Czech-Slovak Interest Group of Eastside Genealogical Society: Meeting Reports - 8 February 2020

Czech-Slovak Interest Group
Meeting Report for
8 February 2020

Group Chairs: Jo Herber and Norb Ziegler

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Our meeting location this time was at Kirkland Fire Station 26, a very nice facility.

We welcomed Jim M to the group. Jim's family was from Presov, Slovakia, via Wilkes-Barre PA and Roslyn WA. He has done quite a bit on his family history and has traveled to Slovakia.

Carol S has completed stories for three of her four grandparents. She has found a number of websites to be quite helpful and recommends the following: -- an American website that allows the public to search and add to an online database of cemetery records. It is owned by It receives and uploads digital photographs of headstones from burial sites, taken by unpaid volunteers at cemeteries. Find a Grave then posts the photo on its website.

GoogleEarthPro -- a 3D interactive globe that can be used to aid planning, analysis and decision making. -- the largest online newspaper archive consisting of 567 million+ pages of historical newspapers from 16,300+ newspapers from around the United States and beyond. - on this site you can read books and magazines, download them, cite them, and translate them. Some books are provided by publishers, while others are scanned as part of the Library Project.

Barb J added another resource:, an online catalog of books and their location. If a local library doesn't have the book, it can be requested through an inter-library loan.

JoAnn P presented her research into World War II Roma concentration camps. Following is a brief summary of her talk.
  • The term "Roma" is preferable to "Gypsy", since the latter term is considered pejorative.
  • Roma ancestors emigrated from northern India as early as the 9th & 10th centuries, gradually moving west over the next millennium.
  • In the 18th century, Roma were fairly well integrated into life in Austria/Hungary.
  • After WWI, Roma were the 2nd largest minority in Czechoslovakia, but were not granted citizenship.
  • In the 1930s, German laws were enacted against Roma, requiring them to register and restricting their movements.
  • During the war, Nazis labeled a number of groups as enemies of the state because of their differences from "racially pure" Germans; among these groups were Jews, Roma, Blacks, homosexuals, mentally or physically handicapped.
  • Many Roma were transferred to Labor or Concentration camps from almost all countries in Europe. Labor camp inmates were mainly male and were subject to forced labor, but had some freedom. Concentration camp inmates were whole families who were subjected to forced labor, medical experimentation and extermination.
  • Roma prisoners in German concentration camps such as Auschwitz were forced to wear the brown inverted triangle on their prison uniforms so they could be distinguished from other inmates.
  • Three main detention camps for Roma were established in Czechoslovakia: Lety, Hodonin and Dubnica. All these camps were initially labor camps, but later became concentration camps. Many Roma were subsequently deported to Auschwitz.
  • Many of these camps were demolished after the end of the war; little retribution for commanders and guards of the camps.
  • The Roma word for Holocaust is "devouring".
  • Estimates of the number of Roma killed in the Holocaust ranges from 220,000 to 12.5 million, almost a quarter of all Roma in Europe.
  • Currently, an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 Roma live in Czech Republic and Slovakia, many lacking full citizenship and living in abject poverty.
  • A notable Roma singer is the late Vera Bila, known as the Ella Fitzgerald of Romani music.

Mike M suggested that those interested in finding out more about the Holocaust should visit the Seattle Holocaust Center for Humanity in Belltown.

Barb J will present the program at the next meeting. The topic will be "Interpreting DNA Results and Concerns with DNA Research." If you have had a DNA test, bring the results to the meeting. If you have questions about DNA research, send them as a reply to this message before the next meeting and they will be passed on to Barb to discuss at the meeting.

NEXT MEETING: Saturday, April 4 at 9:30 am. We will meet at our usual location, Fire Station 22 in Kirkland, 6602 - 108th Avenue NE.

Here are driving directions:
Directions: From the SOUTH, COMING ON HWY 405: TAKE EXIT 17. Be in the left lane so you can turn left at the light onto 116th Ave. NE. Proceed to the next light. Turn left at the light to cross over the freeway. Continue on this road (which becomes NE 72nd), past one traffic light and downhill to 108th Ave. NE. Turn left, proceed half a block, and Fire Station #22 is on the left-hand side. Park on the side or in the back.

From the NORTH, COMING ON HWY 405: TAKE EXIT 17. Be in the left- hand lane to turn left at the stoplight onto NE 72nd. Proceed down the hill to the next stoplight which is 108th Ave. NE. Turn left, proceed about half a block, Fire Station #22 is on the left-hand side. Park on the side or in the back.

Jo Herber

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