A documentation project implemented under the program of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage — National Memorial Sites Abroad. The main objective of the program is to compile an inventory of Polish Memorial Sites and War Graves in Germany.
Polish Memorial Sites and War Graves in Germany
The project has been ongoing since 2017 and was initiated by the Foundation for ‘Polish-German Reconciliation’. The database we have created contains information about the graves of Poland’s citizens from the time of World War II that can be found in cemeteries and in other memorial sites in the Federal Republic of Germany.
The database aims at gathering all the available information, even if scarce at times, about the burial sites for Polish citizens - children, women and men - who, as soldiers, prisoners of concentration camps or other places of imprisonment, prisoners of war, or forced labourers were murdered or died as a result of war events, exhaustion, hunger or disease. Additionally, the database provides information about Polish citizens (so-called ‘displaced persons’) who, after the war, stayed in collective centres administered by various international organisations devoted to granting aid to refugees and who had died in Germany by June 1950.
However, not all of the Polish graves from that period of time have survived until today. Many of them have never been properly marked, and the cemetery records have failed to register a given funeral or any details concerning it. Moreover, after the war, some graves were dismantled while some individual graves ‘got lost’ during the exhumation or during the clean-up work carried out in the cemeteries. Another problem is that numerous victims were buried anonymously in mass graves. Through our database, therefore, we present some information about the persons interred in a given cemetery or in a given town or city even if it is impossible to establish their actual place of interment. In accordance with the German law and the provisions of the Polish-German treaties, war graves and graves of victims of war or tyranny are subject to legal protection, and are to be cared for and permanently preserved as a warning for generations to come.
All the information stored in our database comes from archival documents such as cemetery lists and lists of the deceased which were made just after the war by, above all, the Red Cross organisations, Polish diplomatic establishments, and from death certificates issued by German registry offices. A very important source of information about the Polish graves are the lists that have been handed over by the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e. V.) as well as by local self-governments, religious communities, administrations of particular cemeteries, museums and memorial sites.
The photographic documentation is mostly the outcome of our visits to the above places but, partly, has also been made available to us by cemetery administrations.
All the persons or organisations that are in possession of any documents of interest to us are kindly invited to cooperate and to share their knowledge with us.
This website serves as a memorial that commemorates Polish citizens who fell victim to German repression during World War II. Additionally, for many Polish families, our database is a source of information about the fate and the final resting place of their family members. Despite the 70-year time span between today and the end of World War II, there are those who are still searching for any traces of their relatives that have been pronounced as ‘missing’. Therefore, we kindly invite all those who are looking for information about victims or persons repressed under the German occupation to go to another website which is part of our project: www.straty.pl.
The main objective of the project Polish War Graves and Memorial Sites in Germany is to make sure that Polish citizens who died, were murdered or killed in war are guaranteed a worthy place of interment, and to take care of the graves that can be found outside our country.
Meanwhile, we would like to encourage everyone to come and visit the final resting places of Poles in Germany, to light a candle in the memory of the deceased and, if necessary, to clean up the place.
The project co-funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Fund for the Promotion of Culture, with the funds from revenues from gambling games subject to the gambling games monopoly, in accordance with the Gambling Games Act 1. Article 80 from 19 November 2009.
Public task financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within the grant competition “Public Diplomacy 2022”.