Discussion in 'Axis Units' started by LondonNik, Jul 16, 2013.
Nick - I haven't found an easy solution - I have a list of ten German soldiers killed in fighting in June 1940 and, like you, it was relatively easy to look them up in the German 'Grabersuche' but as you say, no details of unit on there -and I think that's deliberate. I had to work this out by starting with general strategic detail, cross referencing from different sources by date and place names - so in my case I got to 6th Infantry Division, then looked up the component units, bought the divisional history - did a rough translation, got it checked and eventually I could arrive at regiments and even companies. It didn't happen overnight and I gradually added to it bit by bit. Then I got lucky and happened across some documents posted online by a French historian, which contained a list of the dead as buried by the village authorities. I contacted him and several refernces had regimental ID, which cross-confirmed my original guess. One thing I haven't done is check International Red Cross records as I have no experience with that, but German war dead were notified in the same way as the Allies I think.
The WASt holds personnel files for those soldiers KIA so could provide the basic details for the soldier including his units but they tend to have a strict policy of only providing that information to Next Of Kin. You could contact them on the off chance that your request is passed to someone who is a bit less stringent in such a policy but even then they rarely reply to acknowledge receipt of the request and if they do it tends to be a few months later followed by another letter another month or two afterwards saying that as you are not NoK they will not provide the information.
But there have been rare occasions when they have passed the information to non-family members. The German Red Cross might also have this information, or have access to it, but I wouldn't be surprised if they use WASt to obtain the details.
Presumably the man you are looking for is buried in the soldatenfriedhof at Bourdon?
If so, the VdK have further details (including unit) on a good number of men buried in there and this is often available simply on request (the info is not online). If you're lucky, an email in their direction might be quicker and easier than waiting for the Deutsche Dienstelle.
Nick - we all need a bit of luck sometimes - in my case it was a pencilled piece of paper in a French town hall, overlooked for 60-odd years which someone else found. A large part of my work actually deals with the problems of recorded history - memory is often faulty, written documents are sometimes wrong - occasionally wildly wrong - and while one endeavours to make things add up, cross check, obtain corroboration etc. sometimes that's just not possible and occasionally one has to accept unlikely conclusions in the absence of contrary information. Good luck.
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