CROWCASS was established to assist the United Nations War Crimes Commission and Allied governments in tracing ex-enemy nationals suspected of committing war crimes or atrocities in Europe.
The organisation was originally set up by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in the spring of 1945. Operated by British and American military personnel with the assistance of civilian administrative staff the object was to provide a pool of information on persons in Allied detention and those still wanted for interrogation or apprehension in connection with potential war crimes. National governments were invited to draw on this information and were also encouraged to contribute. To Allied military investigators the CROWCASS registers became a sort of Nazi Hunter’s bible BUT they had to be treated with considerable caution as many of the individuals were merely being sought for interrogation or simply to act as witnesses. Added to this, of course, all the cited instances of murder, pillage, brutality, torture etc that were contained within the CROWCASS registers were only allegations until those responsible were required to answer charges in an Allied court.
There are over 50,000 Germans and other nationals in this combined volume. Many of those named will have been arrested and charged in connection with the crimes they were accused of. Whilst others will have escaped apprehension by the Allied authorities and may still be at large.
Within these pages are the alleged perpetrators of tens of thousands of war crimes. They range from civilians and low ranking members of the armed forces to Adolf Hitler himself (CROWCASS Case Registry No.1 -Wanted for murder by Poland, Czechoslovakia and Belgium). Other notable names include
Hitler’s No.2 Martin Bormann, genocide architects Adolf Eichmann and Alois Brunner (never captured and possibly still alive), SS doctor Josef Mengele, Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie and Malmedy/ Wormhoudt massacre perpetrator SS General Wilhelm Mohnke.