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International Day of the Disappeared 2022

Countless refugees throughout the world have gone missing without a trace. On the 30 August, the International Day of the Disappeared, the German Red Cross (GRC) is spotlighting its tracing service – one of its core activities. “For each missing person, there is a whole family desperate for information. The Red Cross helps relatives trace loved ones worldwide. Last year, the GRC alone processed around 1,730 international tracing requests. The main countries of origin continue to be Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Iraq, and Ukraine has also been added to the list this year. Since January we have received approximately 700 requests in total. Due to the many prolonged and serious crises across the globe, it is all the more important to make the work of our tracing service better known to those in need of it,” says Gerda Hasselfeldt, President of the German Red Cross.

Missing but not forgotten.

The German Red Cross Tracing Service assists family members who have been separated from their relatives as a result of the armed conflict in Ukraine. Civilians and military personnel, including prisoners of war, have gone missing. By the end of July 2022, the GRC Tracing Service had already received 186 such tracing requests. These cases are being processed in collaboration with the Red Cross International Tracing Service Network.

To mark the International Day of the Disappeared, the GRC has also joined the multimedia campaign #NoTraceOfYou operated by the Red Cross Tracing Service Network in Europe. This campaign highlights the ongoing search efforts along the main migratory routes to Europe. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), just under 3,300 people disappeared in 2021 while attempting to reach Europe. However, these are only the documented cases.

In addition, the GRC Tracing Service continues in its efforts to clarify the fate of Wehrmacht soldiers and civilians who have been missing since the Second World War. In 2021, 13,640 enquiries were received, mainly from Germany, but also from Russia, Austria, Poland, Norway and Australia. The GRC Tracing Service also provides advice and assistance on matters of family reunification. In 2021, around 20,100 counselling interviews were held across Germany, providing information on the legal possibilities and requirements for bringing family members together.

Since 1953, the GRC Tracing Service has been institutionally funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI).

The Press Office is happy to arrange interviews with the President of the GRC and with the GRC Tracing Service.

#NoTraceOfYou Press kit

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