Burial of men KIA

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08/15
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Burial of men KIA

Post by 08/15 » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:51 pm

Question: Before a fallen soldier was buried by his comrades, what items were removed from his body? I assume that in addition to his Soldbuch and dogtag half anything personal like letters, photos, watch, rings, etc. was retrieved to be sent home to his family. I would also assume that all decorations he may have earned were taken off his uniform before he was laid to rest. Can anyone confirm this?

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Simon H
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Re: Burial of men KIA

Post by Simon H » Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:52 am

08/15 wrote:Question: Before a fallen soldier was buried by his comrades, what items were removed from his body? I assume that in addition to his Soldbuch and dogtag half anything personal like letters, photos, watch, rings, etc. was retrieved to be sent home to his family. I would also assume that all decorations he may have earned were taken off his uniform before he was laid to rest. Can anyone confirm this?
Only the tag was retrieved and Soldbuch. Taking off rings, watches, decorations and personal items would be neither possible or practical during combat.

However if a soldier died whilst in hospital away from the front then it's possible that personal items might have been retrieved and sent to their family.

Hope that helps.

Regards,
Simon
Simon Harrold

WW2 Battlefield Relics: German Erkennungsmarken decoded.

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Re: Burial of men KIA

Post by tigre » Sat Nov 19, 2022 8:48 am

Hello to all :D; a complement............

The Burial Service (Gräberdienst).

More than 50 million people died in World War II. Not only women and children and other civilians, but also more than 20 million soldiers. About five million soldiers died on the German side, one in three members of the Wehrmacht died from wounds, disease, accidents, suicide, exhaustion or in captivity. The dead were not buried in mass graves, as was common in the Middle Ages or early modern period, but were buried in individual graves whenever possible.

Since each unit was responsible for the burial of its dead, each regiment or battalion had to designate a burial detachment. The management and care of the graves were accompanied by so-called grave officers (Wehrmachtgräberoffiziere) who reported to the army and military commanders and received their technical instructions directly from the OKW.

The burial service was performed by full-time Wehrmacht Graves Officers (WGO)* from the burial service at the Wehrmacht Casualty Department at OKW. Former officers (active or on leave) were called up as WGOs who were no longer fully eligible for front-line service with combatant troops due to age or other circumstances. Each army or military commander (in the militarily occupied zones as the head of the military administration) was assigned a WGO for the duration of combat operations, which he worked alongside the military officers assigned there.

Wehrmacht grave officers supervised proper burials by troops, submitted grave reports, and searched the graves of fallen soldiers. His duties also included moving existing graves to larger cemeteries, as well as identifying so-called wild graves, that is, scattered and unrecorded graves. Wehrmacht grave officers not only guarded the cemeteries of the newly dead, but also supervised the cemeteries of the dead of the First World War.

This extension of the task of the actual management of the graves by the Wehrmacht officers shows the naturalness of the Wehrmacht in its role as successor to the imperial army. The Wehrmacht put the newly dead in line with the dead of the First World War. As the war progressed, the tasks and the number of officers assigned to them grew: by 1941 the Wehrmacht Casualty Department comprised 51 WGOs, two Burial Commandos and three Army Graves Officers in Military Districts VIII ( Katowwitz), XII (Wiesbaden) and XX (Danzig). In November 1944 the number rose to 154 offices.

The increasing number of casualties and the duration of the war required a large number of personnel and administrative expenses. The instructions and regulations established by the Wehrmacht to bury all soldiers could no longer really be guaranteed by the troops themselves or by the full-time burial officers.

The burial of a fallen soldier included not only the actual burial, but also recovery, proper reporting of the soldier's death and the location of his grave, and notification of next of kin.

* The WGO was characterized as »G. v.", i.e. capable of garrison service in the field, i.e. only capable of limited service as combat troops, but suitable for administrative and supply duties in rear areas of operation. WGOs in the Army High Command (AOK) were assigned to the Oberquartiermeisterabteilung (Quartermaster Department).

Sources: Von Toten und Helden. Die gefallenen Soldaten der Wehrmacht während des Zweiten Weltkriegs. nina janz
Aus der Arbeit zweier Gräberoffiziere an der Ostfront 1941–1944. nina janz
700 WWII GERMAN PHOTO s fm ALBUM plane tank cannon flak. eBay Auction. (Completed)

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: Burial of men KIA

Post by Simon H » Sat Nov 19, 2022 10:29 am

Very informative post Tigre, thank you.
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WW2 Battlefield Relics: German Erkennungsmarken decoded.

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Re: Burial of men KIA

Post by tigre » Sat Nov 26, 2022 6:10 am

Hello to all :D; thanks Simon :wink:. More............

Recovery.

Ideally, corpses were buried immediately after a battle and the exact location of the grave was reported. However, the fallen were often unable to recover or were considered missing. A grave officer from the 15th Infantry Division reported the discovery of dead German soldiers whose clothes had been stolen and whose bodies had been bayoneted after the territory had been recaptured. The bodies found were badly decomposed, and the burial commandos had to use chlorinated lime to even touch the bodies. If bodies were left behind during a retreat, the unit's grave officers often noted the approximate location of the dead so that the bodies could still be buried in the event of a recapture. The WGO also obtained information about bodies that had not yet been discovered in its area of ​​responsibility from prisoner interrogations.

Dead soldiers were identified by their dog tags or their soldbuch, which they always carried with them. In the case of unknown German soldiers (nationality was determined on the basis of uniforms and other clothing), the characteristics of the body were to be recorded, and the special characteristics of the teeth were to be noted. In principle, with each fallen person an attempt would be made to identify them; in the case of unknown persons, missing persons reports were also cross-checked to determine identity. Unknown dead persons were to be photographed before burial and the photos sent to the Wehrmacht Information Office (Wehrmachtauskunftsstelle).

The images were also distributed in army communications. This great effort could not be practiced with all the fallen. Many of the dead were "emergency buried" on or near the battlefield or (after half the nameplate was removed) were left on the ground. Recovering and burying each dead person collided with the limits of time and the combat possibilities of the soldiers and also with the limits of their will. A WGO deployed "in the east" reported a lack of efforts by troops to recover the dead.

Soldiers, as the Wehrmacht put it, had a "honorary duty" to bury their dead "comrades". By emphasizing this "honor duty", the Wehrmacht continued the myth-based military camaraderie that had been cultivated since World War I and its post-war period with reference to the so-called "trench community". The OKW saw this "honor duty" as a matter of course and expected every soldier to fulfill this duty towards the dead.

In reality, the effort and inconvenience were often too great or the recovery of the bodies too dangerous, for example when the bodies were under fire or the area was mined. In these cases, prisoners of war and civilians were also recruited for salvage and grave digging. Tobacco and alcohol were given to Soviet prisoners of war and civilians as "payment". In addition, the WGO promised the public a reward of 5 RM per individual grave for finding the graves they were looking for.

The WGO did not speak of many German volunteers willing to remove bodies from dangerous sections, instead using civilians (including women and children) and prisoners of war for forced labor, even at the risk of their lives. Since Wehrmacht soldiers were unable or unwilling to dig graves for their fallen comrades, this so-called honorary duty was considered a tedious task, like digging trenches or fortress positions, for which civilians were also recruited and abused.

Sources: Von Toten und Helden. Die gefallenen Soldaten der Wehrmacht während des Zweiten Weltkriegs. nina janz
Aus der Arbeit zweier Gräberoffiziere an der Ostfront 1941–1944. nina janz
700 WWII GERMAN PHOTO s fm ALBUM plane tank cannon flak. eBay Auction. (Completed)

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Recovery of a fallen soldier..................................
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A tedious task, digging graves..................
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: Burial of men KIA

Post by statemachine » Sun Nov 27, 2022 5:48 pm

tigre wrote:
Sat Nov 19, 2022 8:48 am
Hello to all :D; a complement............

The Burial Service (Gräberdienst).

