Friday, November 16, 2007

Forensic Genealogy

Lucy Mangan on last night's TV | Media | The Guardian:
"Thursday November 15 2007
Baddiel and the Missing Nazi Billions (BBC1) was a rare example of a successful spin-off programme. In the first series of Who Do You Think You Are? David Baddiel traced his maternal grandparents' story from Kristallnacht in Konisgburg, via his grandfather Ernst's internment in a penal camp, to their lives and deaths in Britain, the country to which they sailed in 1939 with their new baby, Baddiel's mother, hidden in a luggage rack.

They had been wealthy industrialists in their homeland, but had to relinquish their factories and money to the Nazis before they fled. Ernst ended his days here as a hotel porter in Oxford. In last night's documentary, Baddiel examined the question of restitution for his family and the thousands of other European Jews who lost everything to the people whose hatred for everything Jewish miraculously did not extend to their property.

Baddiel's grandparents themselves eventually received £700 in the 1960s as compensation for all that they had lost. They used it to furnish their daughter's flat. Baddiel is initially ambivalent about the idea of restitution for Holocaust victims, conscious of and concerned by its potential to fuel antisemitic prejudice. 'This voice inside me says that 'They' will say - 'See, the Jews - always trying to get money.'"

"Why care what antisemites think?" was his interviewer's response, and this became the central question for the rest of the documentary. Baddiel brought his substantial intelligence and honesty to bear on it.

He met Julius Fromm, whose family got their final slice of compensation - which altogether equalled about 10% of the stolen property's worth - in 2005. Frank Bright, who survived Auschwitz but whose parents did not, has spent years pursuing companies who owed him money from their life-insurance policies. He has the money now - or some of it - but is still hammering away at unyielding corporate doors because he wants the documents his parents signed, too. What he wants really, of course, is his parents, and it was perhaps at this point that Baddiel began to hear the call for symbolic justice above the antisemitic babble inside his head. , , , , , "

I missed this program even thoughI had marked it as a must see in my copy of the Radio Times .

This is of course FORENSIC GENEALOGY sometimes also referred to as Heir or Probate, Genealogy

more - - "FORENSIC GENEALOGY" - Google Search

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Forensic Genealogy:
"Serious genealogists usually conduct scholarly research.

After all, we use the same materials the scholars use, and many of us were trained by scholars. It is only natural that we would use the same techniques that scholars use to examine old documents, transcribed lists, and other sources.

However, author Colleen Fitzpatrick suggests that scholarly methodology alone is not enough. She suggests that we should also use the methods of detectives, crime scene investigators, geneticists, criminologists, and FBI laboratory technicians. Dr. Fitzpatrick shows how to further your genealogy investigations by using a mix of the methods used by Sherlock Holmes and by CSI: Miami. . . .

Another chapter in this book is devoted to DNA analysis in a manner I have not seen before. Colleen shows how to calculate a DNA network and how to generate Maximum Parsimony trees from a Reduced Median network."

"Forensic Genealogy" sells for $26.50 plus shipping. You can order it directly from the author's web site:


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