Prologue Magazine

Spoils of War Returned, Part 4

U.S. Restitution of Nazi-Looted Cultural Treasures to the USSR, 1945–1959

Fall 2002, Vol. 34, No. 3

By Patricia Kennedy Grimsted

© 2002 Patricia Kennedy Grimsted


This essay is condensed from my more extensive study, "Documenting U.S. Cultural Restitution to the USSR, 1945 - 1949," published as an introduction to the CD-ROM edition by the National Archives and Records Administration: U.S. Restitution of Nazi-Looted Cultural Treasures to the USSR, 1945 - 1949: Facsimile Documents from the National Archives of the United States, with a foreword by Michael J. Kurtz (2001). More detailed discussion and documentation on many of points will be found there; facsimile documents included will be cited below only with reference to that edition. An initial version of that publication was presented at the conference "Mapping Europe: The Fate of Looted Cultural Valuables in the Third Millennium," held in Moscow on April 10 - 11, 2000, at the All-Russian State Library for Foreign Literature— VGBIL (Vserossiiskaia gosudarstvennaia biblioteka inostrannykh literatury imena M. I. Rudomino). See the report, photographs, and my remarks at

I am particularly grateful to the National Archives for assuming the costs and labor of reproduction of the documents I located with the assistance of NARA archivists and the editorial work on those editions. That study in turn draws on chapter 6 in my book, Trophies of War and Empire: The Archival Heritage of Ukraine, World War II, and the International Politics of Restitution (2001), but includes many new findings. A full bibliography of my publications regarding displaced cultural treasures (some with hot links to the full texts) is now available electonically at

1 For a most readable account of Nazi looting and American restitution see Lynn Nicholas, The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War (1994); now also available in a Russian translation: Pokhishchenie Evropa: Sud'ba kul'turnykh tsennostei v gody natsizma (2001). See also The Spoils of War: World War II and Its Aftermath: The Loss, Reappearance, and Recovery of Cultural Property, ed. Elizabeth Simpson (1997). Regarding U.S. restitution policy, see Michael Kurtz, Nazi Contraband: American Policy on the Return of the European Cultural Treasures, 1945-1955 (1985), and his updated analysis in The Spoils of War, pp. 113-116.

2 See Konstantin Akinsha and Grigorii Kozlov (with Sylvia Hochfield), Beautiful Loot: The Soviet Plunder of Europe's Art Treasures (1995); revelations about the trophy art first appeared in a series of articles by the same authors in ARTnews in 1991. See also the revelations of Pavel Knyshevskii with the texts of still-classified documents in Dobycha: Tainy germanskikh reparatsii (1994), and the review by Mark Deich, "Dobycha— V adres Komiteta po delam iskusstv postupilo iz pobezhdennoi Germanii svyshe 1 milliona 208 tysiach muzeinykh tsennostei," Moskovskie novosti, 50 (Oct. 23-30, 1994): 18.

3 Regarding the books and archives, see Grimsted, Trophies of War and Empire, chapters 7 and 8. See also my earlier articles, "Displaced Archives and Restitution Problems on the Eastern Front from World War II and its Aftermath," Contemporary European History 6 (1997): 27 - 74; "'Trophy' Archives and Non-Restitution: Russia's Cultural 'Cold War' with the European Community," Problems of Post-Communism 45:3 (May/June 1998): 3 - 16; and "Twice Plundered or Twice Saved?: Russia's 'Trophy' Archives and the Loot of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 15 (Fall 2001): 191 - 244.

4 Quoted from the preamble to the law adopted in April 1998. The full text appears as "O kul'turnykh tsennostiakh, peremeshchennykh v Soiuz SSR v resul'tate Vtoroi mirovoi voiny i nakhodiashchikhsia na territorii Rossiiskoi Federatsii" (Apr. 15, 1998-64-FZ), in Sobranie zakonodatel'stva RF, 1998, 16 (Apr. 20), statute 1879. An English translation (along with the original Russian text) is available electronically at

5 Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Opinion No. 193 (1996)— "On Russia's request for membership of the Council of Europe," adopted Jan. 25, 1996, which Russia was obliged to sign as a condition of admittance.

