Not sure if it's the right place to ask about that but does any of you know of any way to track down 2 specific German soldiers or their families.
My late Grandma, was Polish and saved by two German soldiers during WW2 in Poland. My Grandma and other local children were pulling pranks on Germans stationed in her village and one time they were caught, the officer wanted to hold public execution for sabotage but two of his soldiers stood up to him and convinced him not to shoot the local children. My Grandma always spoke about how they were sneaking out rations to help locals and were very open that they were mobilised, want to go back to their families and mean no harm to anyone. All I know about them besides these stories is that they were moved to frontlines during USSR advance through the region in 1944.
My Grandma long forgotten their names and as I mentioned died recently but I would very much like to thank those men or their families more likely as they would be over 100 years old by this time I imagine. If you guys know of any way to find them or records of their service of any sorts I would be grateful.
Without their names, frankly, I'm not too optimistic that you might find them.
Depending on your German skills the military archive of the Bundesarchiv in Freiburg/Breisgau might help you (link at the end). Look for units stationed in and around the village at the time. Narrow down with additional information your grandmother gave you. If the units of interest left relevant documentation, you might find the soldiers by elimination method. References to compliance by soldiers during summary executions could be helpful: As Christopher Browning has shown in "Ordinary men. Reserve Police Battaillon 11 and the final solution in Poland", refusal to shoot civilians was noted by commanders, but usually not punished. Freiburg archive
If you find out their names, military records usually show where they were from (check family records in their hometown for relatives -> descendants) or where they fell. Through grabsteine.genealogy.net, you can research gravestones by family name. If your ultimate goal is to pay your respects, this might be a good avenue.
I’d perhaps start by lining up who was stationed in the town during the time your grandmother lived there. Once you have that list you may be able to whittle down what individuals were placed in certain positions around the town for duty and the proximity to where your grandmother would have played. You could also check the actual duties they carried out while in position and perhaps go about it that way (may be helpful to determine who would have the most likelihood to do what your grandmother says they did.
Also look into personnel files of leadership there and who their direct reports were. You may be able to find a documented story of insubordination for standing up to the commanding officer who wanted to kill the kids (be it through official documents or perhaps journals). It’s a long shot but I think this is how I’d approach it. Good luck with this. It’s a noble cause.
Hello there! As your question is related to looking for identification/information regarding military personnel, our Guide on Military Identification may be of use to you. It provides a number of different resources, including how to request service records from a number of national agencies around the world, as well as graphical aids to assist in deciphering rank, unit, and other forms of badges or insignia. While the users here may still be able to lend you more assistance, hopefully this will provide a good place to start!