More than 50 million people died in World War II. Not only women and children and other civilians, but also more than 20 million soldiers. About five million soldiers died on the German side, one in three members of the Wehrmacht died from wounds, disease, accidents, suicide, exhaustion or in captivity. The dead were not buried in mass graves, as was common in the Middle Ages or early modern period, but were buried in individual graves whenever possible.

Since each unit was responsible for the burial of its dead, each regiment or battalion had to designate a burial detachment. The management and care of the graves were accompanied by so-called grave officers (Wehrmachtgräberoffiziere) who reported to the army and military commanders and received their technical instructions directly from the OKW.

The burial service was performed by full-time Wehrmacht Graves Officers (WGO)* from the burial service at the Wehrmacht Casualty Department at OKW. Former officers (active or on leave) were called up as WGOs who were no longer fully eligible for front-line service with combatant troops due to age or other circumstances. Each army or military commander (in the militarily occupied zones as the head of the military administration) was assigned a WGO for the duration of combat operations, which he worked alongside the military officers assigned there.

Wehrmacht grave officers supervised proper burials by troops, submitted grave reports, and searched the graves of fallen soldiers. His duties also included moving existing graves to larger cemeteries, as well as identifying so-called wild graves, that is, scattered and unrecorded graves. Wehrmacht grave officers not only guarded the cemeteries of the newly dead, but also supervised the cemeteries of the dead of the First World War.

This extension of the task of the actual management of the graves by the Wehrmacht officers shows the naturalness of the Wehrmacht in its role as successor to the imperial army. The Wehrmacht put the newly dead in line with the dead of the First World War. As the war progressed, the tasks and the number of officers assigned to them grew: by 1941 the Wehrmacht Casualty Department comprised 51 WGOs, two Burial Commandos and three Army Graves Officers in Military Districts VIII ( Katowwitz), XII (Wiesbaden) and XX (Danzig). In November 1944 the number rose to 154 offices.

The increasing number of casualties and the duration of the war required a large number of personnel and administrative expenses. The instructions and regulations established by the Wehrmacht to bury all soldiers could no longer really be guaranteed by the troops themselves or by the full-time burial officers.

The burial of a fallen soldier included not only the actual burial, but also recovery, proper reporting of the soldier's death and the location of his grave, and notification of next of kin.

* The WGO was characterized as »G. v.", i.e. capable of garrison service in the field, i.e. only capable of limited service as combat troops, but suitable for administrative and supply duties in rear areas of operation. WGOs in the Army High Command (AOK) were assigned to the Oberquartiermeisterabteilung (Quartermaster Department).

Sources: Von Toten und Helden. Die gefallenen Soldaten der Wehrmacht während des Zweiten Weltkriegs. nina janz
Aus der Arbeit zweier Gräberoffiziere an der Ostfront 1941–1944. nina janz
700 WWII GERMAN PHOTO s fm ALBUM plane tank cannon flak. eBay Auction. (Completed)

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
Looks like a pickaxe in that photo did the job.
An unbreakable man

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Re: Burial of men KIA

Post by statemachine » Mon Nov 28, 2022 6:19 pm

tigre wrote:
Sat Nov 26, 2022 6:10 am
Hello to all :D; thanks Simon :wink:. More............

Recovery.

Ideally, corpses were buried immediately after a battle and the exact location of the grave was reported. However, the fallen were often unable to recover or were considered missing. A grave officer from the 15th Infantry Division reported the discovery of dead German soldiers whose clothes had been stolen and whose bodies had been bayoneted after the territory had been recaptured. The bodies found were badly decomposed, and the burial commandos had to use chlorinated lime to even touch the bodies. If bodies were left behind during a retreat, the unit's grave officers often noted the approximate location of the dead so that the bodies could still be buried in the event of a recapture. The WGO also obtained information about bodies that had not yet been discovered in its area of ​​responsibility from prisoner interrogations.

Dead soldiers were identified by their dog tags or their soldbuch, which they always carried with them. In the case of unknown German soldiers (nationality was determined on the basis of uniforms and other clothing), the characteristics of the body were to be recorded, and the special characteristics of the teeth were to be noted. In principle, with each fallen person an attempt would be made to identify them; in the case of unknown persons, missing persons reports were also cross-checked to determine identity. Unknown dead persons were to be photographed before burial and the photos sent to the Wehrmacht Information Office (Wehrmachtauskunftsstelle).

The images were also distributed in army communications. This great effort could not be practiced with all the fallen. Many of the dead were "emergency buried" on or near the battlefield or (after half the nameplate was removed) were left on the ground. Recovering and burying each dead person collided with the limits of time and the combat possibilities of the soldiers and also with the limits of their will. A WGO deployed "in the east" reported a lack of efforts by troops to recover the dead.

Soldiers, as the Wehrmacht put it, had a "honorary duty" to bury their dead "comrades". By emphasizing this "honor duty", the Wehrmacht continued the myth-based military camaraderie that had been cultivated since World War I and its post-war period with reference to the so-called "trench community". The OKW saw this "honor duty" as a matter of course and expected every soldier to fulfill this duty towards the dead.

In reality, the effort and inconvenience were often too great or the recovery of the bodies too dangerous, for example when the bodies were under fire or the area was mined. In these cases, prisoners of war and civilians were also recruited for salvage and grave digging. Tobacco and alcohol were given to Soviet prisoners of war and civilians as "payment". In addition, the WGO promised the public a reward of 5 RM per individual grave for finding the graves they were looking for.

The WGO did not speak of many German volunteers willing to remove bodies from dangerous sections, instead using civilians (including women and children) and prisoners of war for forced labor, even at the risk of their lives. Since Wehrmacht soldiers were unable or unwilling to dig graves for their fallen comrades, this so-called honorary duty was considered a tedious task, like digging trenches or fortress positions, for which civilians were also recruited and abused.

Sources: Von Toten und Helden. Die gefallenen Soldaten der Wehrmacht während des Zweiten Weltkriegs. nina janz
Aus der Arbeit zweier Gräberoffiziere an der Ostfront 1941–1944. nina janz
700 WWII GERMAN PHOTO s fm ALBUM plane tank cannon flak. eBay Auction. (Completed)

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
Russian soldiers would sometimes loot the bodies,pull the tags of ss soldiers and smash their facial features so they could not be positively identified As told to the man's daughter.
An unbreakable man

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tigre
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Re: Burial of men KIA

Post by tigre » Sat Dec 03, 2022 7:15 am

Hello to all :D; thanks statemachine :wink:. More............

The notification.

Once the bodies were recovered, the loss had to be reported to the responsible authorities and to the family. Ideally, the troops would bury the fallen themselves and fill out a valid report of loss with the name and burial place of the dead. The commanding officer would write a condolence letter to the family and mail (if applicable) his personal items such as photos or items such as a wedding ring to the family. The loss of personnel was reported to other military authorities, such as the section for replacement troops and the information center of the Wehrmacht, along with information on the location of the grave. The Wehrmacht Information Office recorded the grave report and reported the war casualties to the competent registration office.

There were cases in which the widow first received the belongings of her deceased husband, for example a wedding ring, before the official news of the so-called heroic death (heldentod) arrived. The true circumstances of the death were to be improved and comforted as much as possible. That's why death notices contained phrases like "he didn't suffer" or "died from a shot to the head," which were often not true.

The NSDAP was also involved in the process. The directives stipulated that the most senior NSDAP competent (often the local group leader in the "Heimat") should personally deliver the news of the death to the families. The National Socialists thus tried to influence the treatment of those who had died. In addition to the Wehrmacht, the NSDAP organized its own "ceremonies in honor of the dead" which placed the dead in the context of the National Socialist death cult and used them for their propaganda and ideological purposes.

Sources: Von Toten und Helden. Die gefallenen Soldaten der Wehrmacht während des Zweiten Weltkriegs. nina janz
Aus der Arbeit zweier Gräberoffiziere an der Ostfront 1941–1944. nina janz
700 WWII GERMAN PHOTO s fm ALBUM plane tank cannon flak. eBay Auction. (Completed)

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Burial of the fallen..................................................
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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