Many families still do not know what happened to their relatives after they were deported. But family history is enormously important when it comes to making room for remembrance.

The Arolsen Archives research paths of persecution, help search for graves and, even today, unite families who were torn apart by the Nazi regime. Year after year, we receive inquiries about more than 20,000 people; about two thirds of these inquiries come from relatives. The numbers remain high, even though it is now rare for survivors themselves to contact the Arolsen Archives. Today, most search requests come from the generations of the children and the grandchildren. The trauma experienced by their relatives affects them today, all these years on. Finding out more about the past, helps them to find their roots and better understand their family history. Survivors often could not or would not talk about their experiences of Nazi persecution. Sometimes family secrets may also be involved, such as children born out of wedlock or families who were left behind. After the death of the generation of their parents or grandparents, many people feel a deep-seated need to look closely into the past and use every opportunity to find traces of their own family history or missing relatives.

»There are no documents, no photos, no clothes, no toys, absolutely nothing from before and during the Shoah. For this reason, the three copies from the time of my father’s concentration camp imprisonment are of special importance to me. These are the only three documents of his entire life prior to his liberation.«

René Manu, Son of Daniel Manu, a Greek Jew from Thessaloniki. The National Socialists brought him and his whole family to the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Daniel Manu was the only one to survive.

Are you looking for information about victims of Nazi persecution?

Please fill out the form with all the information you have on your family members. We are glad to research for you!

To the inquiry form

How do the Arolsen Archives respond to inquiries?

We can respond to more than 50 percent of all inquiries with information based on the documents in our archive. People who send us an inquiry receive copies of the documents concerned complete with explanatory notes at the bottom edge of the image. Where did the document come from, why was it issued? The notes explain this this and much more. We will also send you tips and addresses for further research. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us: we will send you an evaluation of the documents on request.

If the archive does not contain any relevant information, we will do our utmost to give you useful tips on other archives, authorities, administrations and memorials who might be able to help you in your research.

We cannot always answer inquiries in your native language. As well as answering in German, we can also answer in English, French, Polish and Russian.

Inquiries from Central and Eastern Europe

National Socialist terror hit the people of Central and Eastern Europe particularly hard. Not least because of the east-west conflicts of the post-war period, it was impossible for many families to search for missing relatives who had been exploited as forced laborers or deported to concentration camps. In order to draw the attention of families affected to the research services provided by the Arolsen Archives, we are working with a number of partner institutions as well as with the media. The #StolenMemory exhibition and campaign also gives us the opportunity to find new partners and make the archive better known as we research in different countries. We are particularly keen to help family members from Central and Eastern Europe to finally find the information they have long been searching for: this could be information about the path of persecution, information on where their relatives died and were buried or information related to an active search for other relatives.


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