WASt versus DRK

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Piet Duits
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WASt versus DRK

Post by Piet Duits » 21 Nov 2021 21:57

Hi all,

I hope someone here can answer my questions about missing soldiers.
The Vermisstenbildlisten from the DRK were always a great source of information and despite the many errors in it, I still use it a lot.
However, I have found that there's material from the WASt online and those lists do not always match with the DRK.
First of all, the material from the WASt were gathered DURING the war, and shows when the next of kins were informed on the missing or death of their loved ones. The Vermisstenbildlisten were made AFTER the war. Soldiers who were on these lists really didn't make it home, whilst those from the WASt could, as the missing soldiers could be POW's back in 1945. Is that assumption correct?

Now the strange thing. Many soldiers shown in the Vermisstenbildlisten are NOT shown in the material from the WASt. How is that possible?

Does my questions make any sense?

Piet

Halfdan S.
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Re: WASt versus DRK

Post by Halfdan S. » 21 Nov 2021 23:43

Piet Duits wrote:
21 Nov 2021 21:57
I have found that there's material from the WASt online ...
Please post link - the link I found didn't work.

Cheers
Halfdan S.

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Piet Duits
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Re: WASt versus DRK

Post by Piet Duits » 22 Nov 2021 09:43

Schermafdruk 2021-11-22 09.40.32.png
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LuckyStrike23
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Re: WASt versus DRK

Post by LuckyStrike23 » 22 Nov 2021 17:13

Piet Duits wrote:
21 Nov 2021 21:57
Hi all,

I hope someone here can answer my questions about missing soldiers.
The Vermisstenbildlisten from the DRK were always a great source of information and despite the many errors in it, I still use it a lot.
However, I have found that there's material from the WASt online and those lists do not always match with the DRK.
First of all, the material from the WASt were gathered DURING the war, and shows when the next of kins were informed on the missing or death of their loved ones. The Vermisstenbildlisten were made AFTER the war. Soldiers who were on these lists really didn't make it home, whilst those from the WASt could, as the missing soldiers could be POW's back in 1945. Is that assumption correct?

Now the strange thing. Many soldiers shown in the Vermisstenbildlisten are NOT shown in the material from the WASt. How is that possible?

Does my questions make any sense?

Piet
The WASt (today Bundesarchiv) is the original (period) source. All the other organizations got their information from them. The DRK "Suchlisten" had been published with the hope that somebody could provide any information about the missing man. It could indeed be the case that the one or another of these guys managaged to get home in the 1950´, but the majority was already dead when the books had been published

LuckyStrike23
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Re: WASt versus DRK

Post by LuckyStrike23 » 22 Nov 2021 17:16

Piet Duits wrote:
21 Nov 2021 21:57


Now the strange thing. Many soldiers shown in the Vermisstenbildlisten are NOT shown in the material from the WASt. How is that possible?

Does my questions make any sense?

Piet
Yes, this is very logical. Ancestry provides data about the fallen soldiers and the Suchlisten missing personnel. In fact, the missing personnel was in 99% of the cases dead as well, but the people did not know that fact in 1949/50.

Blanusa
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Re: WASt versus DRK

Post by Blanusa » 22 Nov 2021 18:42

It is my understanding that the DRK Vermisstenbildliste were compiled based on search querys made by relatives or comrades after the war, more like a Suchdienst. In many cases the soldiers were found and the case could be closed, while other cases are still open and without a trace. The Red Cross did not compile or keep track of Verlustmeldungen, they simply tried to find out a missing persons fate. For this purpose they had among other thing the Heimkehrer-Erklärung, where comrades could leave written testimonies and information (see attached for example) that helped bring clarity to a query/case. That is why DRK Vermisstenbildliste mostly covers cases from 1944 and especially 1945.

WASt had the job of keeping straight records, thus they documented and kept accurate Verlustmeldungen. Sometimes their data could bring closure to a DRK query. However, as the war drew to a close, documents from units at the front did not always find their way to proper offices. Many times the situation at the front changed rapidly over just one day and documents could be lost due to the unit burning them or enemy units capturing the unit archive.


Best regards
Blanusa
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LuckyStrike23
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Re: WASt versus DRK

Post by LuckyStrike23 » 22 Nov 2021 19:04

Blanusa wrote:
22 Nov 2021 18:42

WASt had the job of keeping straight records, thus they documented and kept accurate Verlustmeldungen. Sometimes their data could bring closure to a DRK query. However, as the war drew to a close, documents from units at the front did not always find their way to proper offices. Many times the situation at the front changed rapidly over just one day and documents could be lost due to the unit burning them or enemy units capturing the unit archive.


Best regards
Blanusa
WASt kept all kind of records. If a man was missing, this was written down in his "Kartei". Those cards are preserved until today. You will also find further information long after the end of the war, when relatives for example asked for information or the status of the search for a missing man.
In the card of my grandfather was even his date of death written down (1988). The only possible explanation is that somebody wrote it after my first inquiry 20 years ago (I mentioned his death there).

Blanusa
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Re: WASt versus DRK

Post by Blanusa » 22 Nov 2021 19:14

LuckyStrike23 wrote:
22 Nov 2021 19:04

WASt kept all kind of records. If a man was missing, this was written down in his "Kartei". Those cards are preserved until today. You will also find further information long after the end of the war, when relatives for example asked for information or the status of the search for a missing man.
In the card of my grandfather was even his date of death written down (1988). The only possible explanation is that somebody wrote it after my first inquiry 20 years ago (I mentioned his death there).
Of course WASt kept all kinds of records and long after the war as well. They compiled their database from many different sources and documents and their information was used to validate veteran pensions, among other things. This was not the question in the original post though. It is a fact that WASt does not hold complete records for at least the last year of the war. For instance, how many records survive in German archives from Heeresgruppe Mitte after their breakdown during the summer 1944? Many records are missing from 1945, specifically there are few to none from the units that were trapped in Berlin. WASt can't hold records that don't exist.


Best regards
Blanusa

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Piet Duits
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Re: WASt versus DRK

Post by Piet Duits » 22 Nov 2021 21:05

Well, Blanusa, you might be surprised!
To my big surprise I already found a lot of interesting (for me) lists of missing and killed men from destroyed units from the eastern front, summer 1944. In one particular case I was surprised to see that the totals almost reached the authorized strength.

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Piet Duits
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Location: Oudenbosch, Netherlands

Re: WASt versus DRK

Post by Piet Duits » 22 Nov 2021 21:12

Thanks for the answers so far guys! Very informative!

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