About the Germany, Military Killed in Action, 1939-1948
General collection information
This collection contains index cards detailing casualties of war from Germany between 1939 and 1948. All records are in German.
Casualty records are an excellent source for genealogical research, as they contain verified vital information as well as the names of family members.
Using this collection
Records in the collection may include the following information:
The deceased's next of kin information, if available, will be handwritten on the back of the card. Clicking on the arrow to the right of the image will display the back of the card.
If you don't speak German, knowing a few common words can aid in your search:
This collection can be especially helpful when used in conjunction with other Ancestry collections, such as casualty lists and German civil registration records. Information from this collection was submitted to the German Civil Registry (Standesbeamte).
Information from these records may help you find your ancestor in Ancestry's German Civil Registration deaths collection. You can use the name of the informant to tell whether or not your relative died while serving. Deaths in action were often reported to the Standesbeamte by a Wehrmacht agent. If your family member died outside of military service, the informant will likely be a family member.
Collection in context
Adolf Hitler created the Wehrmacht (Defense Force) to aid in the Nazis' forcible grab for power. The creation of the Wehrmacht actively undermined the military restrictions set by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. In 1939 the Wehrmacht instituted the Wehrmachtsauskunftstelle für Kriegsverluste und Kriegsgefangene (Wehrmacht Information Center for War Loss and Prisoners of War), commonly abbreviated as "WASt." After the war ended, WASt changed its name to Deutsche Dienststelle für die Benachrichtigung der nächsten Angehörigen von Gefallenen der ehemaligen deutschen Wehrmacht (German Office for the Notification of Next-of-Kin of Members of the Former German Armed Forces who were Killed in Action).
While commonly known as Deutsche Dienststelle, the abbreviation "WASt" is still used today. Since the end of World War II, WASt has aided in finding war criminals, supplying pension records, and tracing the graves of unknown soldiers.
More than 5.5 million German soldiers were killed over the course of World War II.
Fold3.com. "Germany, Military Killed in Action, 1939-1948." Last modified April 17, 2020. https://www.fold3.com/title/1104/germany-military-killed-in-action-1939-1948.
The National World War II Museum. "World War II Casualties by Country." Last modified May 10, 2020. https://www.nationalww2museum.org/students-teachers/student-resources/research-starters/research-starters-worldwide-deaths-world-war.