German Reparation Files #germany #records

Michael Danziger

Holocaust Survivors submitted "testimonies" to Germany for reparations. I have early drafts of these testimonies for my grandparents which contained a wealth of interesting information. I now realize that seeing these files for my parents and other relatives will be priceless in learning about my family's history. My questions:
1. To whom does one direct a request of this kind and what is required in the process?
2. What relatives does one have the right to see documents for?
Thank you. Michael Danziger
New Jersey

Corinna Woehrl (nee Goslar)

Hello Michael and list-readers,


I can only inform you about the procedures at the Hamburg State Archives:

Here you will find restitution files (called Wiedergutmachungsakten) for people who lived in Hamburg prior to their escape or deportation.

You can search by name via

The main department is 351_11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, but you will also find files in other places.

Please keep in mind that the information can be disturbing: you will find a lot of rejection in early documents (depending on the person in charge at the office - sometimes they were the same people who had also been on duty during the Nazi era). In my experience, later (after ca. 1960), the tone of the correspondence changed and was more respectful. 


I'm not quite sure - but think the files for people from former eastern provinces (e.g. Posen) are kept at the German State Archives which you can search via the following link


So you have to know in which city the person you are seeking information about had lived. Then you have to ask at the local archive where the files ("Wiedergutmachungsakten") are stored.

In general, they are a great treasure as they often include a résumé and other correspondence revealing lots of family details. 


The general retention period is 30 years after the death of the 'subject' for whom the record was compiled - if you are a direct descendant, you can get insight earlier.


Kind regards from Germany


Corinna Wöhrl, Hoisdor (near Hamburg), Germany

Eleanor Lind

Where do I write for Berlin please?
eleanor Lind


Dear Michael, dear  Eleanor and dear readers of the list:
There is a central card index:


Bezirksregierung Düsseldorf

- Dezernat 15 (Bundeszentralkartei) -

Postfach 30 08 65

40408 Düsseldorf

Tel.: 0211/475 - 3071 oder 3571

Fax.: 0211/475 - 3979

Email: bzk@...

You can ask them via e-mail. They are able to tell you where the files concerning a person are held.
Some are in the state archives of the region where the person lived or submittel claims. Some are still stored with the authorities.
In Berlin you can search a database of the Berlin states archives. 
But they have only the files for lost propertiy restitution  claims. The other files are still held at the

Entschädigungsbehörde des Landes Berlin 

Normally the files can be accessed thirty years after death of the person. Sometimes they whant a formless declaration about being related.

Kind regards
Barbara Elkeles

Michael Danziger

Thank you so much for your reply Corinna. 

As you know, reparations were paid to non-German residents as well. So where would one write to find those records (for example, for my Polish family)?

Warm regards,

Michael Danziger

New Jersey

Nikki Bossert

Hi Corinna,

I recently discovered my grandfather through DNA testing (through a second cousin). I have received his files through Arolsen Archives and can see that he corresponded with the BLEA (Arolsen Archives files). Because I don’t have legal proof of my relationship to him, would I still be able to access his records (assuming they aren’t public)? And what’s the best way to find out if they are public? I have traced him through 1951 to St. Paul, MNbut the trail goes cold from there. I saw earlier posts discussing that these restitution files may have family history/stories and that is what I’m most interested in finding. His name was Abram Zilberminc and he was originally from Poland but was living in a DP camp in Feldafing prior to immigrating to the US.

Thank you,
Nikki Bossert