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Researching a Relative

It is estimated that between 15000 - 20000 German soldiers were involved in the Battle of Arnhem. Yet it can be very difficult for family members to find out information on their relatives who did participate in the battle. This section aims to provide some assistance and guidance in helping to find further information on their relatives.

The first place to start is documentation on the relatives possession. This may include letters, photos and official military paperwork such as Wehrpasses or Soldbuchs. There is a wealth of information in this documentation that can help. It is just knowing where to find it.

Soldbuchs (carried by the soldier) and Wehrpasses (carried by the soldier's unit) contain valuable information on a soldier's career, unit history, leave records, awards and decorations, inoculations and a record of equipment issue to name a few. This is the best source of information when trying to find out more when researching a German Soldier's career. It would outline the unit the soldier was a member of during the Battle of Arnhem. Sometimes in these books it will make reference to the battle itself like so:

Another piece of information that is extremely useful which can be found in letters is the Feldpost number. Each number represents the unit the soldier belonged to. Sometimes families only have letters from the relative that survived the war so the Feldpost number can be their only lead. A list of Feldpost numbers relating to units that fought in Arnhem can be found here.

A great source of information is the Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt). This is an online source for conducting "tracing requests" on soldiers of the German Wehrmacht during World War II. By providing WASt with personal information on the soldier you are looking for they will conduct a search in their records and archives and hopefully provide a report on his career, awards and decorations and unit history. It can sometimes takes up to 6 months for WASt to provide a reply via mail, so be patient. The link to this site is here:

(Click on Picture)

It is much more difficult if the relatives family does not have any documentation. Sometimes all they have is a story that "Grandfather fought at Arnhem". Unless he was a prominent officer or a soldier who won a decoration from the battle then it is hard to find information.

However in the unfortunate case that the relative was killed during the Battle of Arnhem then it can be easier to find information based on the grave records kept from the Battle. As estimated 1700+ graves have been identified as belonging to causalities of the battle but only about half of them have been identified. Many soldiers were buried as 'Unknown' during and after the battle.

Defending Arnhem now has in its possession a complete list of all casualties from the Battle of Arnhem. It is very detailed which can provide information such as name, rank, birth and death date as well as the unit the soldier belonged to. It also outlines the soldier's final resting place in Ysselstein Military cemetery. Here are some examples:

Last Name
First Name
Birth Date
Death Date
Death Location
Cemetery Reference
Arnhem Hospital
Pz.Gr.A.u.E.Btl 361
Arnhem Hospital
SS-Pz.Gr.A.u.E. 16

Knowing the soldier's unit can help relatives understand the events of the last days of his life. An example of this was when I assisted a relative of a Josef Schacher. All they knew was the birth date, estimated death date and burial location at Ysselstein. In a matter of minutes I was able to help them by providing all the details they required including the final events leading to his death on the battlefield. Josef Schacher's story can be found here.

Lastly in my possession are a number of original documents that make reference to German soldiers involved in the Battle of Arnhem. Some of these will be published on this site in the future whilst others will not.

If you require any assistance on finding information on a relative then please feel free to contact me here. I will be very happy to help you in this search.

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