Finding WW1 military record of German ancestor?


I’m trying to find out information about my German Great Great Grandfather (the guy on the left on the photograph). His name was Karl Griesbach, Born on 2nd March 1877 and died on 17th October 1942. He may have had a middle name called August but I am not sure. Anyway, all I know is he fought in WW1 during 1916 and survived the war, he was a farmer after the war and maybe before the war as well. He had a farm in Neustettin Bärwalde old east Germany (Prussia). I’m trying to find out when he joined the great war and what his regiment was and basically what he did. If anyone could be of help that would be great thank you!

 Great Great Grandfather (left)


Posted 2018-10-22T12:30:19.117

Reputation: 101

1Hi, welcome to our site! Where was your ancestor born? – lejonet – 2018-10-22T19:39:00.917

1My great great grandfather was born on 2nd March 1887 in a village called Elfenbusch in Neustettin, his parents was called Johann Griesbach & Wilhelmine Krause both born & from Köslin – Mrmauser77 – 2018-10-23T20:10:32.760

Also if it helps his religion or well family religion was Lutheran – Mrmauser77 – 2018-10-23T20:24:28.097

Ok, I will look into it tomorrow. – lejonet – 2018-10-23T21:13:04.043

Thank you! Also all else i know is that his son Richard Walter Erich Griesbach(my great Grandfather) was in the Wehrmacht during WW2, he was an Assault Pioneer. His brother Ernst & cousin Heinz also took part in WW2. – Mrmauser77 – 2018-10-23T23:26:33.467



As I detailed in my answer on Finding information on German soldiers from World War I and World War II?, finding information on Prussian World War I combatants is limited after almost all military records for this era were destroyed in World War II.

What to do if your ancestor fought in the Prussian army? During the war the army announced deaths, injuries, missing soldiers and prisoners of war in the so-called Verlustlisten. These lists were on public display. They contain names, places of births and complete or incomplete (just day and month) birth dates. The names are listed according to the soldier’s units, so if your ancestor was killed or injured, was missing in action or became a POW, you can reconstruct where he was fighting and which unit he was a member of around this time.

I looked at all soldiers with the name Karl Griesbach or August Griesbach and no one seems to match your ancestor (you can rule some out, because they died, others because of their place of birth or birth date). I also checked the archives of the International Prisoners-of-War Agency, but did not find any Karl (or August) Griesbach. He is also not listed in Ancestry’s collection Kriegsranglisten und -stammrollen des Königreichs Bayern, 1. Weltkrieg 1914-1918 (sometimes Prussians fought in the military of other German countries and vice versa).

What now? Check the sources again, maybe I missed something. Check possible sources in your family: Look for post cards from the front, they are usually stamped with the unit's stamp. Check if there are any pension records left, that might detail military service.


Posted 2018-10-22T12:30:19.117

Reputation: 5 041

Hm i’m not sure why nothing has came up, i’m sure his name was Karl or August. All i know 100% is that his son my great grandfather Richard Griesbach was in WW2, can you see if you can find out anything to do with him? I know he took part in the invasion of Poland at the start of the war and also fought in Russia, after the war ended he became a Bucher and left his home in Bärwalde once the Russians occupied Prussia and moved to Schneverdingen in Germany, his full name is Richard Walter Erich Griesbach, his wife was called Olga Dürr – Mrmauser77 – 2018-10-24T14:49:54.860

The only other thing i can think of is if my Great Great Grandfather isn’t called Karl then he’s likely called Johann Griesbach after his father. It could either be Johann Griesbach or Johann August Griesbach, try and see if either of those two names work if not then i’m not sure, but thank you for the help anyway regardless :) – Mrmauser77 – 2018-10-24T15:01:24.543

@Mrmauser77 I checked the sources again for August Griesbach, there is also no match. This is not an unlikely outcome, as a soldier who survived the war without getting injurend or becoming POW won't be listed in most of the secondary sources. For your great grandfather and WWII, please send an inquiery to Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt).

– lejonet – 2018-10-24T19:50:47.983

Did you try Johann Griesbach? If nothing comes up there then i assume he wasn’t injured or a POW, all i know about him is that he surved in the war and was a farmer, sadly my Grandmother died well before i began researching the German side of my family. – Mrmauser77 – 2018-10-24T19:58:54.940

@Mrmauser77 There is no matching Johann Griesbach, please see for yourself:

– lejonet – 2018-10-24T20:00:04.007

The only thing left i need help with is on my Great Grandmothers side of the family, Her name was Olga Dürr and she was born in Wolynien back when Ukraine was apart of the Russian Empire, her father Gotlieb Dürr was born in Wolynien and died in 1916, i’m not sure if he died in the war or not but i was told the village they lived in(German community i believe) was poisoned, he died from Water poisoning only at the age of 32. I was wondering if you can find anything on that? His wife was called Amalie Heimann and she was born in Radom when that part of Poland belonged to the Russian Empire. – Mrmauser77 – 2018-10-24T20:03:32.740

@Mrmauser77 Please open a new question for all on that. Asking in a German forum like might help too. – lejonet – 2018-10-24T20:04:33.103