6 See Grimsted, Trophies of War and Empire, especially chap. 10. The Constitutional Court decision is printed in Sobranie zakonodatel'stva RF, 1999, 30 (Aug. 26), statute 3989. The text of the law as now amended (signed May 25, 2000-No. 70-FZ) appears in Sobranie zakonodatels'stva RF, 2000, no. 22 (May 29), statute 2259. The Russian texts of all these documents appear electronically at

7 Regarding the new descriptive developments in Russia, with citations to relevant texts, see Grimsted, "Russia's Trophy Archives."

8 Aleksandr A. Surikov, addressing the Council of the Federation, quoted in Soviet Federatsii Federal'nogo Sobraniia, Zasedanie deviatoe, Biulleten', 1 (17 July 1996): 59.

9 Nikolai Gubenko, interview with the radio station "Echo of Moscow" (Apr. 22, 1997), "Luchshie interv'iu," p. 10 of 12. See also Gubenko's defensive presentation about the nationalization law in Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets November 30 - December 3, 1998: Proceedings, ed. J. D. Bindenagel et al. (1999), pp. 513 - 518, available electronically at

10 The initial version presented in Moscow comprised documentation from eighteen transfers (1945 - 1947), but since then I documented an additional one that took place in Washington, DC, in August 1959.

11 The official U.S. Army list, "Restituted Russian Property," and covering memorandum from Richard F. Howard, deputy chief for cultural restitution (MFA&A) (Sept. 20, 1948) were first published in Grimsted (with Hennadii Boriak), Dolia skarbiv Ukraïns'koï kul'tury pid chas Druhoï svitovoï viiny: Vynyshchennia arkhiviv, bibliotek, muzeïv (1991), pp. 117 - 119. Facsimiles from the Records of U.S. Occupation Headquarters, World War II (OMGUS), Record Group (RG) 260, National Archives at College Park, MD (NACP) are included in the Grimsted CD-ROM.

12 Initially published in the press, a facsimile appears in Wolfgang Eichwede and Ulrike Hartung, eds., "Betr: Sicherstellung": NS-Kunstraub in der Sowjetunion (1998), plate XXXVI. In that volume, see the article by Gabriele Freitag, "Die Restitution von NS-Beutegut nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg" (pp. 170 - 208), which provides an excellent survey of U.S. restitution to the USSR.

13 Their operation and difficulties were well described by Nicholas, Rape of Europa, although Nicholas does not mention the restitution to the USSR.

14 A receipt for this shipment, signed by Lt. Col. Constantin Piartzany [sic], and a four-page list of box numbers for the 333 crates, is reproduced as Transfer #1 in the Grimsted CD-ROM. As explained in my CD-ROM "Introduction," most probably these were the collections of local newspapers and archival materials removed from Novgorod under supervision of German archivist Wolfgang Mommsen.

15 The act of transfer, with a twelve-page inventory, of archives and museum exhibits totaling 1,160 crates, is reproduced as Transfer #2 in the Grimsted CD-ROM.

16 See Transfer #3 in the Grimsted CD-ROM. According to my interview with a librarian in Smolensk, only a few looted books returned there twenty years later, with no indication of their wartime and postwar migration.

17 See Craig Smyth, Repatriation of Art from the Collecting Point in Munich after World War II (1988). In addition to the records of the Munich Collecting Point within the OMGUS Property Division records (AHC), other remaining records are held in the German Federal Archives in Koblenz (BAK— Bundesarchiv-Koblenz), as part of record group B 323— Treuhandverwaltung für Kulturgut (TVK). A newly available typescript finding aid greatly improves access. See the brief description by Anja Heuss, Kunst- und Kulturgutraub: Eine vergleichende Studie zu Besatzungspolitik der Nationalsozialisten in Frankreich und der Sowjetunion (2000), pp. 16 - 22.

