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Remembered Today:

German sources please.....


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Guest jwillia5

Hello there,

I am presently considering a topic for MA research and am beginning to investigate the ordinary German soldier in the field.

One of the aspects I would like to consider is a comparison of the ordinary family backgrounds of two soldiers, one British and one German.

I have the British one in mind but have no idea where to find a similar character from the German army. Can anyone help?

Naturally, it would make for a better comparason if I could find a German soldier who shared a similar background.

My British soldier was born in 1890 in the cotton counties of the North West, was conscripted in 1916, trained at Oswestry and later saw service in France and Flanders (end of the Somme, Messines etc) before being killed at Ypres in July 1917. He was 26 years old and had two children. He was a weaver at home and never rose above the rank of private in the war.

To help in this search, could anyone tell me if there is a German equivalent of the CWGC and if so is this online?

Also, are there war memorials in the German towns and villages as there are here?

Where else might I be able to find German sources in English that could flesh out a German "private" ?

Sorry if these questions are rather naive....I'm only just realising how little I know about the commemoration of the ordinary German soldier.

I'd be grateful for any suggestions just to start me off..thanks a million as always,

Jane

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The German equivelant is WWW.volksbund.de this hold basic info on the person. I have a translation of the basic forms somewhere on this site. Most german towns have a kind of memorial usually a black stone with just names and birth and death dates, although the village of Elmpt close to RAF Bruggen had a 9 foot German stormtrooper in the village square. A lot of records were destroyed during the war but I may have the address of a place in Berlin for whatever written records are left. I f you want it give me a shout

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Hello,

Only the war records of soldiers of Baden, Bavaria and Württemberg still exist in the respective "Landesarchive" together with the regimental and other records of the units of these Länder.

The records of the wounded soldiers are kept in Berlin. The Volksbund deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge only has details about war dead etc.

However, in Germany it is extremely difficult to obtain more details about a particular man because of privacy reasons. Without written consent of a relative, it might be impossible to get more information.

Regards,

Jan

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Ralph J. Whitehead

Jan is correct that it is difficult to obtain more than basic details on a soldier. One avenue you might consider is taking a soldier who had a Sterbebild, death card, issued. It generally provides details such as a photo, time in service in many cases, age, marital status, occupation, location of birth, etc. I have one man in the 110th Reserve who was widowed prior to the war and then killed in action in 1915. The amount of basic detail was quite useful and then I continued my research with the regimental history, etc.

While you might not have every detail the death cards do provide a wealth of personal detail often lacking in the official records. I am currently researching a Bavarain soldier in the 1st Coy, 8th Bavarian Reserve Regiment who was killed in action 2 July 1916 near St. Pierre-Divion. In my case my serch is made a bit easier as he was born in Buffalo, New York and returned to fight for Germany during the war. I can at least obtain census and other details from local sources and the remainder from various period books and the regimental history. Good luck in your project.

Ralph

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Guest jwillia5

Many thanks to all those who replied. I was fascinated if not encouraged by the information! Seems like I may have a tricky task ahead actually and the suggestion of a death card might be invaluable so thanks especially for that.

How rare are these though...are they very difficult to get hold of I wonder? I believe I saw one on ebay some time ago but can't remember any details.....

Well, thanks once again.

As always your help is much appreciated.

Jane

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As you say, there are a fair number on ebay most of the time; the WW1 examples appear to go for £10-15, £20 at a push. A number ot German militaria dealers have them for sale for similar prices.

Have you also considered using German educational and district records, if available? They would no doubt prove invaluable for typical convergences and divergences during the pre-War era.

Cheers

Richard

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Ralph J. Whitehead

Jane,

E-Bay usuall has a large collection of WWI death cards that could provide a good source. If you go this route I would also suggest that you contact the local village for any war memorial, town records, surviving relatives, etc. We just identified the remains of a German soldier killed in 1915. We located a son and at least 3 grandchildren who have since supplied a photo of the soldier.

The town also had records from the war, etc. It is an exciting and rewarding part of research. Good luck.

Ralph

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Guest jwillia5

Thanks again Ralph and Richard...plenty of food for thought there. I will certainly have a look at what's on offer on ebay and follow up some of the other links too. Maybe I can come back to you for other advice about records a little further down the line? In the meantime, thanks a lot...I think you are right - this is a very interesting avenue of research to consider.

Best wishes,

Bane

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