How to research information on relatives who were soldiers during the Second World War or were refugees (DPs) in the West?
This information was prepared with input from Jānis Tomaševskis of the War Museum of Latvia (Latvijas Kaŗa Muzejs). Daugavas Vanagi thanks Jānis for his help in preparing this document.
Information from DV publications
- The Daugavas Vanagi books: ”Latviešu kaŗavīrs otra pasaules kaŗā” have lists of the fallen, descriptions of battles, histories of individual units (regiments, battalions etc) and many individuals are named. These books have been scanned and can be searched for individual and place names. The books can be found here: http://www.dvcv.org.lv/latviesu_karavirs_otra_pasaules_kara_laika
- The Daugavas Vanagi books: ”Laiks, telpa, ļaudis” chronicle Daugavas Vanagi activities across the globe in the period 1945-1991. and many individuals are named. These books have been scanned and can be searched for individual and place names. The books can be found here: http://www.dvcv.org.lv/laiks_telpa_laudis
Information about service in the Latvian Legion, POW camps and Soviet filtration camps
- The History Archive of the Latvian State Archive (LNA LVAA) contains details about service in the Latvian Legion. There is also information about legionnaire passes and legionnaires in POW camps in the West.
- The State Archive also contains information on prisoners in Soviet filtration camps and those who stood trial.
Information from German military archives
- The German Federal Archive in Berlin (what was Deutsche Dienststelle) – contains information about those who served in German units and the fallen. Link: https://ej.uz/Dienststelle
- The Military Archive of the German Federal Archive contains unit and other information. Link: https://ej.uz/Freiburg_MA
Information from LCK archived data
- The Latvian Central Committee (Latvijas Centrālā Komiteja – LCK), was founded in refugee times and coordinated Latvian refugee activities. Though the organisation no longer exists, information about the LCK can be found here: Baltijas bēgļu nometnes Vācijā (archiv.org.lv).
- At least some of the available information from the LCK archive can be found in the Latvian State Archive (Latvijas Valsts arhīvs: lvarhivs.gov.lv), or the History Archive (LNA LVAA see details above).
General information about refugees
Searchable information from historical publications
Various sources of historical archive information
- It’s often possible to get information about Latvian Legionnaires from the War Museum (see below). They have access to DV materials and also a database that has been developed by a private individual, Udo Sietiņš, with more than 100 000 legionnaires’ names. It is hoped that this database will eventually be more widely available (the DV has offered to help). Here is an article that references the work of the War Museum and archives Vēsturnieks Jānis Tomaševskis: 16. martu nedrīkst paslaucīt zem paklāja – Dienas Ziņas (dienaszinas.lv)
- The archive of the 15th Division of the Latvian Legion, and also information from the LCK, are contained in the Hoover Institute in Stanford University, in the USA (Hoover Institute). Most of that information has to be accessed in person (you need the permission of the USA DV to access the Legion archive). Eventually, the DV would like to make this material more easily accessible.
- If your relative travelled to the UK from the refugee camps (many travelled on further to the USA or Canada via the UK), you can look for naturalisation documentation or other paperwork at the UK’s National Archive. It’s worth remembering that names and place names might have been spelled differently in British documents to Latvian ones.
The list of sources of further information, below, has been prepared by Jānis Tomaševskis:
Information about people from Latvia who served in various military units of Nazi Germany (the Latvian Legion and others).
1) THE LATVIAN WAR MUSEUM (including part of the Daugavas Vanagi Latvian Legion archive)
Address: Smilšu iela 20, Rīga
Phone: (+371) 67 228 147
2) THE LATVIAN NATIONAL ARCHIVE
The Latvian State History archive (LNA LVVA) – re service in the Latvian Legion
Address: Slokas iela 16, Rīga
Phone.: (+371) 67 613 118
Online search tool (Search LNA): https://eresursi.arhivi.gov.lv/CoreBusiness/DescriptionUnits/F.PRP.VNB.A.MKL.aspx
P-180. fonds – Waffen SS administration "Ostland" services (social insurance documentation for those mobilised into the Legion etc)
296. fonds - 15. Waffen SS Grenadieru Division (latviešu Nr. 1) HQ (the collection includes information on various persons, mostly officers)
- The Latvian State Archive (LVA) – Legionnaire passes/ information on Latvians in Western POW camps/ information on Latvians in Soviet filtration camps/ information on individuals tried under the Soviet system
- Address: Bezdelīgu iela 1, Rīga
- Phone: (+371) 67 462 317
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Web: https://www.arhivi.gov.lv/lv/strukturvieniba/latvijas-valsts-arhivs
- Online search tool: http://www.archiv.org.lv/index.php?id=9099
- Useful collections:
- 2416. fonds – Latvian legionnaire personal documentation / the Daugavas Vanagu collection from the UK
- 2395. fonds – Hoover Institute (USA) archive collection (the LCK archive on refugee life)
- 1821. fonds – legal documentation from checks in Soviet filtration camps and on Latvia infhabitants incarcerated in prison camps
- 1986. fonds – The Latvian SSR NKVD criminal records of people accused of particularly dangerous anti-state activities
- 3) FEDERAL ARCHIVE OF GERMANY (BUNDESARCHIV) – information about military service/ the fallen/ lost in battle
- Address: Eichborndamm 179, D-13403 Berlin
- Phone: +49 (030) 41904-0
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: https://ej.uz/dienstelle
- Where can you find information on missing people (including soldiers) from the war?
