Adopters might want to find out more about the liberator whose grave they have adopted. What sort of work did he do, where did he live, how did he die? Adopters looking for answers have often turned to the Foundation. Therefore we feel this deserves some attention.
Information and research
Information about fallen liberators
Firstly you should be aware that:
1. neither the Foundation nor the American Cemetery possess the addresses of the descendants of fallen liberators. So contacting either of these parties on such a matter is of no use.
2. the primary objective of adoption is to visit the grave(s) and pay attention/homage to its fallen liberator(s)
3. personal data – including data about next of kin or other relatives of the fallen liberator – are protected by the Act of Privacy in the USA.
In spite of this protection of personal data it is often possible to get in touch with next of kin with the help of the authorities. You have to write to them personally and it might take a while before you get an answer. But it will be tremendously rewarding if the information you receive is useful.
Be aware that is important to correctly record the data on which your request is based, so the correct name of the fallen liberator, the military unit he served for, the date he was killed etcetera. This information can be found on the marble cross that serves as headstone. Moreover there’s an official website (in English) www.abmc.gov of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) where you can find the data of all liberators killed in action. The ABMC is the umbrella over all American Cemeteries worldwide.
Authorities involved in the US
As a first step we would advise you to turn to:
Dept. of the Army
US Army Human Resources Command
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue
Fort Knox, KY 42701
Using the standard letter (as attached) you can request information using the Individual Deceased Personnel File. Your request will normally be replied with a standard letter that also serves as a confirmation of receipt. The authorities will verify if the desired file is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. In that case your patience can be rewarded with an elaborate information package. But if the file is subject to the Act of Privacy then unfortunately you will not receive anything.
Organizations of veterans in the US
Almost every American military unit has its own organization of veterans. The postal addresses of these organizations can be found at the following website:
In general these organizations have their own website with lots of information. The notice board of such a site can be used to place a request for information. When there is no notice board you can usually contact the secretary of such an organization. You might also want to post a message in one of their periodical publications or bring up the subject at one of the veterans meetings or reunions.
For an extensive list of all useful sources of information we kindly refer to: http://www.adoptiegraven.nl/onderzoek.html
“To think that 70 years later, there are Dutch people who carry on this tradition is just so inspiring. And, for their care of our lost family members and loved ones, we are sincerely grateful.”ARTHUR MITCHELL
“Let’s remember our heroes.”BRIAN MOSER
“Americans gave their lives to defeat the Nazis. The Dutch have never forgotten.”Front page Washington Post | 25 May 2015