Why are so many records missing?

Why is it so hard to find genealogy information in the areas of Prussia, Poland, and Germany?

ADN-ZB/Kolbe/Berlin 1947: Beseitigung der Kriegsschäden in der Behrenstraße.
ADN-ZB/Kolbe/Berlin 1947: Beseitigung der Kriegsschäden in der Behrenstraße.
  • Where did all the information go?
  • Was the information moved to some safe place?

I hear this type of question and discussion often.

The answers to those questions are actually quite simple and brief; although achieving an appreciation and understanding of their response is often somewhat more elusive.

  • Question: Where did all the information go? Answer: Much was destroyed or lost, never to be recovered.
  • Question: Was the information moved to some safe place? Answer: The truth is there were few, if any safe places. Early ‘on the eve of destruction‘, many ‘crucial’ records/documents were moved to safe places. But once those ‘days of destruction’ truly arrived, even most of those safe places were destroyed. By then, there was no time left for documents, possessions, or things.  If you were lucky, it was simply a ‘run’ for your life.

Sadly, too many people today have no real appreciation or concept about what the world was like for their European families in the years between 1939 and 1950.  In order to provide a bit of insight without making any attempt to be political, I have gathered a number of YouTube links to help you visualize that world.  I will leave you to mull over & establish your own conclusions in terms of the politics and moralities of those circumstances and times. Also, I will not approve any political or otherwise incendiary discussion or comments here.

The purpose of this page is to simply present visual (video) images of those times, places, world. Hopefully when you have had a small peek into the window of that time & place, you will be able to better appreciate why so many records have ‘gone missing’.

Rather than having the YouTube video images appear here, I have simply made them available via hyper-link so that you might more readily pick and choose those videos of most interest to you.

  1. Königsberg 1945 (Newsreel)
  2. The Battle for East Prussia 1945 (Soviet Documentary)
  3. Berlin May 14, 1945 (color documentary)
  4. 1945 Last Film from the Oder Front – German Teen Soldiers 
  5. A Defeated People (UK War Department Film) 
  6. Frankfurt am Main, Germany (April 1, 1945)
  7. The Siege of Breslau 1945 (Polish Film)
  8. Stargard Pommern March 1945 (Soviet Film)
  9. Stettin before 1945 and shortly after war (Polish Film)
  10. Conquest of Elbing 1945 (Soviet Film)
  11. Danzig 1945
  12. Trümmerfrauen (Rubble Women)
  13. 1945: Leben in den Trümmern (Life in the Rubble)
  14. 1945: Durchhaltewahn (Unto the last)
For additional no-cost assistance online, please visit our Prussian-German Free Genealogy Help page.