Holocaust Records Project

To address the dual concerns of researchers' demand for records that document the locating and restituting of confiscated art and the preservation problems associated with overuse of fragile World War II records, NARA created the Holocaust Records Project (HRP). The project has the task of identifying, preserving, describing, and microfilming (now digitizing) more than twenty million pages of records created by the Allies in occupied Europe regarding Nazi looted art and the restitution of national treasures. These materials include documents generated by various U.S. government civilian agencies, U.S. military branches, and the Office of Military Government, U.S. Zone (OMGUS).

Part of the HRP includes the microfilming (now digitizing) of documents in more than fifteen different records groups, including Records of the Office of Strategic Services (RG 226), General Records in the Department of State (RG 59), Records of the Office of Alien Property (Foreign Funds) (RG 131), and the "Ardelia Hall Collection" in Records of U.S. Occupation Headquarters, World War II (RG 260).

For the Photographic Imaging, Microfilm and Textual Preservation Lab, the HRP began in June of 2001 as a preservation microfilming project. The goal of the microfilming portion of the project was to film 2,780,400 Holocaust records to create 26 microfilm publications (consisting of 2,317 rolls). The first publication to be filmed, M1782 (Office of Strategic Services Art Looting Investigation Unit Reports, 1945 - 1946) was chosen based on the popularity of the records. These records, also known as the ALIU reports, describe Nazi looting; locations of looted art; German and Nazi attempts to sell looted art; the transport of art into and around the Reich; descriptions and dimensions of specific pieces, with many pieces listing the selling and purchasing prices; names of purchasing agents and auction houses; names and activities of Swiss, French, German, and other European art dealers; and art collections of Nazi leaders.

For microfilm output, the microfilm lab was creating 1 camera master for preservation, 1 negative duplicating master for the library, and 1 positive viewing copy for the reading room.

In 2009, project processes were revised to accommodate the analog-to-digital transition in the labs. By this time, the lab had already completed 20 microfilm publications (1,127 rolls) representing 1,353,000 images. Currently, the lab is now digitizing records on Zeutschel camera systems. Full digital production started in June 2009. At that time, there were 6 publications left to create, representing 1,286,500 images. The labs are creating Textual Maximum - Grayscale [TXT-P2] files as well as Textual Median - Grayscale [TXT-R2] files.

The completion date for this project was November 2010. Digital files are being transferred to Footnote for indexing and hosting online via the Footnote website. A microfilm master is also being produced from the images using the Archive Writer system. DVDs of images are provided to the reading rooms for on-site viewing. Digital files are transferred to the SAN for secure storage. At this time, digital files take up 12 TB of space.

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