See also the series "Photographs of the Restitution of Art and Other Activities at the Munich Central Collecting Point," 260-MCCP, in the NARA still pictures unit; many of the photos come from an album prepared by Smyth. Other photographs by the official photographer at Munich, Johannes Felbermeyer, are held by the Getty Center for the History of Art and Humanities, Los Angeles (

18 Copies of the Property Cards-Art (many with photographs) are among the records of the U.S. Central Collecting Points, some in more than one copy, as part of the OMGUS records (RG 260), Records of the Property Division, most of them within the Ardelia Hall Collection (AHC), NACP. Many more photographs and negatives are held in the Still Pictures unit. Complete microfilm copies of the negatives linked to the property cards from the Munich CCP are now held (on temporary loan) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, where an electronic finding aid is in preparation. Details about these resources are provided in the excellent new AAM Guide to Provenance Research, by Nancy Yeide, Konstantin Akinsha, and Amy L. Walsh (2001), especially pp. 55 - 105. Another copy of the property cards and photographs from the Munich and Wiesbaden CCPs remain today in Koblenz (BAK), B 323.

19 The master set of inventories by city and museum, "Verzeichnis der Treuhandverwaltung von Kulturgut München bekanntgewordenen Restitutionen von 1945 bis 1962," USSR A - Z, remain today with the Munich CCP files, B 323/578. Other detailed inventories, such as those for cultural property from Kyiv museums, remain in B 323/498; related ERR inventories are in B 323/495.

20 More examples are given in the Grimsted CD-ROM. Recently, in an effort to help better identify Nazi-plundered cultural treasures from the USSR and counter Russian denials of U.S. postwar restitution, the East European Research Center (Forschungsstelle Osteuropa) at the University of Bremen prepared a German-language CD-ROM database covering items returned to the Soviet Union, on the basis of the collection of "property cards - art" in Koblenz. See Wolfgang Eichwede and Ulrike Hartung, eds., "Property Cards Art, Claims und Shipments auf CD-ROM: Amerikanische Rückführungen sowjetischer Kulturgüter an die UdSSR nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg"— Die CD der Arbeitsstelle "Verbleib der im zweiten Weltkrieg aus der Sowjetunion verlagerten Kulturgüter" (1996).

Photocopies of the "Property Cards - Art" from the records of the Munich Collecting Point (in BAK, B 323) were presented at the 1994 UNESCO-sponsored conference in Chernihiv. See H. Boriak, "Bremens'kyi proekt 'Dolia kul'turnykh tsinnostei, vyvezenykh z SRSR v roky Druhoï svitovoï viiny' (FRN)," in Materialy natsional'noho seminaru "Problemu povernennia natsional'no-kul'turnykh pam'iatok, vtrachenykh abo peremishchenykh pid chas Druhoï svitovoï viiny." Chernihiv, beresen' 1994, ed. O. K. Fedoruk, H. V. Boriak, S. I. Kot et al. (Kyiv, 1996; Povernennia kul'turnoho nadbannia Ukraïny: Problemy, zavdannia, perspektyvy, 6), pp. 251 - 260.

21 See the four-page inventory of the components of the Neptune Fountain in the new Grimsted CD-ROM (transfer 11 [Munich #5]). Some supporting documents are found in BAK B 323/500, and TsDAVO, 3676/1/149, fols. 256 - 57. See the report by Karin Jeltsch, "Der Raub des Neptunbrunnens aus Schloss Peterhof," in "Betr: Sicherstellung," pp. 67 - 74. See also

22 In addition to the records of the Wiesbaden Collecting Point in the OMGUS records (RG 260, AHC), see also the photographic series, "Photographs of Activities at the Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point," 260-WLA, WLB, and WLC, with a fragmentary German-language caption list in 260-WLX, NACP, Still Pictures.

