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
Information about service in the Latvian Legion, POW camps and Soviet filtration camps
Information from German military archives
Information from LCK archived data
General information about refugees
Searchable information from historical publications
Various sources of historical archive information
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
Useful collections:P-180. fonds – Waffen SS administration "Ostland" services (social insurance documentation for those mobilised into the Legion etc)
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
Online search tool: http://www.archiv.org.lv/index.php?id=9099
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
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
5) GERMAN RED CROSS
Deutsches Rotes Kreuz - Suchdienst Hamburg
Address: Amandastraße 74, 20357 Hamburg
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.)
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
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
The magazine ‘Ir’ also suggests the following sites:
Raduraksti.arhivi.lv — The portal for the Latvian National Archive.
Ciltskoks.lv — A portal put together by Egīls Turss, where data indexed by volunteers and other sources and information are available
Familysearch.org — A site administered by the Mormon church, where church records and genealogical records from around the world, including Latvia, are maintained.
There are social media groups for people with an interest in this, for example Dzimtas detektīvs Facebook, where you can find useful information and advice.