost during the French Deportations.  Since only surviving family members were interested in requesting the certificates, this list is in no way a complete listing of those that perished.  For those families that were without survivors, no certificates were requested.

Without more exact information, it was arbitrarily decided that the place of death would be that of the Internment camp where the future deportees had been detained (Drancy, Pithiviers, etc.)  It was also decided that the date of death indicated would be that of the departure of the convoy.  Numerous Final Decrees were issued in that manner.  It was obviously a distortion of history, since the records marked "Died in Drancy" or "Died in Pithiviers" that one always finds today on certain death certificates, absolutely do not reflect the truth.  The majority of French deportees died in Nazi camps situated in foreign countries, notably in Poland (Auschwitz).

Some people were upset by this situation, and a law was promulgated on 15 May 1985 (40 years after the war) intending to rectify this nonsense.

The first Article of that law stipulates: "The reference "Morts en déportation" is to be entered on the death certificate of all persons of French nationality, or residing in France or a territory previously placed under the sovereignty of France, the protectorate or the guardianship of France, who having been the object of a transfer in a prison relating to Article L.272 of the Code of Military Disability Pensions and of War Victims, has died there.  The same information is to be placed on the death certificate if the person had succumbed during the transport."

Article 3 states precisely: "When it is established that a person has been part of a deportation convoy without any news of them after the date of departure of that convoy their death is presumed to have occurred the fifth day following that date, at the place of destination of the convoy."

Finally, Article 4 indicates the terms and conditions of these amendments: "The death certificates of the persons mentioned in Article 1, even if they result from a Final Judgment of death, are amended under the conditions foreseen in Articles 5 and 6 by decision of the Minister in charge of Veterans when they indicate a place or date of death other than those which follow from the provisions of Article 3."

It is necessary to state that that law affects the total number of deportees, whatever the reason for their deportation (racial, resistance, hostages, etc.)  To date, more than 20 years after the promulgation of the law, these modifications to the death certificates have not ended.  But, it is even more serious.

In effect, if one goes back to the figures indicated on the web site of the "Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation" (not to be confused with the "Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah) one counts:

  • 85,000 deportees listed for reason of repression of the fight against occupying forces, because resistance or political opposition, hostages or victims of reprisals (figures from research in 1999) of whom 40% have not returned, in effect about 34,000 persons not returned.

  • 76,000 deportees (of whom 11,000 were children) for reason of the anti-Semitic persecutions and in the framework of putting into work the "final solution of the Jewish question" in Europe, of whom 97% have not returned, as it were about 74,000 persons not returned.

In total, the number of persons who have not returned would be therefore approximately 108,000.

The decrees published to this date (2006) in the "Journal Officiel", since 1986, within the guidelines of the law #85-528 of 15 May 1985, and which gives an alphabetic list of the persons concerned, with their date and place of birth (and further the date and place of death) concerns only about half of the deportees who have not returned from the Nazi camps.

These figures are very disquieting.  In effect, this law pertains only to those deportees who have been the object of a Final Decree of Death.  With the result that when the family has not taken the necessary steps to obtain that civil act, for one reason or another, and notably when it is been totally exterminated, there has not been a death certificate, and these deportees are therefore excluded from that law.

Moreover, the editing of these lists was done contrary to common sense.  For example, the Jewish deportees of Convoy #73, which left Drancy on the 15 May 1944, had been sent to the Baltic countries.  One part of the convoy remained in Kaunas (Lithuania), the other part went to Reval (today Tallinn, Estonia), and no one knows today who died in Lithuania, and who died in Estonia (with only a few exceptions).  Without caring at all about the French spelling, the lists concerning these deportees indicate sometimes "died in Kaunas (Lithuania), died in Reval (Revel) Estonia, died in Kaunas/Reval (Lithuania/Estonia)", etc.  At times the dates are wrong.  Sometimes the name of a deportee is shown in a convoy in which he/she did not travel.  Sometimes still, the family has taken the necessary steps, but the correction has not been published in the "Journal Officiel".  However, one finds some lists devoted to the correction of errors in these corrected acts.

That law specifies besides, in Article 5, that these corrections must be shown on the death certificates.  That concerns above all individuals born in France, because it is very easy to contact the Mairies (Town Halls) involved.  Now, in very many cases the corrections have never been transferred.  Consequently, in the eyes of the French law, the deportees who have disappeared without a death certificate ARE NOT DEAD, much less in deportation.  One finds further very few children among these corrected death certificates, although we know that 11,000 deported Jewish children have all disappeared.

This is true for the Jewish deportees, but equally for the other victims of deportation.  Moreover, certain Jews were arrested and deported not only because they were Jews, but for acts of resistance, as hostages, etc.

It is necessary to specify that the errors in these lists are legion!  First of all, a great many death certificates have not been corrected as the law had made obligatory.  One often finds, for example, the mention of "died in Auschwitz (Germany)".

One finds errors in the dates (example: a deportee is said to have "died in 1913") and of places (certain deportees had died on a date and in a place corresponding to a certain convoy, when in fact they were deported to another place, on another date, by another convoy, as one can verify in the "Memorial..." of S. Klarsfeld).  Some "deportees" (male) according to the decree disseminated by the Minister of Defense, have become "deportees" (female) because their first name, which was foreign, had been badly interpreted.

Finally, it is necessary to know that these death certificates, and their corrections, are very rarely transmitted to the concerned Mairies (Town Halls where they were born, and Town Hall of place of last residence), so that the references are not copied in the margins of the civil registers, as the law makes obligatory.

Many on these lists were not Jews.  Among the males, for example, one finds many from Spain, who had fled over the Pyrenees into southern France at the end of the Spanish Civil War, when Franco won.  The French, not knowing exactly what to do with such an influx placed them in camps in the southwest of France.  The fall of France to Nazi Germany, and the arrival of Nazis in the area, saw them interned under the worst of conditions in the Concentration Camps there, where they perished by the hundreds.  Many were from Turkey, Greece, Algeria, Tunisia, China, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, U.S, UK, and many other places besides France itself.

To further complicate matters, names of places of birth have been so badly mangled in many cases that it has been impossible to correctly identify them.  In such cases we have entered the notations either, "Several towns of this name.", "Impossible to identify further from data given.", or a simple "?", if unable to identify at all.

Database

This first set of records for this collection includes 7,346 female deportees.  The list of male deportees is in progress and will be added as data entry progresses.  The fields for this database are as follows:

  • Gender
  • Surname
  • Maiden Name
  • Given / Name
  • Birth - Country
  • Birth - Department (French District)
  • Birth - City
  • Modern Name Birth - City/Country
  • Birth - Date
  • Death - Country
  • Death - City
  • Death - Date
  • Comments
  • Original Data in French

Acknowledgments

The information contained in this database was indexed from the publication, "Journal Officiel of France", from the years 1986-2006, by Eve Line Blum, Daniel Carouge and Patrick Cheylan, who have graciously given us their permission to place it on JewishGen.  This database was created by Rosanne Leeson and Pierre Hahn, JewishGen FrenchSIG Co-Coordinators.

In addition, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible.  Special thanks to Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy.  Particular thanks to Nolan Altman, coordinator of Holocaust files.

Nolan Altman
Coordinator - Holocaust Database
January 2010


Searching the Database

This database is searchable via JewishGen's Holocaust Database.


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