23 The most detailed account of operations at OAD was prepared by one of the U.S. MFA&A officers involved with postwar restitution in Germany, Leslie I. Poste, The Development of U.S. Protection of Libraries and Archives in Europe during World War II (1964), pp. 258 - 301, with a chart of out-shipments by country, pp. 299 - 300. See also Poste, "Books Go Home from the Wars," Library Journal 73 (Dec. 1, 1948): 1699 - 1704. A brief account appears in an online exhibit at the web site of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: See also F. J. Hoogewoud, "The Nazi Looting of Books and Its American 'Antithesis': Selected Pictures from the Offenbach Archival Depot's Photographic History and Its Supplement," Studia Rosenthaliana 26: (1992): 158 - 192, which reproduces selected photographs from the albums illustrating OAD operations (held in NACP, Still Pictures, RG 260 - PHOAD). See also the remarks of the first director, Col. Seymour J. Pomrenze, "Offenbach Reminiscences and the Restitutions to the Netherlands," in The Return of Looted Collections (1946-1996). An Unfinished Chapter: Proceedings of an International Symposium to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Return of Dutch Collections from Germany, ed. F. J. Hoogewoud, E. P. Kwaardgras et al. (1997), pp. 10 - 18.

24 This figure for shipments to the USSR is cited by Poste, U.S. Protection of Libraries and Archives, pp. 298 - 300, which corresponds to the figures found in the OAD records I examined in boxes 66 and 250 - 262, Property Division, AHC, RG 260, NACP, but does not include transfers 15 and 16.

25 Given the importance of these albums for tracing the fate of library collections, the sections covering library stamps from former Soviet lands are reproduced in their entirety in the Grimsted CD-ROM.

Six original albums entitled "Photographs of Library Markings from Looted Books, Made by the Offenbach Archival Depot," are preserved in series 260-LM, NACP. Album II (partially duplicated in albums IV and V), but actually marked "Vol. I Eastern," covers Eastern Europe, with successive sections for "Czecho-Slovakia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Kovno (mostly Jewish), Latvia, Poland, Russland, White Russland [Belarus], Wilno, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia." Another copy of "Volume I Eastern" is found in box 779, Property Division, AHC, RG 260, NACP. Col. Seymour Pomrenze kindly showed me his personal copy. Copies of the original albums with photographs of bookplates (ex libris), organized by country of provenance, are also retained (series 260-XL, NACP), but none of them cover Soviet collections.

26 Documentation about the books discovered in the University of Heidelberg and shipped to the Soviet embassy in Bonn in October 1962 is in BAK, B 323/497. That transfer is not counted among the nineteen U.S. transfers since it took place later under German auspices.

27 The petition is reproduced in the Grimsted CD-ROM. Dated Sept. 14, 1954, it is signed by the Very Reverend Alexander Chernay, Pastor, St. Vladimir's Church, Missionary for the Southwestern States, the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church. Related documents are found in box 7, AHC, General Records of the Department of State, RG 59, NACP. I am grateful to Konstantin Akinsha for calling my attention to this file. The photographs of the icons are now missing from the file in NARA.

28 The act of transfer on May 31, 1957, was executed by the head of the consulate division of the embassy of the USSR in the USA and Archbishop Dionisii, acting exarchate of the Moscow Patriarch in the United States. Related documents with photographs are now preserved in the Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (AVP RF), fond 192/37(por no. 21)/213, fols. 50-52ff. Nikolai I. Nikandrov of the Ministry of Culture RF kindly showed me copies held by his office.

29 Russian labels on individual artifacts undoubtedly led to the identification, pictured with the documents for Transfer #19 on the Grimsted CD-ROM. I am grateful to Elena Belevich, deputy director of the Historico-Documentary Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for locating the relevant documentation in AVP RF.

30 Those transfers do not include others that were not handled by the MFA&A section of OMGUS, those that were transferred to Russian émigrés abroad, or those that were later executed by the West German government. Details are provided in the Grimsted "Introduction" to the CD-ROM. This explains why the Grimsted figure of nineteen is lower than higher figures often cited by Bremen specialists.

31 Vasilii Sokolovskii to Lucius D. Clay, Mar. 5, 1949, reproduced in the Grimsted CD-ROM.

32 Clay to Sokolovskii, Mar. 10, 1949, reproduced in the Grimsted CD-ROM. Also in the same file is a four-page memorandum of Maj. Henry D. Anastasas to M. H. McCord, Mar. 8, 1949, in preparation for Clay's response to Sokolovskii.

33 See Grigorii Kozlov (with Konstantin Akinsha), "Diplomatic Debate on Cultural Restitution Matters 1945 - 1946," electronic version in English and Russian in the April 2000 VGBIL conference proceedings at and

34 See, for example, the secret report on "Soviet Removals of Cultural Materials," June 7, 1947, addressed to the Adjutant General at the War Department from Lt. Col. G. H. Garde, with twenty-three enclosures, most of them detailed reports and inventories of specific Soviet removals, box 129, Adjutant General decimal files, 1947, RG 260, NACP.

35 See especially, Akinsha and Kozlov, Beautiful Loot. Lynn Nicholas' book was completed before all of the new details were released, but she also described the Soviet plunder in Berlin and elsewhere in East Germany, Rape of Europa, pp. 362 - 367, from other sources. See the list of shipments (based on documents collected by Akinsha and Kozlov) published by Waldemar Ritter, "The Soviet Spoils Commissions: On the Removal of Works of Art from German Museums and Collections," International Journal of Cultural Property 7: 2 (1998): 446 - 455, and Klaus Goldmann, "The Treasure of the Berlin State Museums and Its Allied Capture: Remarks and Questions," in ibid, pp. 308 - 441.

36 That was the response of former directors of the postwar U.S. Collecting Points when they were queried in a session on the American restitution program at the 1995 Symposium in New York. See Grimsted, "Captured Archives and Restitution Problems on the Eastern Front," in The Spoils of War, p. 246.

37 See the contributions from the special session on the Quedlinburg treasures in The Spoils of War, pp. 148 - 58. The jeweled cover of the ninth-century Samuhel Gospels and several other treasures looted by the American GI from Texas are pictured in ibid., p. 23. See also the account by Siegfried Kogelfranz and Willi A. Korte, Quedlinburg— Texas und zurück: Schwarzhandel mit geraubter Kunst (1994).

38 See the transfer receipt and inventory of forty-nine items (Sept. 7, 1951), box 105, Property Division, AHC, Restitution and Custody Receipts, RG 260, NACP.

39 "Soviet Restitution Claims," box 23, Records of the Property Division, Russia, RG 260, NACP.

40 Anastasas to McCord, Mar. 8, 1949, box 24, Property Division, USSR confidential, RG 260, NACP. Considerable correspondence regarding the Tikhvin icon remains in U.S. restitution records. The existence of the original in Chicago was confirmed to me by a Church representative in July 2000, although I have not seen it myself; it has also been confirmed by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. See Ol'ga Vasil'eva, "Netlennyi plennyi obraz," Novoe vremia, 1995, no. 17, pp. 34 - 35.

41 See the catalog of the collection by Mieczyslaw Gebarowicz and Hans Tietze, Albrecht Dürers zeichnungen im Lubomirskimuseum in Lemberg (1929), presented in a folio edition with reproductions of all twenty-four drawings. H. S. Reitlinger, "An Unknown Collection of Durer Drawings," Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs (London), March 1927, pp. 153 - 155, includes plates reproducing nine of the drawings and brief descriptions of the rest.

42 See the most recent article by Konstantin Akinsha and Sylvia Hochfield, "Who Owns the Lubomirski Dürers?" ARTnews 100:9 (October 2001): 158 - 163; Akinsha and State Department officials kindly updated me on subsequent developments. Among earlier accounts, see the excellent coverage by Michael Dobbs, "Stolen Beauty," Washington Post Magazine, Mar. 21, 1999, pp. 12 - 18, 29, which concludes, in line with the opinion of the director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the U.S. Department of State, that the Ukrainian claim probably would not stand up in court. Martin Bailey, "Hitler, the Prince and the Dürers," in The Art Newspaper (London) 6 (April 1995): 1 - 2, suggests the drawings rightfully belong to Lviv and that American restitution authorities probably had no right to return them to Prince Georg Lubomirski. That conclusion was repeated in more outspoken terms in the Lviv newspaper, Vysokii zamok, 1999, no. 1, p. 1. See also Bailey's follow-up article on the 1998 claim by the Stefanyk Library in Lviv, "Growing unease over Lubomirski Dürers," The Art Newspaper 93 (June 1999): 3.

