There are estimates that between 15 and 20 million people were in German captivity during World War II. Around 9,000 of these were Norwegians and 1,400 of them ended their lives in the German concentration camps.
Whether you have Norwegian relatives who were sent to German concentration camps or relatives abroad who suffered the same fate, you can now find information about them online.
The Arolsen Archive, a German holocaust archive, now provides more than 13 million documents online. Among other things, you can read prison cards and death notices, making this a valuable source for genealogists.
Online for the first time
The Arolsen Archive hopes that the digitization will mean that researchers and relatives can learn more about the mass murders committed by German Nazis during World War II.
This is the first time the huge collection of documents has been made available online. Previously, you had to visit the Arolsen Archives in their premises about 140 km north of Frankfurt.
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Even then, it was not easy to gain access to the archives that were originally looked after by the Red Cross. The organization was criticized a long time for being too restrictive with who should get access to the files. Parts of the archives were made available in 2007 only after extensive pressure from the US .
The archive is a collection of the different archives that the Allies got hold of as death camp after death camp was liberated. Here you can search for the prison cards and the death notes from German concentration camps. The site is translated into German, English and Polish.
Only a fraction of those who were imprisoned
Although 13 million documents from German prison camps now are available online, they are just a documentation of 2.2 million people. In other words, only about 11% -15% of those who were imprisoned were found in the archives.
Although the fate of many people during World War II today cannot be documented, there are several online archives that can provide some answers: