Peace Treaty of Versailles (Articles 214 - 226: Prisoners of War and Graves) (28 June 1919)
PRISONERS OF WAR AND GRAVES.
PRISONERS OF WAR.
The repatriation of prisoners of war and interned civilians shall
take place as soon as possible after the coming into force of the
present Treaty and shall be carried out with the greatest rapidity.
The repatriation of German prisoners of war and interned civilians
shall, in accordance with Article 214, be carried out by a
Commission composed of representatives of the Allied and Associated
Powers on the one part and of the German Government on the other
For each of the Allied and Associated Powers a Sub-Commission,
composed exclusively of Representatives of the interested Power and
of Delegates of the German Government, shall regulate the details
of carrying into effect the repatriation of the prisoners of war.
From the time of their delivery into the hands of the German
authorities the prisoners of war and interned civilians are to be
returned without delay to their homes by the said authorities.
Those amongst them who before the war were habitually resident in
territory occupied by the troops of the Allied and Associated
Powers are likewise to be sent to their homes, subject to the
consent and control of the military authorities of the Allied and
Associated armies of occupation.
The whole cost of repatriation from the moment of starting shall be
borne by the German Government who shall also provide the land and
sea transport and staff considered necessary by the Commission
referred to in Article 215.
Prisoners of war and interned civilians awaiting disposal or
undergoing sentence for offences against discipline shall be
repatriated irrespective of the completion of their sentence or of
the proceedings pending against them.
This stipulation shall not apply to prisoners of war and interned
civilians punished for offences committed subsequent to May 1,
During the period pending their repatriation all prisoners of war
and interned civilians shall remain subject to the existing
regulations, more especially as regards work and discipline.
Prisoners of war and interned civilians who are awaiting disposal
or undergoing sentence for offences other than those against
discipline may be detained.
The German Government undertakes to admit to its territory without
distinction all persons liable to repatriation.
Prisoners of war or other German nationals who do not desire to be
repatriated may be excluded from repatriation; but the Allied and
Associated Governments reserve to themselves the right either to
repatriate them or to take them to a neutral country or to allow
them to reside in their own territories.
The German Government undertakes not to institute any exceptional
proceedings against these persons or their families nor to take any
repressive or vexatious measures of any kind whatsoever against
them on this account.
The Allied and Associated Governments reserve the right to make the
repatriation of German prisoners of war or German nationals in
their hands conditional upon the immediate notification and release
by the German Government of any prisoners of war who are nationals
of the Allied and Associated Powers and may still be in Germany.
(1) To give every facility to Commissions to enquire into the cases
of those who cannot be traced; to furnish such Commissions with all
necessary means of transport; to allow them access to camps,
prisons, hospitals and all other places; and to place at their
disposal all documents, whether public or private, which would
facilitate their enquiries;
(2) To impose penalties upon any German officials or private
persons who have concealed the presence of any nationals of any of
the Allied and Associated Powers or have neglected to reveal the
presence of any such after it had come to their knowledge.
Germany undertakes to restore without delay from the date of the
coming into force of the present Treaty all articles, money,
securities and documents which have belonged to nationals of the
Allied and Associated Powers and which have been retained by the
The High Contracting Parties waive reciprocally all repayment of
sums due for the maintenance of prisoners of war in their
The Allied and Associated Governments and the German Government
will cause to be respected and maintained the graves of the
soldiers and sailors buried in their respective territories.
They agree to recognise any Commission appointed by an Allied or
Associated Government for the purpose of identifying, registering,
caring for or erecting suitable memorials over the said graves and
to facilitate the discharge of its duties.
Furthermore they agree to afford, so far as the provisions of their
laws and the requirements of public health allow, every facility
for giving effect to requests that the bodies of their soldiers and
sailors may be transferred to their own country.
The graves of prisoners of war and interned civilians who are
nationals of the different belligerent States and have died in
captivity shall be properly maintained in accordance with Article
225 of the present Treaty.
The Allied and Associated Governments on the one part and the
German Government on the other part reciprocally undertake also to
furnish to each other:
(1) A complete list of those who have died, together with all
information useful for identification;
(2) All information as to the number and position of the graves of
all those who have been buried without identification.