Tag Archives: city archives

Getting copies of the alien files

In other articles I have explained a bit about the Antwerp alien files (immigrant files) and about the indexes through which you could find the file number of your relatives alien file (click here for the complete Table of contents). In this article it is my intention to explain how to get copies of the alien files you are looking for at the FelixArchief (Antwerp Archives).

Note: Since April 2015 much of the alien files are directly downloadable via the websites of the FelixArchief (see below). For other´s, you may still require to use the website of Familysearch.org which has part of the collection online on its website. Read more about this collection (which originally comes from the FelixArchief collection): 
https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Belgium,Antwerp,_Police_Immigration(FamilySearch_Historical_Records). The information in this article is thus only for the records which are not yet available online (through http://zoeken.felixarchief.be or https://familysearch.org/search): When you have found the file number of your relative’s alien file, you can continue to the next step which is finding out on which microfilm the file is and where to find that microfilm. This of course is on condition that the file was microfilmed since not all files were put on microfilm yet. For the files which were not microfilmed yet, there is another procedure but let’s start with finding the microfilmed files. Reminder: Before continuing, you’ll need first the file numbers, see for instructions and details on how to use the indexes in my other article: Using the indexes to the alien files at the FelixArchief. Let’s assume that we are looking for file number 163741 which we found in the indexes after searching for Abraham Timberg’s file number in the indexes. Now open in your web browser the following page: http://zoeken.felixarchief.be and click on the tab ‘Mijn mandje’ (translation: My basket): This will Continue reading Getting copies of the alien files

How to subscribe to the online services of the Antwerp Archives

Please note that I am not affiliated with the Antwerp Archives although I strongly support them. Therefore, don’t contact the archives for any question which relates specifically to my website. Only contact them for matters which are related to them and their services.

For some services on the website of the Antwerp Archives (the “Felix Archief”), you first need to sign up (for free) which can be done online. I suggest that you start working on the website without signing up. On accessing most of the objects, you’ll be required to sign in as a user. If you don’t have yet a login and password, then this is the moment to sign up. You can do this on the logon screen which will be presented to you when you try to access a page which is only accessible to registered users. Click then on the word ‘hier’ in the sentence:

Heeft u nog geen bezoekersnaam of wachtwoord? Klik dan hier

(translation” If you don’t have yet a login and password, click here):

In the next screen you can Continue reading How to subscribe to the online services of the Antwerp Archives

A history of the Antwerp Archives (FelixArchief) and getting there

History of the archives:
The archives of the city of Antwerp started with two charters from 1221 which the city kept in a huge chest which was longer then two meters and which was called the ‘privilegiekom’.

Of each lock the key was kept by another councilmember of the city. Therefore only when all councilmembers were together, the chest could be opened (the chest is currently on view in the reading room of the Antwerp archives).

Me standing in front of that chest (I am holding an archival item which is not related to the chest)

Thanks to the growth of the city, and of the growing stack of documents, the chest did not meet anymore the expectations of the city. Another reason why the chest did not fulfill the requirements anymore at that time, is that until the French Revolution all departments of the city archived their own files, which means that there was no (centralized) ‘city archive’ like we know today in Antwerp.

In 1796 a city archivist was appointed who was in charge of storing and managing the archives. Until the first half of the 20th century the archives were kept in the town hall (the beautiful town hall was built in Renaissance style between 1561 and 1565). Since then the archives moved a few times. During the Second World War the most important pieces of the archives were kept near a moated castle near Rochefort (in the south of Belgium). After the war the archives moved to the Venusstraat in a building which purpose was not meant (yet) for archives, therefore part of the archives were temporarily moved to a building in the Meirbrug. On 15 December 1956 the building in the Venusstraat was refurbished and the archives were kept there for almost 50 years. It closed it doors to the public on May 1st, 2006.

In November 2006 the city archives Continue reading A history of the Antwerp Archives (FelixArchief) and getting there

Old Jewish posters at the Antwerp Archives

the 'Felixarchief' - (c) photo by Gershon Lehrer

The archives of the city of Antwerp (Felixarchief) mentioned in their last monthly e-newsletter the following interesting subject (source):

Vooroorlogse Joodse affiches duiken op
Vier jaar geleden ontdekten we in het Modern Archief twee dikke pakken met affiches.

