Research guide

To help you use our collection to do research here are some methods, resources and tips to get you started.

How to use our collection?

Our collection is extensive and comprehensive. It features historical objects, art, ceremonial items, over 70,000 photos, around 20,000 documents, books, biographical data and audio-visual material.

All these together tell the story of Dutch Jewish history.

Use our collection as a resource for researching family history, academic publications, creating documentaries or to find out about the persecution of Jews in the Netherlands.

Search the collection

Research guide?

Research can be a challenge, especially if you're unsure where to begin. To help you get started we have developed a research guide. A springboard for successful research.

Researching your family history or genealogy can be fascinating, but it’s not always easy. Let us help you get started.

Before we begin, we should make clear that we don’t keep genealogical records relating to housing, personal data or population registration at the museum. These are held by the country’s local municipal archives.

How to start
If you’re new to genealogical research and you read Dutch, you may like to consult the excellent guides published by Netherlands Society for Jewish Genealogy (NKvJG) and CBG Centre for Family History:

Useful resources
Other researchers may already have investigated your ancestors. The easiest way to check that is online. Even if that’s not the case, there’s always a good chance you’ll find something about your family online.

Check these sites:

  • presents material from various archives, historical societies and museums.
  • City Archives Amsterdam has lots of information about Jews who lived in Amsterdam. This is also where the Portuguese Jewish community archive is kept.


  • Check where the information is from. Complete names are useful, as are dates of birth and death.
  • Many archives can be accessed via coordinated umbrella sites, such as Open Archives.
  • Newspaper announcements are a useful source of information about family members and dates of family events. Sites that provide access to these include Delpher and Online Begraafplaatsen.

Jews have been part of Dutch society for centuries. By the start of the Second World War, there were around 140 Jewish communities in the country. So it’s quite possible that Jews once lived in your home.

How to start
First define the period you want to investigate. If you’re trying to find out whether Jews were living at your address in 17th century, search for information about your house in your local archive.

Useful resources
Useful sites to visit if you’re trying to find out whether there were Jews living in your home at the start of the Second World War include:

  • Jewish Monument which lists information about over 104,000 people in the Netherlands who were persecuted as Jews and did not survive the war. In addition to names and dates, the site also lists home addresses of victims.
  • Pointer lists real estate seized by the Nazis, with a searchable database of addresses.


  • Check whether your house was built before the war, or if it was built after the war on the site of a prewar dwelling.
  • Check whether street names and house numbers have changed over time.

  • Lists of Jewish shops, organisations and societies are available for some cities, such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.

Are you looking for information about particular individuals? Or do you want to know about Jewish life in your neighbourhood? Newspapers and magazines are a useful resource.

How to start
Archived newspapers and magazines are full of information about people: announcements of births, marriages and deaths, for example.

Delpher's digital database of newspapers has many Dutch titles. It’s a good idea to narrow down the time and region of your search.

Useful resources
We have a huge library of Jewish newspapers and magazines, historical and contemporary. These are accessible at the Jewish Museum knowledge and resource centre. Some are available online, others only in the museum.

  • JSTOR presents a range of modern (academic) journals relating to Jewish history and culture. The site is accessible free of charge at our knowledge and resource centre.
  • Delpher has made scans of many historical magazines and newspapers published by and for Jews available, including minor periodicals, such as club magazines. These are all searchable.
  • Check which newspapers and periodicals are available.
  • Newspapers and magazines in our collection are available by title..


  • Are you looking for an article in a specific publication? Email the details and we’ll let you know as soon as possible if we have that article and where you can read it.
  • If you’re not involved in research, but just want to leaf through those old publications, you’re always welcome to visit the Jewish Museum knowledge and resource centre. We’re open from Tuesday to Friday, from 1 to 5 in the afternoon.

Persecution of the Jews of the Netherlands?

Are you researching people who were killed in the Holocaust? Do you want to learn about the Nazi’s anti-Jewish edicts, or the Nazi theft of property? These pointers may help you on your way.

If you’re researching people who were killed in the Holocaust, or who died immediately after as a result of their experiences, there are several databases available.

Useful resources

  • Jewish Monument lists information about over 104,000 people in the Netherlands who were persecuted as Jews and did not survive the war. The site also has a database of Sinti and Roma victims.
  • Yad Vashem has a database of names and biographical details of millions of victims worldwide.


  • Other countries also have databases like the Dutch Jewish Monument. If you’re researching a Dutch person who the Nazis deported from another country, it’s worth looking in that country’s database.

If you’re investigating what happened to your family during the Second World War, we can help.

Note that we don’t keep genealogical records relating to housing, personal data or population registers in our collection.

How to start
Researching a family’s history during the war is not always easy. Try starting by getting the names and dates of as many individuals as possible. These can be found in the local archive where they were born.

Find out who the parents were too. That information can help verify whether you have the right person.

