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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) takes requests for information regarding Prisoners of War (POW’s) currently four times a year (subject to change in the future). Please check the website of the ICRC for the next submission date. See this previous article for more 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 Stalag Luft IV 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.
I have covered several resources for POW information in previous articles,
and to complete this series of articles, I have a few additional ideas for places you can search for POW information.
- Kriegsgefangen Lagar Der Luft VI and IV, a site with a lot of information about Stalag Luft VI and Stalag Luft IV, run by Gregory Hatton. This page includes links for a number of POW-related publications.
- Information about many of the POW camps courtesy of 392nd Bomb Group, Kriegsgefangenen Lagers: Home of the “Kriegie” Airmen
- “American Prisoners of War in Germany” prepared by the Military Intelligence Service War Department (see below for options to view/save) and obtained from the National Archives Catalog
- Foreign Records Seized, obtained from the National Archives Catalog (see below for search advice)
- Candy Kyler Brown’s website, Remember History
- Internet search of the Prison Camp name and number, if you know it
- Internet search of the individual combat groups of World War II. Type the Group Number and WWII in an internet search box and scour the Group’s site for MACR reports and any other POW information.
Keith Ellefson, 384th Bomb Group Combat Data Specialist and fellow volunteer researcher for the group, shared these resources – the “American Prisoners of War In Germany” document and the “Foreign Records Seized” search engine – he found in the National Archives Catalog. Thank you, Keith!
“American Prisoners of War in Germany” prepared by the Military Intelligence Service War Department options to view and save:
- View one page at a time by clicking each page and zoom to read
- Save/download or print (or just view) the entire document. At the lower right of the screen, which shows Image 1 of 112, click the double right arrow (>>) “Last Image” icon. On the redrawn screen, which shows “Automatic Zoom” at top middle, click the Download button on the right. You will be able to save the entire “731111-Box2197-Folder1.pdf” file to your computer. To print, click the Print button.
Foreign Records Seized, obtained from the National Archives Catalog search advice:
This record group is rather difficult to navigate and may not produce any results for you, but it does contain some German Downed Allied Aircraft Kampfflugzeug Unterlagen (KU) Reports. I was able to find a KU report by searching on my father’s name in this record group and will use my search as an example.
- Open the National Archives Catalog, Foreign Records Seized.
- Scroll down the page and click the “Search within this record group” button.
- At this point, you could just scroll through the records in the group as it contains a lot of interesting items, but to search for information about a POW relative, enter their first and last name in the search box in the top left and click the magnifying glass.
- I searched using my father’s name, George Farrar. I was presented with two pages of results.
- After scrolling through both pages of results, I could see that my father’s full name appeared only in the second result in the list: KU-3028. I clicked on that link to open the report.
- As with the “American Prisoners of War in Germany” report, I could scroll through each image or click the “Last Image” double arrow to download or print the entire document.
- Reviewing the items in the file, I see that some of the information pertains to my dad and his crew and some does not.
- I repeated the search using the name Harry Liniger, the waist gunner of the B-17 that collided with my dad’s on September 28, 1944. I found KU-3089 with that search.
- The results were certainly not as complete a picture as I had hoped for, but I did discover some previously undiscovered German records during the process.
- Kriegie Kids Facebook group, a fairly new group with currently a small number of members. If you are a Kriegie Kid, I urge you to join to connect with other Kriegie Kids, learn more about the WWII POW experience, and ask questions.
- Many of the WWII combat groups have Facebook group pages set up for NexGen members (and veterans) to connect, share information, and ask questions. Many of them include members who are researchers or historians of the group who will help you find information.
Many books have been written by WWII veterans or their children about POW experiences. Try a general internet search or start with a few of these. Most of these are available on Amazon, but the Shoe Leather Express books are out of print, so besides looking on Amazon, check Abebooks and other used book sources like eBay.
- The “Shoe Leather Express” book series by Joseph O’Donnell (note: Gregory Hatton’s website includes a portion of Joe O’Donnell’s Shoe Leather Express Book 1, the Preface and first two chapters)
- What I Never Told You: A Daughter Traces The Wartime Imprisonment Of Her Father by Candy Kyler Brown
- On the Wings of Dawn by Laura Edge
- C-Lager by David Dorfmeier
- The Last Escape by John Nichol and Tony Rennell
I’m certain I haven’t covered every available resource for learning more about the WWII POW experience, especially that of the Pacific Theatre, but this post is the final post of this series.
However, you should expect a lot more coverage on the subject of WWII POW’s here in the future as I continue my research into my father’s POW camp experience and the path of his march to liberation and freedom.
The German word for prisoner of war (POW) was Kriegsgefangener (singular) and Kriegsgefangenen (plural). The POWs called themselves “Kriegies” for short.
Links from previous posts in this series
NARA search of Records of World War II Prisoner of War
ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) Requests for Information About People Held POW
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022