The Nazi Fragebogen zur erstmaligen Meldung der Heilberufe
A few years ago while searching for something on Ebay, I came across a lot of six documents titled Fragebogen zur erstmaligen Meldung der Heilberufe (Questionnaire for the Initial Registration of Medical Professionals).
From the outset, it was obvious that the documents are of unique genealogical importance, so I bought the lot from its seller, a collector based in the UK.
But nothing prepared me for the shock when I opened the envelope containing the originals: against the yellowish background of the documents, excellent snapshots of their submitters stood out while the blue stamp “Jude” surrounded by two stars of David left little doubt as to their subsequent fate.
It was also obvious that from the genealogical point of view, the Fragebogen are one of the most important documents created by the Nazi administration in occupied Poland. Introduced soon after the establishment of the “General Gouvernemant” (the Nazi administration of occupied Poland/GG), the purpose of the document was to prevent Jewish medical professionals from taking care of Polish non-Jewish patients. To this end, it was necessary to establish who is Jewish and thus the questionnaire required that every person involved in a medical profession provides information about his or her grandparents. Whenever four of the grandparents were Jews, the GG officials, in keeping with the Nuremberg laws, declared the submitter as a Jew and stamped the questionnaire with a corresponding stamp. Such a person was only allowed to treat Jewish patients.
The new law must have created great concern not only among the Jewish medical personnel but also among the Polish population, by depriving them of the professionals by whom they were treated hitherto and who did not always have an adequate non-Jewish replacement. While researching the archives of the GG’s Krakow Health Chamber, I came across a petition submitted by the residents of Zawichost, a tiny hamlet near Sandomierz, who hoped to have the restrictions removed.
The gist of the petition, which carried tens of signatures, were as follows:
According to the law of 6 March 1940, Dr. Hugo Weiss, who already lives here for six years, is prohibited from taking care of the Aryan population.
For us, the residents of Zawichost, this represents a major setback.
Dr. Hugo Weiss is an excellent gynecologist who enjoys respect and popularity among us. He is extraordinarily humane and helpful and is even ready to protect our lives free of charge.
Given the above information we would like to request that Dr. Weiss be allowed to treat the Aryan population in our area.
There was no record of an official response in the file which, most probably, indicates that the request was not granted.
Be it as it may, the questionnaires contain a wealth of genealogical information and, in most cases, also a snapshot of the submitter. The persons required to submit the questionnaires were not only doctors but a wide range of medical professionals: dentists, dental technicians, roentgen operators, nurses, midwifes, sanitary personnel, pharmacists, physiotherapists, massagers, etc.
The questionnaire opened with the space for the location of the district and local health authorities according to the submitter’s place of residence and his or her profession, followed by 32 numbered questions of which the first 14 are the most important from the genealogical point of view:
1. Surname and maiden name for married women
2. First name(s)
4. Place of work: a/for self-employed: the place of their clinic; b/for staffers: place of employment such as the name of the hospital, etc.
5. Place of registration as resident
6. Complete date and place of birth
7. Marital status. If married, the maiden name and date of birth of the wife [but no first name]
8. Number of children and their dates of birth [but no names]
10. Nationality on 1 September 1939
11. a/Names, religion and nationality of one’s grandparents; b/ Names, religion and nationality of one’s wife’s grandparents
12. Date and place of final medical examinations
13. Date of earing a medical license
14. Place where the license was obtained
Questions 15-32 refer to rather petty matters concerning employment, army service, etc., although for some researchers they may also be of importance. The questionnaire ends with a place for signature, location and date.
It was probably their extraordinary importance that can explain the tumulus fate of the questionnaires after the war ended. Today the State Archives in Krakow have a microfilm copy (unfortunately not a very good one) of some 1500 questionnaires created by the GG’s Krakow Health Chamber (I have a list of names) and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw (known by its Polish acronym as ZIH) has about 180 original questionnaires. Yad Vashem Archives in Jerusalem have a large collection of some 1340 questionnaires but most of them are quite poor Xerox copies and only 74 are originals (the information contained in the Yad Vashem questionnaires, but not their images, is accessible via the JewishGen “All Poland Database”). The Imperial War Museum in London has 10 original questionnaires and an unknown number of them, like the ones I bought on Ebay, are in the hands of private collectors and dealers.
In addition, some 680 questionnaires created by the GG Warsaw Health Chamber are in the Archives of Modern Records (Archiwum Akt Nowych, RG 497) in the Polish capital and their copies are in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC (RG 15.377).
Of questionnaires which may have been created in other parts of occupied Poland, nothing seems to be known.
The first two pages of the three-page German-Polish questionnaire. In 1941 when the Germans occupied Western Ukraine, the questionnaires became tri-lingual: German-Polish-Ukrainian. On the second page names of the maternal and paternal grandparents.
The Zawichost petition