The CBG Centre for Family History has developed an excellent guide for family history research:

Useful resources

Start your investigation online. There’s a lot of information available on these sites:

  • Oorlogsbronnen provides access to information from over 250 archives, museums, commemorative centres and libraries in the Netherlands and abroad. You can search for individuals.
  • Jewish Monument lists information about over 104,000 Jews who did not survive the war.
  • Arolsen Archives has information about Holocaust victims, including documents about concentration camps, forced labour and refugees.
  • NIOD holds a range of personal documents, such as diaries and letters, and the archives of the Nazi administration, ministries and resistance groups.
  • The wartime archive of the Dutch Red Cross, curated by the National Archive, has a lot of data about individual cases.


  • When looking for a particular surname, remember that the spelling may vary. So search for Levi and Levie, not just for Levy.

  • If you’re searching for people who didn’t survive the war, check the resources listed under How to find out about victims of the Holocaust.

The Nazis issued a string of anti-Jewish edicts. These are listed in chronological order on the walls of the National Holocaust Museum. There were so many that these cover the walls of more than one gallery.

Useful resources

  • Delpher provides scans of the Nazi organ in which the directives were published: Verordeningenblad voor het bezette Nederlandsche gebied.

    It printed all the edicts as they were issued. It’s located in the newspaper archive.

  • Oorlogsbronnen provides a chronological survey of the orders.
  • Search our collection for ‘anti-Jewish orders’ to find sources relating to the Nazi directives, such as a photo of a segregated market for Jews.

During the Second World War, the Nazis employed many different methods to steal Jewish property. For example, when they deported Jews, they seized their homes and their possessions. Some of the records they kept of this have survived.

How to start
Finding information about property stolen by the Nazis can be difficult. It’s useful to read up on the context first. Gerard Aalders wrote a good book on the subject translated as Nazi looting: The Plunder of Dutch Jewry during the Second World War (2004), available at our resource centre.

Useful resources

  • The Dutch National Archive has a useful search aid.
  • Cultural Heritage Agency publishes information about looted art of uncertain provenance that was sent to the Netherlands after the war. Investigations into these items are still continuing to this day.
  • Pointer lists real estate seized by the Nazis, with a searchable database of addresses.
  • Einsatsstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg archive at NIOD holds some of the records compiled before certain Jewish-owned properties were seized. More of these property records can be found at Amsterdam’s municipal archive.
  • JOKOS dossiers contain lists of property stolen in the Holocaust, compiled by survivors or their heirs to claim compensation after the war.


  • Our collection includes documents and archive items about specific acts of theft, legal redress and restitution. Search terms such as 'restitution', 'Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co' and 'theft' to learn more.
  • Our collection also has lots of information about stolen farmland, allotments and fields. Use ‘farmland’ as a search term.

Second World War

Want to know what happened to your family during the Second World War? Or do you want to hear stories of survivors? These tips will help you find your way.

Finding out about who went into hiding and where they hid can be difficult since bureaucratic records provide little information.

Hiding Jews was a punishable offence, so those who became involved kept it quiet. Information was by word of mouth or in code.

Useful to know

Many non-Jews went into hiding during the Second World War. Some went underground because they were political opponents of the Nazis, or to avoid being drafted for forced labour (Arbeidseinsatz).

How to start

What are you trying to find out? Do you want to know where your family hid during the war? Or do you want to know whether your family helped people hide during the war? If you have names of people who hid, or people they knew, you can search the databases linked under What did my family do in the war?

Useful resources

These resources provide information about how people hid in the war:

  • Our collection includes books, diaries and interviews relating to the subject.
  • Mapping Hiding Places provides information about where people hid, and you can add information too.
  • Hidden like Anne Frank presents stories about 14 people in hiding in the Netherlands.
  • Visual History Archive stores video interviews with people who hid during the war. You can search by name, place or subject. All the interviews can be accessed at our knowledge and resource centre.
  • Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center has a database of people who helped Jews during the Second World War and were honoured for their contribution.


  • Some resources differentiate between those who went into hiding and those who took on a new identity. Jewish children who were taken in by non-Jewish families often had to change their name, so they could play outside and go to school. Jews who were in hiding had to stay out of sight.

  • Note that Jews were often told very little about the people who sheltered them. They hardly ever saw them and knew them by a made-up name, like Auntie Miep. It was safer that way.

Testimonies of victims, survivors and bystanders have been preserved in various ways. Written testimonies include personal documents such as letters and diaries.

In the 1980s, Holocaust survivors were interviewed about their life before, during and after the war. These interviews are available to watch and listen to.

How to start

Privacy restrictions mean that some video and audio interviews may not be available online, however you can access these at our knowledge and resource centre.

