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Military government weekly information bulletin
No. 41 (May 1946)

[Highlights of policy],   pp. 5-12 PDF (4.0 MB)


Page 8

to operation. Only 56 of the employees
who had been at work in Fuerstenhagen
were brought to Berlin, and about 600
more were hired locally. All the em-
ployees have been vetted by the Public
Safety Branches of the US, British or
French, respectively. The files are now
located in barracks formerly occupied by
Berlin Police Guards, next to Tempelhof
Airport. Administratively the agency is
part of the Ministerial Collecting Center.
The first actual notification of death
by the new agency was made ion
15 February 1946. On the first day 20
notices were mailed. With the hiring and
training of additional help the number of
completed notices increased' by leaps and
bounds. By the end of February, 611
notices had been sent out. By the end of
March a total of 9,000 notices represen-
ted an average day's work. To the end of
April about 386,000 notifications have
been made; but the task of mailing 'out
the more than 600,000 remaining is a
appaling one - and the work is schedu-
led to be completed by June 1.
NO FLOWERY STATEMENTS
The official notification which is sent
out today differs vastly from the flowery
mass of verbiage which the Germans em-
ployed to tell the next of kin about the
son, father, brother, etc. who had fallen.
"gallantly defending the fatherland." Now
a simply worded declaration tells the
essential facts: The name of the indi-
vidual, the date and place of birth, date
and place of death, whether the indivi-
dual died, was killed, committed suicide
or was executed, the location of the grave
and, finally, the registry office to which
the official death -notification has been
mailed. Unfortunately, in many instances
-all of this information is not available.
Many of these notices are being returned
to the dispatching agency because of
misinformation in the German records:
Incorrect addresses, incorrect spelling of
names, and the lack of a forwarding
address. Often, too, the home to which
the card was mailed had been destroyed.
Whatever the reason, about 200 notices
are returned daily because of non-deliv-
ery.
Word soon spread among the civilian
population that information concerning
the fate of missing kinsmen in the for-
mer Wehrmacht was being made avail-
able by the Americans. Immediately in-
dividual requests began to pour in from
Germans in Germany And in the rest 'of
Europe. Many pathetic letters were re-
ceived from Austria, Poland, Czechoslo-
vakia., France, England and Denmark. At
pres'ent close to 5,000 individual requests
are received daily. Unfortunately the bulk
of them cannot be honored because it
would seriously hamper the work of
mailing out the great mass of cards
in the process of preparation. And yet
the anxiety expressed in them is under-
standable. In many cases widows    of
fallen German soldiers write in and wish
to be notified officially of the demise
so that they can re-marry. These cases
are completed, if possible. But the overa.ll
task 'of dispatching notifications is re-
garded as being more important in the
long run than furnishing information to
individuals . who have already learned
officially the fate of their kin.
FACTUAL RECORDS AVAILABLE
From records maintained in Berlin to-
day one may learn any or all of the
following facts relating to the Wehr-
macht:
Name of members of the German Army
and Air Force units at a given period
during the time the unit was organized.
The names of Allied nationals serving
with the German Armed Forces (except
Naval).
* Home address and next of kin of per-
sons wanted for war crimes.
Information of legal value to German
courts for property settlements, marri-
ages, insurance, etc.
(CAontinued on page 11)
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