Searching for the Father
(As of 24. Juli 2018 )
The search for the father
The information on this website is for information only, to facilitate the search for the father and his family. Any legal claims (for instance for child support) are time-barred already and cannot be claimed any longer.
Everyone, who’s father belonged to the soviet military or a comparable service and a mother from a country, which belonged to the Soviet occupation zone, can search for his/her father and his family.
There are two possibilities:
– The name of the father is known
– The information about the father ist not precise or wrong
If you have information about the father like
– Surname, name; patronymic
– date of birth and birth place
– service grade, official position
you can send a request to the Russian archives. If you have a photograph, please send a copy of the photograph as well.
The request needs to be submitted in Russian language and the person submitting it needs to list the following information:
– full name
– current address
– date of birth and place of birth
– name of the mother of the war child
– birth certificate of the war child (with a Russian father) with a homologated translation into Russian language
– registration card of the person requesting the information
There are cases, where the place of the encounter of mother and father are unknown. In this case please specify the garrison, if it is known. Also, please specify the degree of kinship. We know searches admitted by grandchildren and other relatives. This is legitimate.
The majority of the fathers were service members of the Red Army/Soviet Army.
That’s why the research request should be admitted first to the Archive of the Russian Department of Defense / ZAMO (Point 2.1, see below).
The Russian Department of Defense has precise requirements for a request. Here is a translation of a letter from the consulate general in Frankfurt/Main in Germany, also see reply from June 13th, 2018.
Ladies and Gentlemen … ,
in regards to your request about archive information from the central archive of the Department of Defence of the Russian Federation please find the following information: Without specifications about the precise name of the military unit, that the person XY served in, the time of service (beginning, end of the month), the name of the troop, the patronymic of the sought-after, and the date or year/month of birth, the information from the archive cannot be retrieved.
For information: Artikel 7 and 19 of the Federal law, from July 27th, 2006, Nr. 152 „Personnel documents“: The central archive of the Department of Defense of the Russian Federation is not permitted, to give information to a third party, who is not related to the sought-after person without submission of notarially certified documents, verifying the kinship of the requester or his close relatives.
Please note the following:
1. We search for the father, to learn about him and to find out, if he really is the father.
The constitutions of many countries of the world list protection and support of families as very important in every society with humanistic values. That’s why it is our right, to search for our fathers and to expect support with our requests. Many of our fathers are not alive any more, but their families are part of our life, part of our family. Especially in countries of the former Soviet Union family values are held high.
We know from the experience of war children, who did find their fathers and families, that they were very happy they did find them.
2. Who hands in a request in Podolsk, knows the name of the father. This implies, that war children, who have been conceived violently or under other adverse circumstances, cannot hand in a request. Conversely, war children who know theirs father’s name descend from soviet army members who had relationships with german and austrian women. There would have been no other way to know the names.
Only if the military member enclosed his correct name to the mother, he can be identified as the father, and we, as the children are entitled, as mentioned by ZAMO, to retrieve information about him.
3. Our birth certificates mostly do not have the name of our father. In my case, one week after the entry of birth into the register of birth, the original page of the register was removed and the entry was renewed – without the name of the father.
Therefore we think, that the birth certificate of the war child with a homologated translation should be added to the search request. It confirms time and date of service of the father.
Furthermore there are relatives of war children, their children and grandchildren, submitting the search application. We think a registration card, also with a homologated translation, is necessary, since we do not have any other documents that prove our relationship to our fathers.
Requests to other archives can be submitted without additional documents. If you receive a negative reply, that the sought-after can not be found in the archive, please send the identical request to the other archives, see bullet points 2.2 and 2.3
We are often asked:
I am not positive about the correct spelling nor writing of the name, regarding „o“, „a“, „z“ or „tz“ , least of all in cyrillic writing…
The archives are aware of this and take it into consideration. They also search for similar names, to find the father. So please do not be discouraged to search for the father anyways, even if you might have misspelled the name.
If the father is found, the archives will give the following information:
Personal information, career, decoration, places of action.
