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Oorlogsgids (War Guide): Introduction

The War Guide (in Dutch) contains the 25 most frequently asked questions we have been asked about our World War II archives. It tells you which archives to research to find answers to your questions and gives you some useful tips that will make your research easier.

Each answer has its own web page on which we provide an annex in PDF format, containing detailed explanatory notes for you to download. Under ‘Read the annex for further information’ you will find a short table of contents of the relevant chapter in the War Guide.

The 25 most frequently asked questions

What are the war archives?

  • The archives of government bodies and private individuals that came into being directly or indirectly as a result of the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies.
  • The archives of government bodies that existed in 1940 but underwent a radical change of character during the war years.
  • Archives compiled after the war and relating to the aftermath of the war, such as the Central Archives for Special Criminal Jurisdiction.
  • Archives that are not war archivesper sebut that contain files that are strongly war-related (e.g. the archives of Willem Drees or the Netherlands Bar Association). Archives relating to the reconstruction of the Netherlands are not covered here.

Viewing the archives

Most of the archives have restricted access. This means that you can only view them in the reading room if certain conditions are met. You can read the full viewing procedure in the detailed explanatory notes in the annex on this page.

Read the annex for further information on the following:

  • Background to the War Guide
  • Structure of the guide
  • What are the war archives?
  • Viewing procedures

The 25 most frequently asked questions

On the web page for each answer we have provided an annex in PDF format, containing detailed explanatory notes for you to download.

  1. What war archives will I find in the Nationaal Archief?
  2. What war archives does the NIOD hold?
  3. What is a war criminal and what is a war crime?
  4. Does the Nationaal Archief have any information on the concentration camps in Germany and Eastern Europe?
  5. Does the Nationaal Archief have any information on the German concentration and transit camps in the Netherlands?
  6. I was a POW in Germany. Does the Nationaal Archief have any information on this?
  7. Does the Nationaal Archief have any information on Sinti and Roma (gypsies) who died during the war?
  8. Does the Nationaal Archief have any information on Germans who committed war crimes, such as in Heusden and Putten?
  9. What was the Todt Organisation?
  10. What is the difference between theOpbouwdienst, theArbeidsdienstand theArbeidsinzet?
  11. I was a forced labourer in Germany. What information do you have about this?
  12. How do I search the Central Archives for Special Criminal Jurisdiction?
  13. What is the difference between thePolitieke Opsporingsdienst(Political Investigation Service) and thePolitieke Recherche Afdeling(Political Investigation Department)?
  14. Where can I find information on the resistance and resistance songs?
  15. How did the Netherlands Navy and Merchant Navy fare during World War II?
  16. What was the Special Youth Care (Bijzondere Jeugdzorg)?
  17. My parents lost all kinds of rights after the war: their right to vote, their Dutch citizenship and their passports. How could something like this happen?
  18. An aunt of mine was interned in an internment camp after the war. What were conditions like in these camps?
  19. Does the Nationaal Archief have any information on civil servants who ‘collaborated’?
  20. Does the Nationaal Archief have any records on post-war ‘cleansing’?
  21. Were there any NSB members in the Dutch East Indies?
  22. What happened to the servicemen of the army and air force in the Dutch East Indies?
  23. Does the Nationaal Archief have any information on Japanese war criminals?
  24. My grandmother was interned in a Japanese internment camp. Will I find any information on that in the Nationaal Archief?
  25. Does the Nationaal Archief have the addresses of institutions in other countries that keep records relating to World War II?
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