German WWII soldiers’ identity cards now accessible to the public

The Military Archive Central Registry in Prague recently made the decision to copy and make available to the public approximately 1,160 German military identity cards from the Second World War era.

Military Central Archives in Prague - Ruzyne
Military Central Archives in Prague - Ruzyne

The copies include selected identity pages from ‘Wehrpass’ books which belonged to the Wermacht armed forces of Nazi Germany. The book contained information about the conscript and was issued to each draftee at the time of registration to the military.

The Wehrpass not only included personal data of soldiers, but also extensive details of their careers, such as units served with, battles, awards, injuries, illnesses, promotions and miscellaneous notes. The list of soldiers’ names can be found alphabetically by family name on the Czech language website: List.

Both ‘Reich Germans’ and ‘Volksdeutsche’ (non-Reich Germans) held the Wehrpass.

For the purpose of this online exhibition, the Military Archives used their own collection of the so-called ‘WWII trophy fund’ of German provenance. The collection was discovered on Czech territory in the Waffen SS War Archives which had been abandoned by the German army at the end of the war.

About 90 percent of the identity cards belonged to SS members (Waffen SS), some of whom served as guards in the concentration camps, and this fact would likely pique the interest of many international historians.

At the end of the last century, the complete Czech trophy fund collection was made available to the British and Americans who were, at the time, tracking down WWII Nazi war criminals. The German authorities also, subsequently, became interested in the contents of the collection.

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By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

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October 13, 2017