Press Release

National Archives and Its Partners Launch New International Nazi-Era Records Internet Portal - US National Archives Press Release


WHAT:
  A National Archives signing ceremony to launch the new Nazi-era records online database
[http://www.archives.gov/research/holocaust/international-resources]. For the first time, digital access to millions of Nazi-era cultural property–related records will be available through a single Internet portal. 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.

WHO:  Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero
Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, U.S. Department of State, Douglas Davidson
Digitization Partnership Coordinator for the National Archives, James Hastings

WHERE:  Room 105 of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC
Please use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW.
Metro accessible: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter station on the Yellow and Green Lines

WHEN:  Thursday, May 5, 2011, 11 A.M.

Institutions contributing to the International Research Portal
Those in italics will have representatives at the May 5 signing ceremony:

The National Archives of the United States
The National Archives of the United Kingdom
The Federal Archives of Germany
State Archives in Belgium
Commission for Looted Art in Europe
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Archives Department, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (France)
Central State Archive of Supreme Bodies of Power and Government of Ukraine
Archives of the Memorial de la Shoah (France)
The German Historical Museum

Background
The International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property is a collaboration of national and other archival institutions with records pertaining to Nazi-era cultural property. These archival institutions, along with expert national and international organizations, have created a single Internet portal to extend public access to the widely dispersed records. This collaborative project was established to fulfill the 1998 Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, the 2000 Vilnius Forum Declaration, and the 2009 Terezin Declaration, with the goal of making all such records publicly accessible.

The portal links researchers to archival materials consisting of descriptions of records and, in many cases, digital images of the records that relate to cultural propertythat was stolen, looted, seized, forcibly sold, or otherwise lost during the Holocaust. Cultural property documented in these records ranges from artworks to books and libraries, religious objects, antiquities, archival documents, carvings, silver, and more.

Records from the U.S. National Archives
The records available through the Portal from the U.S. National Archives include over 2.3 million pages of documents created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II as part of its investigations into cultural assets that were looted or otherwise lost during the war. These records document the activities of several U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets, including the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and U.S. occupation forces in Germany and Austria. The materials also contain captured German records regarding the seizure of cultural property, such as the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) card file and related photographs. The records have been digitized and made available online by Footnote.com through a partnership agreement with the National Archives. The records are primarily in English, although some seized records are in German or other languages. There are no privacy or other access restrictions on the records.

See more information on Holocaust-era records [http://www.archives.gov/research/holocaust/] at the U.S. National Archives. See an extensive finding aid to these materials, [http://www.archives.gov/research/holocaust/finding-aid]. The National Archives online Archival Research Catalog (ARC) provides a description of many of these records [http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/topics/holocaust/series.html]. 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.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.

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Issue date: 28th April 2011

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