Holocaust-Era Assets

Finding Aids: Holocaust-Era Assets Foreword

A Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland

Finding Aid Table of Contents


This finding aid had its origins in a researcher's effort to determine the extent of Holocaust-Era Jewish dormant assets in Swiss banks. Recognition of the importance of the issue and the potential for additional research interest led to preparation in April 1996 of a brief (ten page) list of relevant records in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at its facility in College Park, Maryland. This concise list contained information about records that seemed most pertinent to researcher interests in Swiss banks and the then soon-to-be related subject of Nazi looted gold. By the fall of 1996 an Interagency Group on Nazi Assets had been established under the leadership of Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, then the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Special Envoy of the Department of State on Property Restitution in Central and Eastern Europe. This group requested compilation of a more detailed listing of NARA holdings at College Park to assist with preparation of a report on Nazi looted gold and other assets.

The subsequent 277-page finding aid was completed in March 1997 and served as an appendix to the May 7, 1997, report of the Interagency Group on Nazi Assets, prepared under the direction of William Z. Slany, The Historian, Department of State. The 212-page report was entitled U.S. and Allied Efforts to Recover and Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During World War II: Preliminary Study. Both the report and the appendix were placed on the Department of State's website (http://www.state.gov) on May 7, 1997, and were made available in paper form from the United States Government Printing Office.

In conjunction with the preparation of a supplemental report to the above-mentioned report, a revised and expanded 700-page finding aid was prepared and made available in March 1998, in paper form, on site at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, and on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's website (http://www.ushmm.org/assets). In June 1998 the second report, coordinated by Stuart E. Eizenstat, now Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, and prepared by William Slany, was released and made available through the United States Government Printing Office and at both the State Department and the Holocaust Museum websites. The 180-page report is entitled U.S. and Allied Wartime and Postwar Relations and Negotiations with Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey on Looted Gold and German External Assets and U.S. Concerns About the Fate of the Wartime Ustasha Treasury.

This version of the finding aid expands on the March 1998 version to include more extensive descriptions of records relating to topics hitherto described as well records relating to art looting, European insurance companies, and slave labor. Incorporated in this edition as an appendix is a bibliography of published government and non-governmental literature of Holocaust-Era assets compiled by Lida H. Churchville, NARA's Chief Librarian.