jwfwarsaw Posted 4 August , 2014 Share Posted 4 August , 2014 The International Committee of the Red Cross today opened a web platform which gives access to the Great War archives of the International Prisoners of War Agency (their press release is pasted below). It's absolutely fascinating, and within minutes I found the (sadly fruitless) search request made by my great-grand-mother for her first husband, who went missing at Loos, which was incredibly poignant. I attach his file, in case any GWF members with an interest in the Devonshires or Loos fancy a look. I haven't been in the GWF for a while (mea culpa), but I thought I should spread the news about this. I also have a mercenary reason (mea culpa again), because in my day job I'm a journalist. I'm writing an article about the archive, and would be very interested to hear from any GWF members who have family stories about the role of the Red Cross in confirming that a relative was still alive and, potentially, in assisting in their post-war repatriation. Please private message or send a response in the open format, as you wish. With kind regards to all, Jonathan Public opening of the International Prisoners of War Agency (IPWA) web platform on 4 August: http://www.icrc.org/ww1 The archives of the International Prisoners of War Agency (IPWA), a body created during the early days of the First World War by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), bear witness to the scale of the suffering endured by victims of the war across the world. Seven million soldiers were taken prisoner, large numbers of civilians were interned on enemy soil and millions more endured military occupation or were forced to flee combat zones or occupied territories. The objective of the IPWA was to centralize information about prisoners of war in order to pass it on to their loved ones and help restore contact between family members. It was a huge task: during and after the war, IPWA volunteers made index cards and lists of nearly two and a half million prisoners of war, preserving more than five millions index cards and 500 000 register pages. In connection with the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, the ICRC has made digital copies of thousands of index cards and other documents in the IPWA archives which it will make available on a new web platform to be launched on 4 August. In addition to containing general documents relating to ICRC negotiations with States on conditions of detention, the platform will enable users to search index cards and lists produced by the IPWA during the war. It will also include historical postcards from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and elsewhere, and certain ICRC reports on the conditions in which prisoners of war were being held in Europe, Egypt, India, Russia and Japan. The index cards and general archives, which have been entirely restored, are included in the Memory of the World Register of UNESCO. The web platform will allow users to search for prisoners by nationality or by family name. Because of the way the index cards were originally organized, however, users may find that searches are not entirely straightforward; that is why a tutorial is available to guide them. The site will be steadily updated over the coming six months as further information is placed online, but it already offers access to all civilian-internee index cards and to 80 per cent of the cards for military prisoners from Belgium, France, the United Kingdom and Germany. Cards containing tracing requests made by families during the First World War can also already be consulted. The new web platform offers a unique way to discover our common history, thanks above all to the fact that one hundred years ago, all over the world and despite the general chaos, military forces, civil society, and National Red Cross Societies cooperated with the ICRC in a joint effort to restore contact between family members. English: http://www.icrc.org/ww1 Français: http://www.icrc.org/grandeguerre For more information , please contact:David-Pierre Marquet, ICRC Library and Public Archives, tel: +41 22 730 2221 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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