43 See the secret reports and memorandums regarding Offenbach holdings (two undated in November, one in December, and the other dated Dec. 14, 1948), and the later confidential report (received March 1949) from OMGUS Chief of Staff, Civil Affairs Division, signed Hays," box 607, Records of the Executive Office, AG, General Correspondence, decimal file, RG 260, NACP.

44 Documentation about this program is found among the OAD records, boxes 66, 254, and 256, and scattered in other OMGUS files, Property Division, AHC, OAD, RG 260, NACP. It has recently come to light, for example, that many identified books from the Baltic countries (excluded from U.S. restitution) went to Jerusalem. See U.S. Presidential Commission on Holocaust-Era Assets, Plunder and Restitution: The U.S. and Holocaust Victims' Assets (2000), chapter 6, for discussion of JCR.

45 Library markings and provenance are indicated in many cases for boxes 2 and 5, but no details are provided for the "107 Hebrew manuscripts" in box no. 1 or the "110 Hebrew manuscripts" in box no. 4. In addition to the Baltic countries, libraries of several Jewish communities in Germany (including Frankfurt and Karlsruhe among other private owners) are given, and three have library marks from Italy, including one from the Rabbinical College in Florence, and several from Poland. The covering memorandum, "Material wrongfully sent from Offenbach Archival Depot and presently at Jerusalem" (May 27, 1947) (unsigned cc with signature line for Col. L. Wilkinson), box 66 (and box 240), Property Division, General Records, AHC, OAD, RG 260, NACP. The case is mentioned in Plunder and Restitution, p. SR - 199.

46 Regarding the identification and recovery of the YIVO collections from Offenbach during the period February - June 1947, see the moving chapter in the memoirs of Lucy Dawidowicz, From That Place and Time: A Memoir, 1938-1947 (1989), pp. 312 - 326. See also David E. Fishman, Embers Plucked from the Fire: The Rescue of Jewish Cultural Treasures in Vilna (1996; with parallel text in Hebrew).

47 See Plunder and Restitution.

48 This problem was particularly apparent in the 2000 Vilnius Forum on Holocaust-Era Cultural Assets, where representatives of many European Jewish museums and other institutions found themselves at odds with the Israeli claim that all "heirless" Jewish cultural property should go to Israel. See the proceedings at

49 The "Research Project for Art and Archives," sponsored by Ronald S. Lauder and Edgar M. Brofman, is specifically intended to describe cultural treasures of Holocaust victims. The text of the agreement signed with the Ministry of Culture in Moscow (4 December 2001) is at the website, under "accomplishments - Russia." I am grateful to Konstantin Akinsha for updating me about the project.

50 "Soviet Restitution Claims," box 23, Records of the Property Division, Russia, RG 260, NACP.

51 "Matters of Interest to Liaison Agent," GMDS, Camp Ritchie, MD, unsigned [n.d.], copy, AGAR-S, no. 1393 (GMDS 5:1 folder 1), National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, RG 242, NACP.

52 Poste cites the total figure in the table of transfers to G-2 from Offenbach, Poste, U.S. Protection, p. 299, but references to additional transfers are found in OAD records in RG 260, NACP. Many actual seizures of Soviet books and archival materials by U.S. intelligence agents have not been adequately documented, although in addition to the Smolensk Archive, several other groups of records of Russian provenance remain in the National Archives.

53 See Grimsted, The Odyssey of the "Smolensk Archive": Plundered Communist Records for the Service of Anti-Communism, Carl Beck Papers in Russian & East European Studies, no. 1201 (1995). A separate updated article on this subject is planned.

