LONDON (Reuters) - A British genealogy website has put Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s World War One military service records online, alongside those of more than a million other soldiers who fought for Germany.
Ancestry.co.uk, which bills itself as Britain’s leading family history website, has begun the online launch of the Bavarian WWI Personnel Rosters, a collection of records showing the military service activities of 1.5 million soldiers who fought with the Bavarian Regiment in the “war to end all wars.”
The documents include those of then 25-year-old volunteer Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler, whose record describes him as a “Catholic,” an “Artist” and a “Messenger (bike rider) for the Regiment,” whose role was to carry dispatches back and forth from the command staff to units near the battlefield.
His records detail injuries including “lightly wounded at Le Barque by an artillery grenade in the thigh” in October 1916 and “gassed at La Montagne, taken to hospital” in October 1918.
They show Hitler was awarded five medals, decorations and other awards, including the Iron Cross twice, 1st and 2nd Class.
The paper originals are held by the Bavaria State Archives, which is working in partnership with Ancestry.co.uk to launch this collection, Ancestry said in a statement on its website.
Individual records include the soldier’s name, rank, date and place of birth, details of active service, religion, status or occupation, marital status, parents’ names, and address.
“As Germany becomes more comfortable with the idea of exploring its own military past — and in particular World War One — it is important that no matter which side of the war our ancestors fought on, we all have the opportunity to remember them,” Ancestry.co.uk International Content Director Dan Jones said in the statement.
“Over the past century, Germans have migrated around the world and so we expect these records to be of interest to many people and in many countries.”
Reporting by Paul Casciato, Editing by Steve Addison