Arolsen Archives quietly adds 13 million more WWII records…

It was only last summer when Arolsen Archives- International Center on Nazi Persecution expanded its database to 13 million records on displaced persons and Nazi persecution victims.

Now, the database has doubled in size with records on forced laborers and deportations to concentration camps. It is quite the gift to have these documents online at this time.

This free database is well-worth searching if you had relatives or ancestors who were displaced or persecuted during WWII. The records are available for downloading without requiring registration.

The English database only can be searched by names or topics. I recommend searching by names. The results can be filtered by religion, nationality and family status.

With the database being so large, it naturally will have some errors. My grandfather’s name is spelled as Sergej and Serzej and his birth date is listed as March 21 and April 21 on the database.

Here are some tips to take full advantage of this wonderful database:

  • Remember that people during WWII lied on records to survive so be open-minded when viewing records. My grandfather lied that he was born in Bialystok, Poland, instead of Kyiv, Ukraine.
  • Use a text document to keep track of which relatives and ancestors you have searched.
  • Consider every possible relative and ancestor who was affected by WWII. A document on a distant cousin could have information that can breakdown a brickwall.
  • Don’t ignore matches that seem off by a month, day or year for birth dates. The dates may have been mistyped for the database.
  • Another date issue is the switching of Julian calendar dates to the current Gregorian calendar. It can affect dates involving immigrants from the former USSR. Check out this page for more information.
  • Use every known spelling of your relatives or ancestors before giving up searches on them.
  • Remember village, town and city names can change over time. Before eliminating matches by location, research the locations for name changes.
  • Germans switch y’s to j’s and v’s to w’s. Also vowels may be switched, too.
  • Make sure to view all the results for your searches, even matches with limited information. Check out the records for each match to confirm whether they are connected to your family.
  • Remember to download records, even those that are not definite matches.
  • When you find different spellings for your relatives and ancestors, consider using those spellings when searching for them in other databases.

If searches come up empty, requests to Arolsen Archives can be made here. It could take up to 2 years to receive a response by e-mail.

Arolsen Archives still has about 4 million records to post online. Follow this blog with the top right button to learn about the next update to this database.

Related posts:

Massive database reveals priceless information on rebels of the Russian Revolution

Database of political terror victims in the USSR explodes past 3 million

Major update to WWII database honors 75th victory anniversary

New WWII Soviet Army database gives faces to veterans

22 thoughts on “Arolsen Archives quietly adds 13 million more WWII records…

  1. gabe

    This is wonderful. Thanks so much. Wow. Found info about my parents’ crossing in 1953, which I already knew, but great to have actual ship documents.

    Still disappointed that I can’t find lists about my parents’ time as Soviet POWs (father as a soldier and mother as a civilian). I have their release papers but nothing about where exactly they were. Any suggestions? Thanks.


    1. Sorry. I just saw your message. The Germans handed over 20,000 documents this week on Soviet Army soldiers held as POWs. It is hard to find information on Soviet military POWs. I should look into this. If you are referring to your mother as persecution victim of Soviet times, search here- and (for Ukrainians only). You will need to know Russian to use the databases or use Google Translate. If your mother isn’t there, I can help you request extraction of her persecution file. Just email at bepa. miller at mail. ru.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lots to check out here. This is great. I found my grandfather’s file while in Zhitomir (1937 Great Terror victim). My mom had never known what had happened to him. And I was able to figure out the family’s Siberian exile in 1930. but this post-war stuff had always eluded me. Thanks for the links. It might take me a while. But with COVID19 around, I might have the time.


    2. I have looked into the POW issue for your father. Email This is the Russian Federal Security Bureau. Write them in Russian, stating your relationship and the information you are seeking. Make sure to include your postal address in case they won’t send information by e-mail.


  2. mthorman0350eb3471

    Hello Vera, thank you for sharing. I found my grandfather, so yay new documents to add to his file. Like yours my gf also lied about his occupation….he wasn’t a farmhand but a 2nd lieutenant in the Hungarian army.
    Again, thanks for sharing.
    Cheers, Michelle

    Get Outlook for Android


    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Thank you so much for posting about this! They’ve added my family!!!! They were sent into the Soviet Union, not Germany as they lived in the Kresy region. Also, they were Catholic, so I understand why their records weren’t as important as those of Holocaust victims. So very grateful to you!


      1. Exciting to know there are still more records coming. There’s a hint in the search results that they might have information about my dziadek who disappeared after being arrested and sent to the Soviet Union, from Krzemieniec, in the autumn of 1939… Also, no DP cards for my uncles, nor a card for my great-uncle who I know was in Offlag IVB. He was a police officer in Warsaw before the war and sent a Red Cross postcard from the prison camp to my babcia which I have in my collection.

        Thanks again for this wonderful blog 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A database with USSR citizens who were in German labor camps will be posted online sometime in the future. I am waiting for that database. Follow my blog with the top right button if you want to catch news on that database. The organization hasn’t announced a release date but I am watching the website regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the follow! This is a great time for genealogy in the former USSR. My journey has been unreal and unpredictable because the information getting online I never expected to see.


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