Het bleek een uiterst interessante verzameling van 144 affiches en pamfletten van Joodse verenigingen uit 1932-1934. De meeste zijn aankondigingen van culturele evenementen: concerten, toneelvoorstellingen maar ook lezingen, bals en feesten uit die periode komen aan bod. Over de herkomst weten we enkel dat een zekere heer Prinz ze al in 1934 aan het stadsarchief schonk.
Het Joods Museum van Deportatie en Verzet reageerde enthousiast op de ontdekking en stelde meteen voor om de Hebreeuwse en Jiddische opschriften voor het FelixArchief te vertalen. Het leverde een schat aan informatie op.

De reeks illustreert immers als geen ander het bruisende culturele en politieke leven van de Joodse gemeenschap tijdens het interbellum: het dynamische verenigingsleven, de culturele diversiteit, maar ook het onderbelichte verzet tegen Hitler-Duitsland, de Joodse Socialistische Partij en de immigratie naar Palestina. Een uiterst boeiende momentopname, voer voor verder onderzoek en uniek illustratiemateriaal.

De affiches zijn nu deskundig beschreven, gereinigd, gevlakt en gedigitaliseerd. U kunt deze affiches hier digitaal bekijken. (Klik hiervoor op het plus-teken.)

Nieuwsbericht gepubliceerd op 02-03-2012


Prewar Jewish posters emerge
Four years ago we discovered in the Modern Archive 2 large packages of posters.

It was a very interesting collection of 144 posters and pamphlets of Jewish organizations from 1932-1934. Most of these are announcements of cultural events: concerts, theater performances but also lectures, balls and parties held from that period . About the origin, we know only that in 1934 a certain Mr. Prinz donated the posters to the city archives.
The Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre (Kazerne Dossin) responded enthusiastically to the discovery and immediately suggested to translate the Hebrew and Yiddish inscriptions for the FelixArchief. This yielded a wealth of information.

The series illustrate like no other indeed the lively cultural and political life of the Jewish community during the interwar period: the dynamic associations, cultural diversity, but also underexposed resistance to Hitler’s Germany, the Socialist Party and the Jewish immigration to Palestine. A very interesting snapshot of further research and unique artwork.

The posters are now expertly described, cleaned, flattened and digitized. You can view digital posters here. (Click on the plus sign.)

News published on 03/02/2012

As mentioned in the e-mail, you can Continue reading Old Jewish posters at the Antwerp Archives

The meaning of the acronym A.A.C.B. in the Belgian immigration files

During my research in the Belgian archives, I came across a few files in which a document had the following acronym “A.A.C.B.”:

Source: Antwerp Immigration File no.175159 (Dorf Wolf - Kapelna Frieda)

I, as curious as I am always, was wondering about the meaning of that acronym.

During genealogy research (and I assume that this is true for each research), each small part, can have a significant meaning with implications for the outcome of research. Therefore I try to understand as much as possible of each small element. Thanks to this approach I do learn quite a lot new things about history, culture, politics, etc.

To get back on topic; I did receive the explanation from the very helpful employees at the Antwerp archives (www.felixarchief.be).
They told me that A.A.C.B. stands for “Ambtelijke Afschrijving College Besluit” which roughly translated into English means cancelling the citizenship by official decision of the authorities and the file was closed for the person in question.

The reason for a A.A.C.B. can be one of the following:

Immigration files in Archives of Antwerp & State Archives of Belgium

In the courtyard of the Felixpakhuis complex

I posted a few times in a few newsgroups/forums with as subject Jewish Genealogy a short explanation on the files in the Belgian archives.
I hope to publish once an article on my blog with more details about my experience in the archives, for the moment being I think it could be useful for other researchers to read the following short explanation according to my view:

Usually all documents were kept in twofold. One copy stayed in the city/town and the other copy went to the state archives in Brussels.
In Antwerp you have a few boroughs which have separate administrations and were independent cities/towns . Nowadays these cities/towns are part of Antwerp, the most interesting boroughs for Jews researching their ancestors is: Borgerhout, Berchem and Antwerpen. The archives from the other boroughs besides, Antwerp, are not in the felixarchief (each city could choose whether to save the files or whether to throw them away). Continue reading Immigration files in Archives of Antwerp & State Archives of Belgium