You will receive the address, where the father lived, after he was relieved from his obligation.
This address is very old. Now you can search the equivalent republic, city and place.
For our work: We release the information about interactions with the archives, here at our website, so all war children can access it. If you have any relevant information or experiences regarding those archives, please let us know!
This will be more complicated. Our recommendations:
– Please overthink whom else you could ask about the father – family members, neighbors, friends of the mother, spouses, colleagues of the mother … anybody, who possibly could know something.
– Inquiries in regional museums: In my case I found an assignment of the SED-History-Omission, from the museum of the city of Dippoldiswalde, dating form the end of the 1960s, detailing many data of the supervisor of my father and photographs of him. These dossiers were compiled throughout the entire former GDR.
– Send requests to regional news papers, if they still have articles from that time.
– Search within Facebook, younger people usually have an account that can be used.
– If you find the name of the father, proceed as mentioned above. If you do not find the name, we offer the possibility, to search at our Website.
Since our website is increasingly being read in countries of the former Soviet Union, we recommend you hand in a Russian version of this text as well.
Even if it is difficult, we recommend that war children and their relatives put effort into the search.
If you have any questions, please contact us! We have a lot of experience we can share with you – and confidentiality is important to us.
Documents of the troops of the Red Army during the war from 1941 – 1945 can be found in within the archive of the Russian Defense Department / ZAMO
Zentralny archiv Ministerstwa oborony RF
142100, g. Podolsk
ul. Kirowa, 74
Russian National Military Archive Militärarchiv / RGVA
125212 Moskau, ul. Admirala Makarowa 29
Federalnaia Slushba Bezopasnosti (FSB Russia)
ul. Große Lubjanka 2
Department of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation HIAZRF
Novotscherjomushkinskaja uliza 67
UFSB of the Russian Federation / Omsk - Area
Documents of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) and documents of the Red Army only for the time period 1918 – 1940 (will only rarely be applicable)
National Archive of the Russian Federation ( GARF)
119992, Moscow Große Pirogowaja Str. 17
National Committee of the Red Cross of the Ukraine
Pushkinskaja uliza 30,
Kiev, Ukraine 01004
Inquiries in Englisch or Russian language:
Adress: Ministry of Absorption 2 Kaplan Street P.O. Box 13091 Jerusalem ISRAEL
German Office (WASt)
Eichborndamm 179 13403 Berlin
Tel: +49 (030) 41904-0 Fax: +49 (030) 41904-100
Foreign prisoners of war in german custody and dependants of regional organizations. Index of nations, with app. 1.500.000 cards: Personal data, mandates of different kinds, for instance military hospital notifications, death declarations, requests and so on
Here you can place a request regarding Soviet war prisoners:
In Russian language:
База данных советских военнопленных
База данных советских военнопленных содержит информацию о советских военнопленных времён Второй мировой войны, находившихся или в лагерях военнопленных или в рабочи
Data base about Soviet war prisoners
The data base contains personal data about Soviet war prisoners of World War II in german custody, who were situated in prisoner camps or on work order at german or formerly german territory.
Facebook – Our experience shows, that war children and their grand children usually have access to a Facebook-account, which can be used effectively to search for the father, his family and relatives.
We do not have an account due to the confidentiality of requests and replies.
Who found the father can research more details about the military career at:
This is offered by the Russian Department of Defense.
Information about military operations of the Red Army you can find at:
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/ (in Russian)
Here you will find information about the war fronts (the biggest military war formations). Who does not know the father, might be able to find information about his regiment.
We have information, that the program „Zhdi meja“ / "Жди меня" has a website in Russian language:
Here you find how to connect with the program. This also applies for the Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
If you have found the name of the father, and he stayed in the area of Kaliningrad after the war, you can send a request for further information in Russian language to the Center of Information at the Department of Internal Affairs / Kaliningrad Area:
Информационный центр при
Управлении Министерства внутренних дел
Советский Проспект 7
г. Калининград 236022