National Archives Marks Holocaust Days of Remembrance
Press Release · Monday, April 24, 2017
National Archives preserves Holocaust records and ensures that the Holocaust is not forgotten
The National Archives marks the annual Days of Remembrance of the Holocaust with a special new National Archives News web page highlighting the National Archives’ Holocaust-related holdings and resources, and remembrance events at National Archives facilities nationwide—including today's announcement of a special Holocaust records project at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
Project Launched to link Holocaust-related holdings at the FDR Library
Today, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY, is formally establishing the Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Holocaust Collections: A Curatorial Project—a digitally curated pathfinding tool uniting the unique Holocaust-related records in the Roosevelt Library’s holdings. This project will provide greater awareness of and access to three major Library collections: the Morgenthau Papers & Diaries, the Records of the War Refugee Board, and the Rudolf Vrba Papers, and will make these records available online at www.fdrlibrary.org. This project is named in honor of Henry Morgenthau Jr., President Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary and a powerful voice in the FDR administration in regards to the treatment of refugees and a seminal force in the establishment of the War Refugee Board.
The National Archives is the international epicenter of Holocaust-era research
The National Archives is the international epicenter of Holocaust-related research. The National Archives holds millions of records created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II that document Nazi war crimes, wartime refugee issues, and activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets (including gold, art, and cultural property)—as well as captured German records used as evidence at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunals. We not only hold these records, we provide public access to them:
- In 2011, the National Archives helped launch the International Research Portal to Nazi-Era records, providing digital access to millions of Nazi-era cultural property–related records through a single portal for the first time.
- The National Archives was essential to the work of the Interagency Working Group (IWG), which was created to assist in implementing the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998, the “largest congressionally mandated declassification project in U.S. history.” The National Archives committed staff and resources to the IWG’s monumental task: locating, reviewing, and making available for research 8 million pages of newly declassified records on Nazi war crimes.
- Dr. Greg Bradsher, senior archivist and World War II expert, wrote the definitive guide to Holocaust-related research: Holocaust-Era Assets: A Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives at College Park, MD.
Records of the Monuments Men at the National Archives
The National Archives’ Holocaust-era holdings include documentation of Nazi-era looted assets, including the original records of the Monuments Men. These extensive holdings document the activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets, including the Office of Strategic Services and U.S. occupation forces in Germany and Austria. The materials also include contain captured German records about looted art, including the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) card file and related photographs.
So-called “Hitler Albums” of Looted Art at the National Archives
The so-called "Hitler Albums" document the unprecedented and systematic looting of European art by the Nazis, a story brought to the screen by George Clooney in The Monuments Men film. As the ERR looted, photographed, and catalogued French collections, they created albums documenting these thefts. After the war, the U.S. Army discovered 39 of these albums and turned them over to the Monuments Men for use in identifying art work to be restituted. These volumes, now in the holdings of the National Archives, served as evidence in the Nuremburg trials to document the massive Nazi art looting operations. Until recently, it was believed that the missing ERR albums had been destroyed. Thanks to the Monuments Men Foundation, founded by Robert Edsel, four additional albums have been recovered and donated to the National Archives.
Additional online resources:
- Hi-res and public domain images relating to looted art
- Dr. Greg Bradsher’s extensive online finding aid to these materials
- Dr. Bradsher’s series of Monuments Men blogs. See the his latest post, The Monuments Men in September and October 1945: Restitutions
- Blog post: Monuments Men Records at the National Archives
- In 2011, the National Archives launched the International Research Portal to Nazi-era records, providing digital access to millions of Nazi-era cultural property–related records through a single portal for the first time.
- Watch part of the Nuremberg War Crimes trial on Looted Art
This page was last reviewed on April 24, 2017.
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