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The search for German prisoners and persons missing since the Second World War - a chapter in the history of the German Red Cross tracing service

30-06-1999 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 834, by Monika Ampferl

 Abstract of the article  "   La recherche des Allemands prisonniers ou portés disparus au cours de la Seconde Guerre mondiale  "  

The Second World War was responsible for the death and disappearance of millions of Germans. Soon after the outbreak of hostilities the German Red Cross set up a tracing service in accordance with the 1929 Geneva Convention on prisoners of war. During the war, the tracing activity of the German Red Cross was expanded to include the search for civilian victims of the conflict. This article examines the activities of the tracing service both during the war and after it was over: restoring links between members of families, searching for lost children, establishing contact with prisoners, determining the whereabouts of displaced persons, etc. With the end of the Cold War, German reunification and a new relationship with Russia made it possible for the German Red Cross Society to intensify its search for missing persons.