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I'm looking at Verlustlisten 1. Weltkrieg, page 22.835: Peter Robert (Bremerhaven) on genealogy.net. In the entry, it says "zurueckgeh." What does this mean? I know other entries say things like "leicht verwundet" (lightly wounded) or "gefallen" (died). Would "zurueckgehen" mean that he went home as a result of his wounds?

One more abbreviation: the entry says "krgef" - Kriegsgefangener, prisoner of war, no? And this is followed by the letter "A". What might the "A" mean?Verlustlisten

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This means that he was retained (“zurückgeh.” = “zurückgehalten”) by a neutral country until now (“bish.” = “bisher”), as this list of abbreviations for the navy lists suggests. Now he is prisoner of war (“krgef.” = “kriegsgefangen”). “A” could indicate that this information was received from a foreign country (“Ausland“), as “A.N.” is elsewhere used for “Auslands-Nachricht” (message from abroad). It could also refer to American captivity, as “krgef. F.” is used for POW in France or “krgef. E.” for POW in England according to the abbreviation list.

There are also entries like

  • bish. v. krgef., v. u. zurückgeh. (until now wounded and POW, [now] wounded and retained)
  • bish. krgef., zurückgeh. (until now POW, [now] retained)

There is an earlier (1915) record of someone with the same name (Peter, Robert from Bremerhaven): http://des.genealogy.net/search/show/918673 He is marked as retained there.

I would assume that the ship was in a neutral harbor and the servicemen where later passed over to a enemy country or the former neutral country declared war on Germany.

The Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt) holds 1.6 million records on German navy men (Marine-Archiv), maybe you can get more information from them. See my answer on How to find information on German soldiers from World War I and World War II? for more details.

For other abbreviations in the Verlustlisten related to casualties please see Reference Key for Injuries for WWI German Casualty Lists?

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    A poster on another forum has suggested that the "A" indicates he was an American prisoner of war -- would you agree with that? – ewormuth Jul 29 '15 at 16:24
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    @ewormuth This is a good idea, as as “krgef. F.” is used for POW in France or “krgef. E.” for POW in England according to the abbreviation list. I added it to my answer. Do you consider contacting the Deutsche Dienststelle? I am curious what they might have on a sailor from the Imperial Navy. – lejonet Jul 29 '15 at 17:50
  • I'm looking at the Deutsche Dienstelle, and it will take me some time to figure out how to use it -- though I can read German with some effort, this site is quite difficult for me. Am I correct that they don't have a search function, but rather you submit a request to them for information? – ewormuth Jul 29 '15 at 18:37
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    @ewormuth There are no records online. You send a request and they will reply after several months with a letter. There is an English version of the page, please see dd-wast.de/en/tracing-request/private-matters-research.html. – lejonet Jul 29 '15 at 19:03
  • Thanks for that. I saw the English page but felt I needed to get more out of the German pages to understand how to use the site. – ewormuth Jul 29 '15 at 19:42

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