The Eastern Documentation Section of the German Federal Archives in Bayreuth was compiled during a mass action of gathering records on the experiences and fates of the German population in the German East in the final stage and immediately after the Second World War. The action was performed in the 1950s and the preserved materials such as relational accounts, township forms and registers of inhabitants have become increasingly relevant to the reconstruction of past events, also due to the fragmentariness of the Polish archival sources. The article focuses on the city and district of Elblag, where a complete change of population in terms of nationality occurred after the war, but the source base for the first half of 1945 is merely vestigial. The relational accounts pertaining to the Elblag district in the Bayreuth collection predominantly concern the problem of evacuation of the German civilian population and the rule of the Soviet war headquarters, a tragic period for the local inhabitants. Apart from several dozen personal accounts and communal reports of the inhabitants of the Elblag district, of particular value are the reports of German high rank party officials who describe from their own and often one sided perspective the final stage of the combat for Elblag, evacuation of the civilian population and the activity of the Red Army following the capture of the city. Extremely valuable are also township lists (Gemeindeseelenliste) and the so called locality card indexes (Heimatortskartei) which document the losses of the German population in particular localities of the district. The author extensively discusses those registers, where besides the displaced Germans who after the war moved to the West German zones, the lists include the victims of a panic flight and combat for the city, civilians deported to Soviet labor camps beyond the Urals, those who were murdered by the Red Army or died of illness and famine during the Polish administration. The files of Tolkmicko, Suchacz, Kadyny, Pomorska Wies, Nowakowo, Krynica Morska, Piaski and other places make it possible to draw quite an accurate balance of the losses of the local population.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.