Just with our own genealogy, there will be those people who are part of our studies with whom we develop an attachment with, for reasons that we cannot explain. Perhaps they were females, ahead of their time, or living in an unusual place, pursuing an interesting career. The list is endless.
These people sit within our surname studies and we find ourselves exploring the life they lead and want to expand it more and more. On occasions I have to remind myself that there are not “my people”, but they share the surname that I am researching. Equally, there will be folk who sit within the study, a line on a spreadsheet and they remain there, as part of my methodology until they researched and they become more than one line on a spreadsheet. At that point, they enter my database.
My current why’s are these, and they all relate to my Orlando study. I am very keen to get stuck into some research about them and because of what I know about them, they deserve to be more than a line on a spreadsheet:
- Renato ORLANDO born 12 Jan 1915 Carrara. Last residence via Cariona 316, Carrara. Prisoner #67 885. Protective custody, Italian. Arrived 10 May 1944 at Dachau Concentration Camp. Died 18 January 1945. (source Jewish Gen)
- Stefano ORLANDO born 27 April 1914 Varesa, Last residence Genua, Passo Moretto. Prisoner # 113 433 Protective custody, Italian. Arrived 9 October 1944 at Dachau Concentration Camp. Died 28 November 1944. (source Jewish Gen)
- Umberto ORLANDO born 25 December 1913 Angri, Last residence Angri. Prisoner # 54 634 Protective custody, Italian, Arrived 29 September 1943. Dachau Concentration Camp. Died 31 October 1943. (source Jewish Gen)
For reasons I totally cannot explain, I feel that I simply must explore their lives, military service and how they died.
Initial observations is that:
- Umberto and Stefano died very soon after arriving at the camp, they were there between 4-8 weeks.
- Renato was at the camp 9 months, he was also the last to arrive of the three of them, arriving May 1944 and dying in Jan 1945.
- Umberto arrived and died in 1943.
- Stefano arrived and died in 1944.
- Are those dates significant?
- Did they die from disease or other methods?
- What details can be found about Dachau?
- Expand the individual family lines for these three men
Dachau was established in 1933 and was not a death camp, but conditions were severely harsh. It was liberated on 29th April 1945 and contained around 206,000 prisoners from all over Europe, Jews and non Jews. There are amongst the records recovered by the allies 31,000 deaths recorded, but many thousands more were not recorded at all.
Of the prisoners liberated there were substantial numbers of Italians, Lithuanians, Czech’s, Belgian and Slovenes. The largest number were from the former Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, Germany and France. Many Soviet prisoners were simply shot and others endured experiments.
From the limited research I have undertaken thus far, I suspect that these three Orlando’s all died from the harsh conditions at the camp and more research is needed to confirm or deny that hypothesis. One thing we do need to consider is that research might unearth material that we do not like and we find unpalatable. In those instances we need to continue to research and attempt to emotionally untangle ourselves from the data.