Reminder! The next window to place a request for Prisoner of War (POW) records from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) opens on 24 January 2022 at 8:00 (GMT +1). Please see this previous article for details.
My father, George Edwin Farrar, was an American Prisoner of War (POW) of Germany during World War II. The Nazis called the prisoners “Kriegsgefangenen.” The POWs called themselves “Kriegies.” That makes me, the daughter of POW #3885, a “Kriegie Kid.”
As a Kriegie Kid, I am naturally interested in discovering information about my father’s Prisoner of War experience and have found various ways to search for details.
One option to find at least summary information with a few details is NARA’s (National Archives and Record Administration’s) Access to Archival Databases (AAD). Let’s start with a name search in the Archival Databases.
NARA – AAD
Open the NARA – AAD webpage.
Enter the POW’s name in the “Search AAD” text box and click the Search button.
Review the list of the results and find Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 – 1947, documenting the period 12/7/1941 – 11/19/1946 in the list.
Click on View Records.
When you find the correct record in the records list, click on the document icon in the View Record column.
As an example, I am including my father’s POW record from NARA – AAD. The information provided includes:
- Date of capture, here listed as Report Date – September 28, 1944 for my dad.
- Bomb Group, here listed as Parent Unit Number – 384th Bomb Group for my dad.
- Place of capture, here listed as Area – European Theatre, Germany for my dad.
- Last Report Date – July 13, 1945 for my dad. I am not certain of how this date was assigned. It was not the date of his liberation (May 2, 1945) or the date he was returned to US military control (May 8, 1945), and between July 2 and July 17, 1945, he was reportedly on a ship returning to the states.
- Detaining Power – Germany for my dad.
- POW Camp, here listed as Camp – Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16 for my dad.
File unit: World War II Prisoners of War Data File, 12/7/1941 – 11/19/1946
|NAME||FARRAR GEORGE E||FARRAR GEORGE E|
|GRADE, ALPHA||S SG||Staff Sergeant|
|GRADE CODE||4||Major or Asst. superintendent of nurses or Director of nurses or Director of dietitians or Director of physical therapy aides or Staff Sergeant or Technician 3d Grade or Lt. Commander or Petty Officer, 2nd Class|
|ARM OR SERVICE||AC||Air Corps|
|ARM OR SERVICE CODE||20||AC: AIR CORPS|
|DATE REPORT: DAY (DD)||28||28|
|DATE REPORT: MONTH (MM)||09||09|
|DATE REPORT: YEAR (Y)||4||1944|
|RACIAL GROUP CODE||1||WHITE|
|STATE OF RESIDENCE||43||Georgia|
|TYPE OF ORGANIZATION||S53||Heavy Bomber|
|PARENT UNIT NUMBER||0384||0384|
|PARENT UNIT TYPE||06||Group/Regiment/Commands/System|
|AREA||72||European Theatre: Germany|
|LATEST REPORT DATE: DAY (DD)||13||13|
|LATEST REPORT DATE: MONTH (MM)||07||07|
|LATEST REPORT DATE: YEAR (Y)||5||1945|
|SOURCE OF REPORT||1||Individual has been reported through sources considered official.|
|STATUS||8||Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated|
|CAMP||091||Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16|
|POW TRANSPORT SHIPS|
Note that you may not immediately find the search name in the records. It is possible that the record is missing from the database, but it may just be that the name has not been recorded correctly or in the expected format.
I have had difficulties with some names, for instance one that begins with Mc, like McDougall. The database seems to record a name beginning with Mc with a space between the “Mc” and the rest of the last name. Try entering a last name beginning with Mc with the space, like “Mc Dougall” instead of “McDougall.”
In the case that your search does not return the correct record, if you do have the POW’s US military Serial Number, enter that number in the search box rather than the name and the search engine may find the correct record in the database.
Learning a few facts about your POW relative’s internment is a good place to start, but it’s just the beginning. And the information you find in a NARA – AAD search may help you fill in some of the information needed to request POW records from the ICRC, too.
- The German word for prisoner of war (POW) was Kriegsgefangener (singular) and Kriegsgefangenen (plural). The POWs called themselves “Kriegies” for short.
- On the NARA – AAD Search Results page, you may also find the POW’s enlistment record in the World War II Army Enlistment Records, created, 6/1/2002 – 9/30/2002, documenting the period ca. 1938 – 1946 results.
Kriegie Kids Facebook group
NARA search (NARA – AAD webpage) of Records of World War II Prisoner of War
ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) Requests for Information About People Held POW
To be continued with more options for finding POW information for Kriegie Kids…
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022