Bundesarchiv, Freiburg (Abteilung Militärarchiv)

  • Federal Archives, Freiburg (Department Military Archives)
  • Bundesarchiv Abteilung Militärarchiv
  • Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv Freiburg
  • Federal Archives, Department Military Archives

History

One of the reasons for the setting up of the German Reich Archives in Potsdam in 1919 was to store the records of those military institutions whose closing was required by the Treaty of Versailles. In 1936 the Potsdam Army Archives were hived off from the Reich Archives as an independent institution. An air raid in April 1945 destroyed many collections that had not been relocated. In 1955 a Military Archives Department was set up again in the Federal Archives in Koblenz and moved to Freiburg in 1968 incorporating the holdings of the Central Documents Office of the Agency for Research into Military History (Militaergeschichtliches Forschungsamt). In Potsdam the Military Archives of the GDR National People's Army (NVA) were founded in 1964. In the course of the reunification of Germany in 1990 and the integration of the central archives of the GDR into the Federal Archives the Military Archives of Potsdam moved to Freiburg.

Archival and Other Holdings

The holdings of the Military Archives Department comprise the documents (particularly files, cartographic materials, construction plans, photographs) of state military facilities from the year 1867 up to the present: The remaining documents of the Prussian-German Army, the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy), the Schutztruppen (Colonial Force), and Freikorps, the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht. Moreover, documents pertaining to the Nationale Volksarmee (National People's Army, NVA) and the Grenztruppen (Border Troops) of the GDR are archived in Freiburg. The greatest part of the documentation preserved in the Military Archives Department comes from the Federal Ministry of Defence and its subordinate military and civil areas. Many personal papers of German military personnel and related collections pertaining to German military history since the middle of the 19th Century round off the records profile. The archival material from the period up to 1945 suffered considerable losses as a consequence of war. Many of the records of the central service units of the armed forces and of the army leadership, those of the service units and troops of the army below divisional level and those of the air force and the Waffen SS have been lost. Naval archives, on the other hand, and the bulk of war logs belonging to the command authorities of the army and the divisional headquarters up to 1943, survived the war. Most of the files of the Prussian Army were as well destroyed in the army archives fire in Potsdam in 1945.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

Research within the records of the Bundesarchiv can be exercised through finding aids (books, file index) and/or the huge database called Invenio which is accessible online under: https://invenio.bundesarchiv.de/ All information about using records or services of the Bundesarchiv is available through the website: http://www.bundesarchiv.de/benutzung/index.html.en Archival User Service can be reached by telephone: +49 (0)761/47817-864

In order to browse through an overview of Bundesarchiv holdings in Department R (Reich) by tectonic hierarchy (as opposed to current Bundesarchiv agency location), see the Beständeübersicht: https://portal.ehri-project.eu/virtual/de-002429-bestandeubersicht

Conditions of Access

There are about 25 workplaces for the use of archival materials, microfilms and large scale maps.

Sources