- 4) LATVIAN RED CROSS (you have start with the Latvian Red Cross before searching with the German Red Cross)
- Phone: +371 26143344
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Web: https://www.redcross.lv/darbibas-jomas/meklesanas-dienests/
- 5) GERMAN RED CROSS
- Deutsches Rotes Kreuz - Suchdienst Hamburg
- Address: Amandastraße 74, 20357 Hamburg
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: https://www.drk-suchdienst.de/en/how-we-help/tracing/second-worldwar/online-tracing-request-second-world-war/
- 6) AROLSEN ARCHIVE – for missing persons/ people who were persecuted by Nazi Germany/ people in forced labour/ displaced persons (DPs) and others
- Arolsen Archives (was – International Tracing Service)
- Address: Große Allee 5 – 9, 34454 Bad Arolsen
- Web (information requests): https://arolsen-archives.org/en/search-explore/inquiries/submit-inquiry/
- Online search tool: https://collections.arolsen-archives.org/en/search
- Where can you research military units?
- 7) THE MILITARY ARCHIVE OF THE FEDERAL GERMAN ARCHIVE - (military unit history, copies of orders etc.)
- Bundesarchiv Abteilung Militärarchiv (Abt. MA)
- Address: Wiesentalstraße 10, 79115 Freiburg
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Web: https://ej.uz/bundesarhivs
- Where to get information on inhabitants of Latvia who served in Soviet military units? (the Red Army and others)
- 8) RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY CENTRAL ARCHIVE
- Online search tools:
- Information about the fallen / 130th Latvian Riflemen Corps lost in battle:
- The Russian Society in Latvia – information about Soviet war graves in Latvia
- The Red Army’s 130th Latvian Riflemen Corps and combined partisan brigades:
- PIEMIŅAS GRĀMATA (Book of Memory). 1941–1945. Dedicated to the 130th Latvian Riflemen Corps (2012), contains information about 19 241 fallen or lost in battle and burial locations.
- Online military databases, online search tools and useful links
- Soldiers in Red Army service, decorations, injured, fallen and missing in battle:
- Soviet POWs in Germany:
- Jānis Melderis's “6 000 latviešu virsnieku likteņi Otrā pasaules kara gados” (2017) – (the fate of 6,000 Latvian officers during WWII)
- List of the buried in Latvia’s cemeteries:
- List of fallen and missing Latvian Legionnaires whose names are engraved in the walls at Lestene Brethren Cemetery (with their last military unit and rank). From the document and memory collection in the books “Latviešu karavīrs Otrā pasaules kara laikā”:
- Volume 10 http://gramatas.lndb.lv/periodika2-viewer/?lang=fr#issue:650114
- Volume 11 http://gramatas.lndb.lv/periodika2-viewer/?lang=fr#issue:650116
- (Both these volumes are also available at Latviešu karavīrs Otrā pasaules kara laikā - DV Centrālā Valde (dvcv.org.lv))
- Search in the Latvian National Archive:
- Search in the State Archive of the Latvian National Archive:
- Search in the Arolsen Archive:
- Search in “Zvaigzne” – discovered soldiers and other lists:
- The “Brāļu kapu komiteja” (re military cemeteries in Latvia and the fallen):
- Online search tool of the German National Federation cemeteries’ commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V) for burial records:
- Prepared by: © Jānis Tomaševskis, Latvijas Kara muzejs