Cooperation with other institutions
Even if you contact the GRC Tracing Service with a tracing request that does not fall within our area of responsibility, we can still assist you. In such cases, we will forward your request to other competent institutions and inform you accordingly.
The GRC Tracing Service cooperates in particular with the following institutions in processing requests for the search and clarification of the fate of missing persons of the Second World War:
of the German War Graves Commission
On behalf of the Federal Government, the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (VDK) is dedicated to the task of recording, maintaining and caring for the graves of German war casualties abroad. The VDK's “Grave Search Online” provides information on almost five million war casualties and missing persons. It provides information to relatives on all matters related to war graves. It also advises public and private institutions and promotes international cooperation in the area of war grave maintenance, and encourages young people to come together to learn at the last resting places of war casualties.
The Arolsen Archives, formerly International Tracing Service (ITS), are an international centre on Nazi persecution with the world's most comprehensive archive on the victims and survivors of National Socialism. The collection has information on about 17.5 million people and contains documents on the various victim groups targeted by the Nazi regime, on forced labour and on so-called displaced persons. Millions of documents are accessible online at collections.arolsen-archives.org.
Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archives)
State archives also hold records relating to personal searches and clarification of fate. These include military careers of members of the Wehrmacht, information on certificates of service and death notices, lists of identification tags, Western Allied war captivity, and Soviet prisoners of war in German custody. The GRC Tracing Service or the National Association of the German War Graves Commission will refer you, where appropriate, to these archives, for example to the Federal Archives. There you will find, among other things, the holdings of the German Office for the Notification of Next of Kin of the Former German Wehrmacht (WASt), the documents of the Tracing Service of the ecclesiastical welfare associations (KSD), the home town indexes and the parish registers.
You will find comprehensive information about these partners in the leaflet “Clarification of fate - Second World War"
Central Information and Referral Centre
The Central Information and Referral Centre (ZAuV) at the Federal Office for Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues is a contact point for all questions related to politically motivated adoptions in the former GDR. It arranges counselling and assistance for people who were affected by forced adoptions and family separations that did not serve the best interests of the child but the political guidelines of the SED state. The ZAuV does not have any files itself, but it can recommend among the many possible search options those appropriate to the case at hand and name the responsible offices.
In the field of family reunification, the GRC Tracing Service cooperates with international organisations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Social Service (ISS) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in order to clarify practical issues that may arise in the course of the family reunification procedure. As part of this cooperation, the GRC Tracing Service tries to help you and your relatives, for example when underage children have remained alone in the country of origin or in a transit country and need support and care, or when relatives have to be registered in a transit country in order to be able to leave later.