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Personal Documents of Military Provenance until 1945

Here we provide you with information on research approaches at the Federal Archives and beyond.

What can I find where? Where should I turn to?

Personal documents of military origin are kept in various departments of the Federal Archives: at the department Military Archives (Militärarchiv - MA) in Freiburg, at the department Information on Personal Data (Personenbezogene Auskünfte – PA) in Berlin-Reinickendorf (formerly Deutsche Dienststelle – WASt) and at the Department Provision of Services for Use (Bereitstellung – BE).

At the end of this page, you can download a detailed overview of the authorities at which personal documents dating from the end of the 20th century until immediately after the Second World War are kept. This overview also includes institutions other than the Federal Archives.

The following information is intended to help you find the right contact address within the Federal Archives.

Department Information on Personal Data related to World Wars I and II (Personenbezogene Auskünfte – PA)

The Federal Archives’ department PA in Berlin-Reinickendorf identifies evidence of war captivity of German soldiers, assists in clarifying missing persons’ fates and provides information on

  • former members of the army, the Reichsmarine, the Kriegsmarine and the air force
  • civil servants, employees and workers of the Wehrmacht
  • members of the male and female retinue.

Department Military Archives (MA)

The department MA provides information on

  • the personal files on officers and civil servants of the Wehrmacht
  • from Wehrmacht court documents
  • from documents that have been preserved on the awarding of medals and decorations of the Wehrmacht
  • on medical records of the birth cohorts 1802-1899.

What do I have to do to start the research process?

If you are looking for information about a particular military service member, then we need from you:

  • a usage application form (Benutzungsantrag)
  • the form “Order for a person-related research”
  • a copy/scan of your official photo identification (for example your passport).

The usage application and the “Order for a person-related research” are available for download on this page. Please send these forms signed and scanned or by post, together with a copy/scan of your ID to the appropriate department. This department will, if necessary, involve other departments.
Of course, we will also be happy to send you the forms on request. Also, if you have further questions about the process of such a research, you are welcome to contact us.

Note on attestations on police service periods

For attestations of service periods from the area of the police, in the first instance the authorities succeeding the former police offices should be contacted if these were located in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. If such a request is not successful or if the police office in question was located outside the borders of the Federal Republic of Germany on October 3rd, 1990, a request should be addressed to the Federal Archives’ branch in Berlin-Lichterfelde.