German POW Record Cards WWII

This collection is a work in progress
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This is a collection of cards, printed in old style German, and completed in English. They contain varying amounts of personal details of prisoners of war held by the German Authorities during the Second World War.

More prisoners were taken during the second world war than in any other conflict, soldiers, sailors and airmen, and also civilians, were held in captivity. Their fate depended on when and where they were captured, and sometimes their nationality or race. British prisoners of war were held in all theatres of war from 1940 to 1945. Nazi Germany was a signatory of the Geneva Convention and allowed the Red Cross reasonable access to German camps.

The details on the cards can include photographs and finger prints of the POW as well as other personal information. The number of cards for each individual varies from one to fifteen, but in the majority of cases there are just one or two. Mostly the cards relate to POWs but the collection also includes the details of a small number of civilians and several thousand airmen whose bodies were found in German occupied territory.

The majority of the cards relate to British military service personnel. The collection also includes cards for Merchant Navy ratings and officers, Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians and South Africans.

At the end of WWII the record cards were received by the British Army who passed them to the War Office. Some cards may be missing due to claims being made by ex-POWs where the cards were taken out of the collection and used in evidence to support their claim. In most cases the card was placed on the claim file and not returned to this series.

This collection is a work in progress and FWR will continue to add records as they become available from the TNA.

We also have an extensive library of magazines and books detailing POW life in General and camps in particular in our ‘historic documents library’, some of which are seldom seen and rare, often with good quality photographs too!

Period covered: 1939 – 1945

Records in this collection are likely to include the following:

  • Surname
  • First name(s)
  • Service number
  • Rank
  • Unit
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Next of kin details
  • Date of capture
  • Theatre of capture
  • POW camp name
  • POW camp number
  • POW number

Please be aware that due to the way we collate, and cross reference our databases, some records will contain more information than that listed above.

Original Source: These records are kept in the National Archives under reference WO416, War Office: German Record cards of British and Commonwealth Prisoners of War and some Civilian Internees, WWII

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