Since the beginning of the 1990s, the GRC Tracing Service has also been conducting research in the archives of the Russian Federation and other states in Eastern Europe in order to clarify the fate of individuals. These sources provide new information on prisoners of war and civilian internees who were previously considered missing as a result of the events of the Second World War.
When evaluating the material, the Cyrillic originals must be searched meticulously in order to identify the right person under different name variants: The phonetic registration at that time by the respective Soviet camp administration as well as the frequent transcription of German names into the Cyrillic script and back into Latin have in many cases led to names being changed. It is therefore often very difficult to find these names in the database, which today contains several million entries.
The following institutions have provided the GRC Tracing Service with information and documents:
- Russian State Military Archives
- Main Information Centre of the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation
- Central Archive of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation
- State Archive of the Russian Federation
- Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation
- Archive of the Federal Security Service of Ukraine
- Central State Archives of the highest organs of power and administration of Ukraine
- Archive of the KGB in Belarus
- Archive of the Ministry of Interior in Belarus
The digitization of the more than two million prisoner of war files of German prisoners of war and civilian internees from the Russian State Military Archives has been completed after more than 10 years. The data have been transferred to a database with details about the persons and their fates; the digitized personal files contain, for example
- Death and release documents
- Records of diseases
- Prisoners' personnel records
- Pay books
- Family photos
- Further personal documents.
Relatives can obtain copies of these documents upon request. Please submit your tracing request to the GRC Tracing Service here. »
This means that surviving relatives can be given final and comprehensive clarification on death dates and grave locations. Personal records of people who have returned home are also available, enabling those affected or their relatives to enquire about them. In addition, the GRC Tracing Service received more than five million index cards on German prisoners of war and civilian internees from the Russian State Military Archives, which are also available in digital form today.
Within the framework of the current German-Russian database and research project, the GRC Tracing Service hopes to obtain further new information on the fates of German prisoners of war and civilian internees from the archives of the Russian Federation.
Projects and participation
For more than 75 years, the GRC Tracing Service has been working to clarify the fates of the missing persons of the Second World War and thus finally provide their family members with redeeming certainty. This task was once associated with an important contribution to post-war society, so that for many people the GRC Tracing Service is synonymous with the German Red Cross.