Records of the Office of Alien Property
(Record Group 131)
Notice to Researchers in Records Released under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act and the Japanese Imperial Government Records Act
The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), in implementing the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act and the Japanese Imperial Government Records Act, has taken the broadest view in identifying records that may be responsive to the Acts. Information relevant to the Acts is often found among files related to other subjects. In order to preserve the archival integrity of the files, the IWG and the National Archives and Records Administration, where possible, have released entire files together, not just those items related to Nazi or Japanese war criminals, crimes, persecution, and looted assets. These records may relate to persons who are war criminals, former Axis personnel who are not war criminals, victims of war crimes or persecution, or civilian or military personnel investigating Nazi activities; the records may also include mention of, or information about, persons having no connection to these activities.
Note: As you begin your research on the Records of the Office of Alien Property, this key to country codes that were used in the creation of account and case numbers will be helpful.
NARA Online Catalog Identifier 6587590, Entry A1 281
This series consists of reports, letters, memoranda, microfilm, and other records that relate to the various functions and responsibilities of the Office of Alien Property during and after World War II. Major topics include negotiations among the former Allied powers, and Switzerland and Sweden, over the disposition of vested foreign assets, and the claims arising from the seizure of those assets; and FBI investigations into people and corporations suspected of Nazi war crimes or Axis power sympathies.
The seized assets included currencies and financial instruments, patents and trademarks, and films. The companies involved included Bank Waedenswil, Contibank (Continentale Handelsbank) and the American Potash and Chemical Corporation, Deutsches Kalisyndikaat, I.G. Chemie, Interhandel (Internationale Industrie - und Handelsbeteilgungen AG), and the General Aniline and Film Corporation.
There are investigative/biographical files on Emil Georg Buehrle, a Swiss industrialist and noted art collector; Paul Otto Schmidt, Hitler's interpreter and German Foreign Office official; Otto Skorzeny, a German SS officer, and many lesser-known people.
Other topics include Swiss bank secrecy; international conferences on reparations by the former Axis powers; the possible post-war vesting of Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Rumanian Government assets in the U.S.; correspondence of then-Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. relating to foreign funds; drafts of the section of the U.S.-Japan peace treaty dealing with claims and property; Safehaven program negotiations to prevent the disappearance of assets looted by the Axis powers; microfilm of membership cards of non-German Nazi Party members; FBI investigations into employees of the Office of Alien Property (OAP) and people being considered for positions with corporations seized and operated by the Department of Justice; drafts of regulations that might be needed by the OAP to control foreign assets in the event of another war; and investigations into the alleged Communist leanings of Thomas J. Brandon, President of Brandon Films, distribution licensee for some foreign films vested by the OAP.
This series was previously titled "Miscellaneous Classified Records, 1941-1963." A folder list for the series is available.
NARA Online Catalog Identifier 7329938, Entry P 33
Case files consist of copies of vesting orders, recommendations for vesting, court documents, agreements, hearing examination files, orders nullifying all or part of original vesting order, and other legal, financial, and investigative records. Arranged numerically by Vesting Orders number.
Click here to see a summary description of selected Vesting Orders.