54 Regarding the Soviet retrieval in 1945, see Valerii N. Shepelev, "Sud'ba 'Smolenskogo arkhiva,'" Izvestiia TsK KPSS, 1991, no. 5, pp. 135 - 38. Shepelev includes reports of the Red Army political unit that found the Smolensk records, from RGASPI (earlier RTsKhIDNI), 17/125/308, fols. 11 - 12. See Grimsted, Odyssey of the Smolensk Archive, pp. 44 - 48. See also V. N. Shepelev, "Novye fakty o sud'be dokumentov 'Smolenskogo arkhiva' (po materialam RTsKhIDNI)," Problemy zarubezhnoi arkhivnoi rossiki: Sbornik statei (1997), pp. 124 - 133.

55 See Serhii Kot, "Povernennia mykhailivsktkh fresok: kul'turno-istorychnyi barter?" Polityka i kul'tura, 90 (Feb. 27 - Mar. 5, 2001): 40 - 41. Additional inventories of these materials, including church plans, photographs, and negatives, are preserved in the Munich records in BAK, B 323/498. See Kot's most recent article with several pictures, "Mykhailivs'ki relikviï kolo zamknulosia," Politika i kul'tura, (130) (Dec. 18-24, 2001): 44 - 46.

56 In 1997 I was permitted to examine some files within the partially declassified series (opis' 2) of the records of the Committee on Cultural-Enlightenment Affairs of the RSFSR (Komitet po delam kul'turno-prosvetilel'skich uchrezhdenii RSFSR) (predecessor of the Ministry of Culture of the USSR), GA RF, A-534/2. For example, among U.S. shipments to the USSR in one list from June 1946 were 26 crates from the Ukrainian SSR— T. Zuev to A. A. Zhdanov (June 6, 1946), GA RF, A-534/2/10, fol. 218. Another file (GA RF, A-534/2/13), includes receipts for 40 crates for the Kerch Museum (fol. 3), 268 crates for the Historical Museum in Kyiv (fols. 9 - 15), and others being transferred to Feodosii in the Crimea in 1948 (Crimea was part of the RSFSR until 1954).

57 See the signed official transfer documents (with accompanying chart of corresponding U.S. property card numbers), (Sept. 6, 1947), GA RF, A-534/2/14, fols. 6 - 19, 27 - 28, 34, 39 - 40, and 52. For example, the act of transfer to Ukraine (fols. 6-9) has an attached list (fols. 10 - 19), specifying 1,127 crates of museum items from Kyiv among 2,391 crates received from the American Zone (copy, fols. 41 - 50). The act of transfer to Minsk has 182 items (fols. 20 - 21; cc. fols. 53 - 54). See also the inventory of paintings and icons from Novgorod and Pskov received from Germany (Jan. 27, 1948), fols. 65 - 113, and fols. 116 - 120.

The Bremen group also surveyed this problem with limited success, although the German researchers themselves had not seen the original files. See Ulrike Hartung, "Der Weg zurück: Russische Akten bestätigen die Rückführung eigener Kulturgüter aus Deutschland nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Probleme ihrer Erfassung," "Betr: Sicherstellung," pp. 209 - 221.

58 Most other sections of SVAG records have now been declassified, and a joint Russo-German project is under way to create an electronic finding aid, but records relating to property matters and trophy transfers remain closed. I appreciate the efforts of Sergei Mironeko and his GA RF colleagues to locate the documents and regret that a joint publication was not possible on their basis.

Spoils of War Returned, Part 1
Spoils of War Returned, Part 2
Spoils of War Returned, Part 3



Patricia Kennedy Grimsted is research associate at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University and is a leading authority on archives of the former Soviet Union and Soviet successor states. She has written widely on World War II displaced cultural treasures, including Trophies of War and Empire: The Archival Legacy of Ukraine, World War II, and the International Politics of Restitution (Harvard University Press, 2001).




Articles published in Prologue do not necessarily represent the views of NARA or of any other agency of the United States Government.