The National Archives and its partners today launched an international Nazi-era assets related records database– making millions of records related to Nazi-era cultural property available online for the first time.
A National Archives signing ceremony today launched the new database, providing digital access to millions of Nazi-era cultural property–related records through a single Internet portal for the first time. The portal extends public access to the widely dispersed records that will enable families and institutions to research their losses, provenance researchers to locate important documentation, and historians to study newly accessible materials on the history of this period.
Records in the U.S. 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. Such 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. These records have been used to identify dormant bank accounts in the United States and abroad, and insurance policies that were never claimed. In addition, they 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, National Archives holdings are important to establish facts that enable histories to be written, lawsuits pursued, and the truth uncovered. National Archives experts have testified on Capitol Hill and spoken at seminars and conferences worldwide about these records and what they reveal.
To assist researchers, in 1996 the National Archives prepared its first finding aid to relevant Holocaust assets-related records in Archives holdings. The initial guide was 3 pages, but as new records were discovered it grew exponentially, topping out at over 1,100 pages – an authoritative guide to over 15 million pages of Holocaust-era assets records at the National Archives created or received by over 30 Federal agencies.
The National Archives online Archival Research Catalog (ARC) provides a description of many of these records. From the ARC description, click on the URL provided in the “online resource” section to be directed to the digitized records on Footnote.com. The digitized records on Footnote.com are available free in all National Archives research rooms and many large libraries, or for a fee by subscription. In recognition of the importance of these materials and this new international portal, Footnote.com will make all of their Holocaust-era records freely accessible for the entire month of May.
See Also: Two More Holocaust Resources Announced of Released This Week: