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My grandfather disappeared in Berlin in 1944/5. He was working for IG Farben and was taken away whilst at work one day. His name is Paul Diedrich. I am going to Berlin this week. How can I track his death down?

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    Do you have a last address for him? (Was he in Berlin or somewhere in Brandenburg or beyond)? (AGFA, a component of IG Farben, had offices in Berlin, but no factories, as far as I can tell). What was his position at work (worker or management? research?) Can you pin down the time-frame better: before Jan 1945 (lost to German police or Gestapo) or Jan-May 1945 (end-of-war chaos), or aft May 1945 (Russian or even American actions)? – bgwiehle May 12 '14 at 22:54
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IG Farben no longer exist. There is lots of documentation about IG Farben. IG Farben is not only associated with Zyklon B, but also with one concentration camp in particular, the Buna/Monowitz concentration camp. There is a Wollheim Memorial at the former IG Farben building, named after a survivor of this camp.

However, to find out about the fate of an individual, you'll want to contact the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, which has been open to the general public since 2007 Nov 28. Sorry to say that Bad Arolsen isn't very close to Berlin. It is possible to visit the ITS in person, and if you do so as a survivor or relative, you may look into original documents, but you need to file an inquiry and schedule an appointment to do so.

You can also file a request for information online, to have photocopies sent to you. I did so when they opened up in 2007. They were swamped, and the reply took a few months. You will get a faster reply, but if you hope to visit, you should visit their site and file your inquiry ASAP.

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Grave search at http://www.volksbund.de/graebersuche.html shows 11 results for his name. Most of the site is in German, so if you need any help with that, please contact me by email.

When you're there, you may also visit the Bundesarchiv, which has an office in Berlin.

  • Isn't the Volksbund site only for military deaths? According to the question, the person was in a civilian occupation at the time he disappeared. – bgwiehle May 14 '14 at 14:55
  • It is, but when a person was taken away, you don't know where he ended up, so he might haven been taken into the army, and died in the field, wouldn't he? I mean, that's the nature of mssing persons, that they might end up anywhere. – Enno Borgsteede May 15 '14 at 15:46
  • Towards the end of WW2, people (men, boys, even young women) who were in areas not far from the advancing front lines were taken with little notice to help defend barricades and dig trenches. These (Landwehr) were not regular military units. Working in a factory making (probably) an essential war-time product should have prevented this kind of conscription. Also, the Russian forces didn't get close to Berlin until Spring 1945. (Bombings took a lot of lives before that). There's been no response to my comment to the question, which could give more context for when, where and why he disappeared. – bgwiehle May 15 '14 at 17:56

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