2 Replies Latest reply on Oct 12, 2021 10:29 AM by Max Schaible

    Seeking a list of German refugees who came to Rochester, New York after WW2

    Max Schaible Newbie

      Hello, I am trying to find the list of refugees/immigrants who came from Germany and settled in Rochester, New York after WW2 (the 1940s, 50s and 60s). (I assume) that these people all registered at US Consulates in Germany, but that this information (who they were, what part of Germany/eastern Europe they came from, where they settled in Rochester,....) would not have been received by the Census department for their records (I asked them). Might the State Department or Lutheran/Catholic refugee organizations have it? Or is such information even accessible to the general public? Thanks for your help. I appreciate it!

        • Re: Seeking a list of German refugees who came to Rochester, New York after WW2
          Rachael Salyer Ranger

          Dear Mr. Schaible,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          To the best of our knowledge, no comprehensive list of post-World War II German refugees, displaced persons, or immigrants has been compiled. The National Archives does have records of the Displaced Persons Commission in Record Group 278. The records consist of policy and administrative files; they do not include files relating to individual displaced persons or lists of names of displaced persons. The individual case files have been destroyed. You can survey our RG 278 holdings (34 series total) on the National Archives Catalog. These records have not been digitized. Please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at archives2reference@nara.gov for access to and information about these and similar records.


          We also located the series Records Pertaining to the Refugee Relief Program at Foreign Service Posts, 1953-1958, the series Subject and Country Files, 1953-1976, the series Statistical Files, 1953-1957, and the series Alphabetical Subject Files, 1938-1941 in the General Records of the Department of State (Record Group 59) that include some information about German refugees. In addition, we located 17 files related to German refugees in other series in Record Group 59 that might be of interest to you. We also suggest that you use the Catalog to review descriptions of other records created by the Department of State's Refugee Relief Program. Some of these records have been digitized and can be viewed online using the Catalog. Please contact RDT2 for assistance with the non-digitized records.


          Historical records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service are in the custody of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. - Textual Reference (RDT1); however, they do not typically include records of individuals. You may contact them via email at archives1reference@nara.gov with questions about these records.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2 and RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          Please note that immigrant visas, both quota and nonquota (and supporting documentation), issued by the Department of State to aliens at U.S. embassies, legations, and consulates overseas  are surrendered to U.S. immigration officials upon admission to the United States.  The immigrant visas and associated documentation accumulated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service between July 1, 1924, and March 31, 1944, were maintained by the central office in Washington, DC in the Visa Files.  Subsequent immigrant visas were filed in the Alien Files (“A-Files”) or the Certificate Files (“C-Files”).  Those records are preserved, but remain in the custody of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For more information on the different types of files and how to request access to them, please see that agency’s “History and Genealogy” website located at: https://www.uscis.gov/historyandgenealogy.


          Finally, we suggest that you contact the Historical Society of Rochester, New York to see if they can offer you any additional assistance. You may also wish to review historical newspapers like those available online from the Rochester Public Library or from the Library of Congress Chronicling America website to learn more about refugee resettlement and immigration to the Rochester area after World War II.


          We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!