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Tracing Service

The GRC Tracing Service traces, reconnects and reunites families in Germany and worldwide.

The GRC Tracing Service supports people who have been separated from their loved ones due to armed conflicts, natural disasters, flight, displacement or migration. It helps to trace family members, to put them back in contact and to reunite families. The Tracing Service has been a key mission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for over 150 years. Family unity is a fundamental principle of humanitarian law and includes learning the fate of family members. 

How we can help you?

  • Tracing missing family

    Have you lost contact with a family member due to armed conflict, a natural disaster or another major incident?

    The GRC Tracing Service helps refugees and migrants who have lost contact with their families to find missing loved ones. Many relatives searching for family members in Germany come from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Syria and Iraq. As they travel on today’s migration routes to Europe, people are often separated from their families in dramatic circumstances. Through its international tracing service network, the GRC Tracing Service works with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross to determine the fate of missing loved ones.

    If the family wishes to be reunited in Germany once a missing relative has been found, the GRC Tracing Service will advise them on all legal requirements and assist them in the visa application process.

    After natural disasters or other major incidents in Germany, the GRC Tracing Service activates its District Offices for Disaster Tracing Inquiries. Volunteers will then gather information on those injured, evacuated or otherwise affected and share information on their whereabouts with relatives searching for loved ones.

    Do you want to search for your family online?

    On, you will find photographs of people who are also looking for loved ones. If you wish, we can publish your photo online, too. For your protection, the GRC Tracing Service always aims to meet the highest standards of data security for its online services.

  • Learning the fate of loved ones 70 years after the end of war

    Are you looking for a relative in connection with World War II?

    Every year, tens of thousands of people contact the GRC Tracing Service. Even 70 years later, many requests relate to the whereabouts of loved ones lost during World War II. The Central Name Index, which contains around 50 million (digitised) index cards, offers information on the whereabouts of over 20 million people who disappeared in Germany during World War II and its aftermath. In many cases, newly released information from the archives of the former USSR is only now giving relatives certainty regarding the fate of their loved ones. 

  • Connecting families

    Are you no longer able to contact your family?

    The Red Cross Tracing Service arranges contact by letter or a 30-minute video call between those trapped in war zones and areas of conflict, like Guantánamo in Cuba or Bagram in Afghanistan, and their relatives in Germany. A so-called Red Cross Message contains no political, military or discriminatory content. For family members who have been separated, Red Cross messages are often the only way to stay in contact. 

  • Family reunification

    Do you need advice on reuniting with your family?

    We offer refugees or ethnic German repatriates and their relatives expert advice on German immigration procedures. Documents held by the GRC Tracing Service often reveal decades of individual family histories of ethnic German repatriates, meaning they contain important information for official immigration procedures according to the German Federal Law on Refugees and Exiles (Bundesvertriebenen- und Flüchtlingsgesetz, BVFG).

  • Contact us

    At the GRC Tracing Service offices in Hamburg and Munich as well as in approximately 80 Tracing Service support centres at GRC district branch level throughout Germany, we offer expert advice and assistance in all tracing service matters.

    You can find contact details, recent publications and further information on the services of the GRC Tracing Service at


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