Holocaust-Era Assets

Finding Aids: Holocaust-Era Assets Preface

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


The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration is pleased to contribute this publication to the international effort to trace assets looted by the Nazis from victims of the Holocaust. This is a finding aid to records needed in that search. Publishing the finding aid is another part of the support and encouragement that the US National Archives is giving to this critical undertaking.

During the past three years, our staff has been involved every day with researchers engaged in what Under Secretary of State Stuart E. Eizenstat has appropriately termed, "turning history into justice." Our holdings of archival records relating to Holocaust-Era assets have been used by United States government historians, journalists, private and academic historians, foreign historical commissions, parties involved in litigation, US Congressional staff members, and a variety of others attempting to discover the full truth about the Nazis' thievery.

Records in the US National Archives have been used to determine the extent of Nazi looting of monetary gold and the extent to which that gold was recovered by the Allies and restituted. Our records have been used in determining what works of art were confiscated and looted by the Nazis and where the unrecovered artworks may now be located. Our records have been used to identify dormant bank accounts in this country as well as abroad and insurance policies that were never claimed. The records have been used to determine the amount of non-monetary gold (dental gold, for example) that the Nazis took from their victims. In these ways as in many others, our holdings are important for attempting to establish facts that enable histories to be written, lawsuits pursued, and the truth uncovered. This finding aid, prepared under the leadership of Dr. Greg Bradsher of our staff, will facilitate additional research.

The subject matter may be exceptional, but we provide many such services. The National Archives and Records Administration is the national record keeper of the United States. An independent agency created by statute in 1934, NARA safeguards records of all three branches of the Federal Government. Its mission is to ensure that Federal officials and the American public have ready access to essential evidence--records that document the rights of citizens, the actions of government officials, and the national experience. Through a national network of archives and records services facilities stretching from Washington to the West Coast, including Presidential Libraries documenting administrations of Presidents back to Roosevelt and Hoover, NARA meets thousands of information requests daily, ensuring access to records on which the entitlements of citizens, the credibility of government, and the accuracy of history depend.

Archivist of the United States