The "Kataster" Database of the inhabitants of Kraków is the most comprehensive dataset for the period between approximately 1850 and 1945. The "Kataster" is a complete registration of all people in Kraków. It is similar to a census, but was done continuously, with corrections and updates periodically made to the "Kataster". After World War II, it was replaced by the 'Address Registration' (Urzad Meldunkowy).
The database comprises about one-hundred boxes of record cards, arranged alphabetically. Each box contains about 1,000 cards. There are thus about 100,000 records in total. The first box has already been transcribed, and about 800 of the 1,000 names were found to be those of Jews. The final total of Jewish records is not known, but we estimate the "Kataster" to contain about 50,000 to 60,000 Jewish records. The records include not only Birth, Marriage, and Death information, but also lists profession, addresse, birth place, place of marriage, and comments (e.g., 'ritual wife of etc'), and comments about children. In many cases, one can find the data of three generations in the 'remarks section' for the given person. Such information, especially in cases where the city of origin is mentioned, might be the only source available. Take a look at this example of a Kataster record.
This database is certainly the largest and most comprehensive database on Kraków Jewry, and it is of vital importance since it shows the development of Jewish families in Kraków for almost a century, where they came from, and where they went. There are several other, smaller, sets of records for this one-hundred-year period, but if we can obtain this comprehensive Kataster Database, it will probably make these other smaller record sets redundant.
HOW DO WE OBTAIN THESE RECORDS?
As mentioned above, the initial box of one-thousand records has been transcribed. Based on that single box, we estimate that - at the current rate of transcription - it will take up to two years to complete! Furthermore, the writing on many cards is difficult to read, and each card has to be screened by a second researcher. This is very time-consuming.
The only feasible method of transcribing this material is to hire students in Kraków to do the work, which will include the translation of the important Polish 'Comments Fields' into English. Hopefully, by using several students we could complete the database in a few months. It goes without saying that we will have to provide funds for this transcription.
COSTS OF TRANSCRIPTION
We are currently negotiating with the Kraków Archives about the costs involved. We might have to pay a set 'lump sum', a 'fee per Jewish record transcribed' or possibly even a 'fee per hour'. The costs have not yet been finalized, but in view of the huge amount of work to be done, the sums involved will be significant.
If you are able to contribute towards this project, please let us know the amount involved. The information will be kept confidential. The project is HUGE, but it would deliver a terrific amount of information to everyone who has origins in Kraków.
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Compiled by Eilat Gordin Levitan. Updated February 17, 2020 Copyright © 2007 Eilat Gordin Levitan (firstname.lastname@example.org).