Audiovisual sources

  • Our collection includes witness interviews that we record ourselves. These are available online.
  • Visual History Archive has over 55,000 video interviews. You can search these by name, place or subject. Our knowledge and resource centre provides access to all these interviews.
  • Getuigenverhalen (witness stories) provides access to interviews available to view online.
  • Sobibor Interviews has interviews with Dutch Jews who survived Sobibor.
  • Yale University's Fortunoff Archive has some 5,000 witness testimonies. While a limited selection is available online, all the interviews can be accessed at our knowledge and resource centre.

Written sources

  • CABR (Centraal Archief Bijzondere Rechtspleging) preserves testimony relating to judicial proceedings.
  • NIOD has various archives preserving witness testimony, including a collection of written interviews.
  • JOKOS dossiers include depositions by survivors or their heirs outlining what happened during the war as part of an attempt to claim compensation for stolen property.


  • If you want to watch interviews at the knowledge and resource centre please arrange your visit in advance by mail so we can have the desired interviews ready for you.

Have you heard a rumour that grandad belonged to the NSB? Are you investigating what your great-aunt did in the resistance? Archive research is one way to find out.

How to start

This kind of research can be a challenge. Read the practical tips in our ‘How to investigate your family history’ section. CBG Centre for Family History has also developed a useful guide::

Useful resources

Start looking online. These sites have a lot of information:

  • Oorlogsbronnen the ideal starting point for any search into specific individuals in the Second World War.
  • Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center has a database of people who helped Jews during the Second World War and were honoured for their contribution.
  • CABR (Centraal Archief Bijzondere Rechtspleging) has files on people who collaborated with the Nazis.
  • The Dutch National Archive has information about Dutch people conscripted to work in Germany.


  • Do you need assistance working out what the documents you find in these archives are telling you? Visit our knowledge and resource centre and we’ll try and help.

  • The Dutch National Archive offers useful tips for searching the various Second World War archives – from possible resistance heroes to suspected collaborators.

Jewish culture

Are you investigating Jewish customs and traditions? Do you want to know about Jewish festivals? Are you trying to figure out how the eruv enables Jews to carry on Shabbat? These are excellent places to start.

There were Jewish communities throughout the country before the Second World War. The largest was in Amsterdam, with many also in the surrounding towns.

On the eve of the Holocaust, there were around 140 communities in the Netherlands. In many places after the war, the few remaining survivors had no choice but to close the synagogue.

Useful resources

At one time there were around 300 Jewish cemeteries in the Netherlands. Today there are 238. Around fifty Jewish burial grounds which are known to have existed have been lost.

Useful resources

Various databases provide information about Jewish cemeteries:


  • If you’re unsure whether a person was buried in a Jewish cemetery, a search of family announcements in newspapers on Delpher may provide information: announcements often give details about the funeral.
  • Beth Haim is the oldest Sephardi cemetery in the Netherlands.
  • Begraafplaats Muiderberg is the oldest Ashkenazi cemetery in the Netherlands.

That differed from place to place. There is a lot of information available about Jewish life in many places around the country, although occasionally all that remains is a memoir and a historical walk.

How to start

A useful starting point for a general impression of Jewish life in the Netherlands is Vierhonderd jaar Joden in Nederland - Four Centuries of Jews in the Netherlands, currently only available in Dutch.

Useful resources

  • Try searching our collection by place name. Or come and visit our knowledge and resource centre: we have a lot of publications that are hard to find anywhere else.
  • Our survey of Jewish communities shows all the communities that ever existed in the Netherlands.
  • Some cities such as The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam have sites focusing on Jewish life past and present.

Dutch words such as bajes, jatten, stiekem, kapsones, bolleboos actually have Jewish roots. They derive from Hebrew words and came into use in the Netherlands through Yiddish. So are Yiddish and Hebrew the same?


No. Hebrew is a semitic language written with Hebrew letters. It has been spoken, written and has served as the language of the Jewish religion for thousands of years. The Bible (Old Testament or Tanach) and other religious writings are written in Hebrew. Modern Hebrew (Ivrit) is the national language of Israel.

Yiddish is a mix of mostly German and Hebrew with various terms adopted from Slavic and other languages. It was once widely spoken by Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, and continues to be used in Ashkenazi communities worldwide. Yiddish is written in Hebrew script.

Useful resources

  • Our Jewish glossary provides translations and explanations of Hebrew and Yiddish words.
  • Sofeer is a Dutch dictionary of Hebrew and Yiddish words, with a spelling and transliteration guide.
  • Vereniging Hebreeuws provides links to courses, interpreters and translators.
  • Stichting Jiddisj provides information about the history of Yiddish in general and Dutch Yiddish in particular.


  • We can assist you with any questions you may have regarding Hebrew or Yiddish at our knowledge and resource centre. Our experts are ready to help. Send us a mail.

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Ariane Zwiers

Knowledge and Resource Centre

+31 (0)20 531 03 20