By Sebastián Bianchi
The Wehrpass was a very comprehensive documentation book issued to all conscripts at the time of registration for the military draft, and kept by the potential draftee until his induction into the military. When the citizen became a soldier, he turned in his Wehrpass and received a Soldbuch in exchange, with the Werhpass being turned over and kept at the unit where the owner was serving.
The Wehrpass was returned to the owner only upon his discharge from the military (after his records were transported to the Wehrstammbuch). He was required to keep it until age 60. In case of a service related death, or if the individual became MIA, the Wehrpass was sent to the next of kin as a keepsake via the soldiers’ original recruiting office.
The 54 pages between the gray covers of the Wehrpass yield the military career of the owner in chorological order. The extensive and detailed data recorded includes, among other information, units served with, battles, awards, injuries/wounds/illnesses, promotions, and miscellaneous notes. On the inside jacket of the document there was a space to conserve documents, and a picture of the owner is located on the first page. In this photograph, the individual is usually in civilian clothing, unless he was already in the military at the time of his draft call.
All four branches of the Wehrmacht used the Wehrpass with only slight differences. The branch (Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine or Waffen SS) was stamped in a box on the cover of the book. Incidentally, there were basically 3 types of Wehrpasses with different covers– Early, middle and late war. The early war passes have the Wehrmacht style eagle, while the middle and last have a open-wing eagle.
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