1 Reply Latest reply on Dec 22, 2020 1:57 PM by Rachael Salyer

    Seeking Lost  POW Logbook

    Janice Goldman Wayfarer

      Where might I begin to search for a WWII POW European Theater of Operations logbook that was lost before the end of WWII?

        • Re: Seeking Lost  POW Logbook
          Rachael Salyer Pioneer

          Dear Ms. Goldman,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          Where you might search for information about the logbook will depend on a number of factors, including whether it relates to Allied or enemy prisoners of war (POWs), who was keeping it, what its purpose or function was, and so forth. Any additional details you can provide would help narrow the search parameters. Please also note that because the logbook you are interested in was created during wartime, it could have been lost or destroyed before the end of the war. In addition, only a small portion of records created by the Federal government, including the military, are considered permanent, so if the logbook survived the war, it may never have been accessioned into the National Archives. If you’re searching for information contained in the logbook, you also may be able locate that in other NARA resources.


          The National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) has custody of the Records of the Office of the Provost Marshal General (Record Group 389) that includes a master list of American prisoners of war of the German and Japanese Governments. These indexes consist of many volumes and have thousands of entries for individuals listed alphabetically by surname.  If you are interested in any particular prisoner and can furnish RDT2 with any identifying information about him, the RDT2 staff will be happy to search the records. Record Group 389 also includes enemy POW files; these records consist mostly of camp inspection reports, camp labor reports, camp historical files, detention rosters, POW grave location reports, and Italian service unit reports. Because the files are arranged by type of report or file and thereunder by the name of the camp, identification of the specific POW camp is necessary before a search can be conducted. There is no listing by state and the records include minimal information about individual POWs. Please contact RDT2 at archives2reference@nara.gov for assistance with these records. You also may conduct an advanced search in The National Archives Catalog to search for descriptions of records in Record Group 389.


          In addition, various data file listings of American prisoners of war are in the custody of the Electronic Records Division (RDE) and are available via AAD (Access to Archival Databases) on the National Archives website at: https://aad.archives.gov/aad/.  Click on "prisoners of war" under the "Genealogy/Personal History" category. A list of the databases will appear. Select the database pertaining to the war in which you are interested.


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Histories, 12/31/1943-5/8/1945, the series Reports, 1945-1946, and the series Provost Marshal Section Operations Reports, 5/1945-12/31/1946  in the Records of Headquarters, European Theater of Operations, United States Army (World War II) (Record Group 498) that all include some records related to the Recovered Allied Military Personnel Division, which may be of interest to you. Plus, the series Rosters of American Personnel in German Prisoner of War Camps, 1944-1945 in Record Group 498 may contain some relevant information. These records have not been digitized. Please contact RDT2 for information about and access to these records.


          Next, we located the series Alphabetical Index to World War II Prisoners of War, 1947-1954, the series Records Relating to World War II Prisoners of War, 1941-1947, the series Records Relating to Living and Deceased American Prisoners of War Held by the German Government, 1941-1947, the series Strength Returns, 1942-1954, and the series Central Decimal Correspondence Files, 1940-1945 in the Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1917 - 1985  (Record Group 407) that all contain information about prisoners of war during World War II. The World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 also are part of Record Group 407. If the logbook you are searching for is related to a particular army unit, then you may be able to locate some information about that unit in this series. These records have not been digitized. Please contact RDT2 with any questions you might have about them.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          If you are interested in information about enemy POWs, the personnel records of World War II German prisoners of war were returned to Germany. For access to these records, please write to the Deutsche Dienstelle (WASt), Postfach 51 06 57, D-13400 Berlin, Germany. The website is https://www.dd-wast.de/. Personnel records of Italian prisoners of war have been returned to Italy. For further information please write to the Ministero della Difesa-Esercito, Direzione Generale dei Servize di Commissariato e Amministrativi, Via XX Settembre No. 11, Rome, Italy or contact them via their website at https://www.difesa.it/Pagine/default.aspx.


          For information regarding prisoners of war and U.S. servicemen missing during WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, and other conflicts, we suggest you contact the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Public Affairs Office, 2300 Defense Pentagon, ATTN: External Affairs, Washington DC 20301-2300. The web site is https://www.dpaa.mil/


          Plus, you may wish to contact the National POW Museum, Andersonville National Historic Site, which is located at 496 Cemetery Road, Andersonville, GA 31711. The telephone number is (229)-924-0343 and the website is https://www.nps.gov/ande/index.htm.


          Finally, the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center may be able to offer you some assistance. Their address is 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA 17013-5021; the telephone number is (717)-245-3971, and their website is https://ahec.armywarcollege.edu/.


          We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!