This record group mainly includes post-war registrations of displaced persons (DPs) in various DP camps in Germany and Europe and general registrations of DPs on other continents. In particular the latter registrations were not made in camps, but carried out by governmental agencies, mostly by consulates. But also in Germany and other European countries, files/records were produced on DPs who had not been accommodated in camps, but elsewhere as so-called “Free Living Groups”.
Organization and Arrangement
Physically, this record group consists of 438 archival containers (folders), 37 bound books and a series of new archival entries, i.e. documents catalogued later than 1999 and available on microfilm or electronic data medium only.
The record group in the folders has been organized by geographic criteria throughout. The following folder series are available:
- DP camps in Germany (folders 0001-0368a)
- DP camps in Austria (folders 0369-0384)
- Registrations of DPs in other European countries (folders 0385-0389)
- Registrations of DPs in Africa, Asia and South America (folders 0390-0395).
Below this main classification level, a subdivision of the documentary material is made by single camps (inasmuch as several camps had been established in the respective area). For bigger camps in particular, the subdivision complies with the type of document (e.g. reports on DPs’ numbers, reports on changes in DPs’ numbers, repatriation, etc.). And finally, on the very basic level, the documents are mostly arranged chronologically. Clearly labelled separation sheets in between the pages point to this structure and are meant to help the user find his way. The digitization of the documents mainly kept up the structure of the paper file deposit reproducing and representing it in the electronic archives. The digital folder names correspond with the names of their actual analogues for archival containers and books. All numbers were increased to have four digits starting with zero(s); when a folder was added, the letter of the alphabet standing for the folder was coupled to the four-digit number. In preparation of the digitization process, the folders were given a new pagination. Most of the reference cards (sample cards indexed) were not part of the pagination scheme, though. In case the page numbering turned out to have gaps or page numbers were inserted in addition, such incidents were detected and documented by the quality control management. The respective proof of check/control is added to the single folder as page ‘0000'.
Other Finding Aid
The following index data were registered and linked to the documents; i.e. they can be used directly for research processes in the digital archives:
- Reference numbers used by UNRRA/IRO (until 1951)
The reference numbers of the F …, AL …, GCC … and OCC … series noted down on the documents are searchable by means of the search field “Old file number – reference number”. Data on the respective Area Team of UNRRA or IRO in charge (AT xxxx) were not registered as reference number, but as Area Team number and can be found in the respective field of the “DP search criteria”.
- Previous page number
Whenever the documents showed page numbers of a previous pagination by the ITS meanwhile expired, these numbers were registered in the field “Old file number – previous page number”. Thus, they may be used for research processes based on the reference cards of the Central Name Index pointing to these page numbers.
- T/D number
All cross references to finally processed inquiries noted down on the documents were registered in the attributes’ field “Inquiry data – T/D number”. That is to say: these documents will automatically appear in the results’ list a complete search for the respective T/D number yields.
- Indication of places
Wherever possible, the correct data on “country”, “federal state/province”, “district”, “town/community” and “addendum” (e.g. part/suburb of a community) were linked to the documents. Within Germany and Austria, that data linkage was partially translated into practice up to the district level only. As regards other countries, a geographic subdivision is often lacking which means that data are available for “country” and “town/community” only, and in some cases for “country” only. The documents produced on the occupation zones’ level in Germany have a special status in that the data “British zone” or “French zone” were also registered here under “federal state”. Otherwise, the entry format for “district” is consistent with general practice: rural districts were registered simply under their names, while the abbreviation “SK” preceded the names of towns independent from district administration (“Stadtkreise”=town districts).
- Name of the camp
The name of the respective camp concerned was registered in the separation sheets contained in the folder and linked to all documents – before the next relevant separation sheet. Depending on the labelling of the separation sheets, the names of actual camps may appear here as well as the names of hospitals, terms coined to name specific groups of persons (e.g. “Free Living Group”) or similar data not identical with a camp’s name, but possibly helpful for the research process e.g. based on a reference card of the Central Name Index.
- Indications of the numbers’ system used by the DP administration
Numbers of the single organizational units or departments in charge noted down on the separation sheets were also registered, but linked exclusively to the separation sheet. This means for the user that when his search has yielded the separation sheet concerned he will have to go on by manually leaving through the folder.
The following numbers were registered as searchable index data:
No. AC: number of the respective assembly center for DPs concerned (also DPAC, DP assembly center),
No. DPACS/DPACCS: number of the administrative staff of the assembly center (DP assembly center staff),
No. Area: number of the DP administrative area (Area),
No. Area Team: number of the administrative team in charge of caring for the DPs. Frequently preceded by “AT”, this number was often noted down on documents as well as on reference cards of the Central Name Index and used by the ITS like a reference number,
No. Team: number of an ancillary single team also used by the ITS like a reference number (preceded by “T”).
- Type of document
This date was registered also on the basis of details mentioned in the separation sheets and linked to all documents in between the respective separation sheets concerned. The following data were registered: administrative records, reports on DPs’ numbers, reports on changes in DPs’ numbers, repatriation, emigration, children, births, marriages, divorces, deaths, search lists. If separation sheets were missing or in between the separation sheet of the camp and the first marking of a type of document, the documents were subsumed under the category titled “General”.
- Year, nationality, title of the document
If the documentation available on a single camp or a category (e.g. reports on DPs’ numbers or changes in these numbers) is voluminous, the paper holdings may contain further separation sheets either including indications of date, nationality of the persons mentioned or further details on the succeeding list or documents. These data were also registered and linked to all documents – before the next separation sheet. The year mentioned (in the indication of date) was entered into the attributes’ field “DP search criteria – year”, the nationality indicated was noted down in the attributes’ field “Nationality of persons” and other data were transferred into the attributes’ field “DP search criteria – title of the document”. All the three data types may be used for research processes.
The reference cards produced before 1952 show as location in the archives either reference numbers of the “F” file groups, or more sporadically also of the “AL” file groups, often, however, the numbers of the Area Team (AT xxxx) mostly giving further precisions such as indications of places or camp names. If a reference number of the “F18” group is concerned, it is advisable to carry out a search for reference numbers including the concordance lists within the archival descriptions. If other references of the “F”, “AL” and “B” groups are concerned, a complete, a full search for this reference number (“Old file number – reference number”) should be carried out in the documentary holdings. In case the reference card shows an “AT” number, the user is recommended to search for this number (without “AT”) in the field “DP search criteria – no. Area Team” co-using, or benefiting from, other search criteria (e.g. “Indication of place – town/community” and/or “DP search criteria – name of camp”). Reference cards of a more recent date will show in general the correct folder name or at least the place name by analogy with the document categorization. If a page number is available as well, the user will meet hardly any difficulty in finding the document – helped by the search criterion “Old file number – former page number”. Otherwise, he must narrow down the location within the archives further by means of “indication of place” and some other “DP search criteria”. His next action step will be to manually leave and look through the single documents.