They will not charge for the initial search. What used to happen is that they only indicated that there were available records, but more recently for some reason they have included a summary of the individual's service. Their response will include instructions--only in German--on obtaining copies of any documents, for which there is a fee. This is based on my own request for information for the same person twice. A number of years ago I submitted the request, but decided against actually getting the documents. When I reconsidered about two years ago, I sent another request and was surprised that this time they included a breakdown of his service. It was all I needed to know, so I again decided against ordering the documents (most surviving files are only a few pages, anyway). This person was in the Kriegsmarine, though. I'm not sure what information, if any, you will get if he was with a different branch of the military.