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Information on the use of files and other documents in the Federal Archives

Aktenbenutzung im Lesesaal des Bundesarchivs

The Federal Archives hold the state archives of central civil and military bodies from various eras since the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

The Federal Archives not only hold files from public bodies, but also official publications, documents published by political parties, associations and organisations, collections, and the estates of historically significant people from the German Reich, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. The archive fonds have been enriched by audio-visual sources since the late 19th century.

Unfortunately, some of the older holdings have only been partly preserved due to the ravages of war. Partial holdings can also be found in foreign archives.

Use of Files

Please remember that documents from each era are stored at different locations within the Federal Archives. Files on the Federal Republic of Germany can be found in Koblenz, while files on the German Reich, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic are held in Berlin-Lichterfelde. The files of the central military bodies since 1867 can be accessed at our location in Freiburg im Breisgau.

Here you can find the opening hours and contact details of each location.

You can prepare for your visit by sending a written enquiry via email or post and by using our search tool “invenio”. You can even reserve archive material and request to use it in one of our reading rooms.

There are over 415 linear kilometres of files held in the Federal Archives. Not all holdings have been digitised yet, but the number of digitised files is constantly on the rise.

Usage restrictions may apply in some cases, especially for recent files and personal documents.