Records of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
These records are under the administration of the records manager at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. For information about the content of and/or access to the records, researchers should contact:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2126
This record group contains individual memoirs written by Holocaust survivors about their experiences living in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe; attempts to find refuge from persecution and deportation; their lives in exile; their experiences living in the ghettos, forests, and camps; life after liberation; emigration from Europe; and the like. Many of the memoirs are handwritten, the rest are in typescript. These documents vary from a few pages to book-length manuscripts.
Researchers should also consult entries in RG-10 Small Collections and RG-19 Rescue, Refugees, and Displaced Persons. Many of these are collections from survivors; some contain only letters, photos, documents, and the like, but no written testimonies. Relevant oral histories in RG-50 may also be useful to researchers.
This record group contains materials that include memoirs, essays, and newspaper articles relating to many small and large Jewish communities mainly during the period 1933–1948. Some of the communities include Saloniki, Rhodes, Frankfurt, Cyprus, Prague, Glogau, Klimontow, Shanghai, Ostrowiec, Dohla, Gorinchem, and Strzyzow.
Concentration and Other Camps
This record group contains a wide variety of materials relating to every type of camp (e.g., concentration, transit, displaced persons, forced labor, killing centers, prisoner of war, etc.) in Germany and Austria and the territories occupied by the Germans and their collaborators. The bulk of the collection is composed of small donations from individuals, mainly survivors and their families and former soldiers in the U.S. Army who served in Europe during the time of the liberation of the camps. Included are more than 78 individual collections, most of which have been cataloged; the catalog data appears on the USHMM Web site.
RG-15 Poland, RG-26 Lithuania (Vilnius and Kovno ghettos), and RG-68 Israel, all of which contain records relating to ghettos; for example RG-15.083M Przelozony Starszenstwa Zydow w Gettcie Lódzkim (Der Älteste der Juden vom Litzmannstadt-Getto) and RG-26 Accession 1999.A.0105: Records of the Vilnius Ghetto.
War Crimes Investigations and Prosecutions
This record group contains a wide variety of materials in more than 26 collections relating to the investigations into war crimes and the prosecution of alleged war criminals in Europe during and after World War II. Subjects include the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, the investigations and trials conducted by the individual victor countries (and the Federal Republic of Germany beginning in the 1960s), the Klaus Barbie trial, the statute of limitations in the Federal Republic of Germany for war crimes, investigations and trials related to ghettos and concentration camps, the investigation and trials of John Demjanjuk, and the Viktor Arajs trial.
Romani (Roma and Sinti (Gypsies))
Relevant collections in RG-25 Romania and RG-04 Concentration and Other Camps.
Hadassah Rosensaft Collection
Liberation of the Camps and Ghettos
Most of the collections in this record group contain letters and memoirs written by American soldiers as their units overran the camps in the course of defeating the German military or later in their lives when they retrospectively considered their experiences in the spring and summer of 1945. The amount of material in each collection varies, but generally is limited to a few pages. For more detailed descriptions of those collections listed but not described below, see the Archives catalog records on the USHMM Web site.
This record group contains more than 210 collections ranging in size from one page to book-length manuscripts and several boxes of papers. For additional information, see the USHMM Web site's textual records catalogs or contact the USHMM reference archivist.
Selected Records from the Former Special [Osobyi] State Archive in the Russian State Military Archive (RGVA)
In the years immediately following the end of World War II, the Soviet police and security services established a series of secret archival holding facilities to maintain the millions of pages of documents and files the so-called "Trophy Brigades" confiscated for various reasons in the territories occupied by the Red Army. The records were cataloged and examined by officials involved with collecting evidence to convict individuals and organizations of crimes against humanity and of war crimes. Afterward, the records were sought by officials concerned with gathering evidence to present at a peace conference during which reparation demands would be made against the Germans and their collaborators, and by officials concerned with the possibility of blackmailing prominent individuals with a "Third Reich past." Eventually, the records were placed in various secret archival facilities. Over the years Soviet security officials transferred some of the files to governments in the Warsaw Pact nations, but the great bulk remained in the Soviet Union.
Soviet archival authorities retained the original arrangement of the records in that each collection (called a fond in Russian) contains files from a particular German government, Nazi party, or other governments' agencies and non-governmental organizations. Therefore, the microfilmed records at the USHMM follow this arrangement and each of the collections in RG-11 represents a file from a specific organization, the name of which is listed in the collection's title.
In 1990–1991 a reporter for Isvestia discovered the existence of the hitherto secret Special (Osobyi) Archives in Moscow and wrote a series of articles about the history and contents of this facility. Since then, European governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have requested that Russian officials transfer to them either records created by state agencies in those countries or those created by NGOs. This has been a lengthy and difficult process, which is by no means completed.
The USHMM began negotiating with archival and other officials in Moscow as soon as news of the Osobyi's existence became public, with a view toward microfilming relevant parts of the collections. For many years, Russian policy would not allow the reproduction of complete collections, thus the Museum's earlier accessions from this source are incomplete (that is, records from the period prior to 1933 have in many cases not been reproduced) or scattered throughout several accessions. More recently, the Museum has been able to reproduce some complete collections.
In several collections, the material appears on non-sequentially numbered microfilm rolls due to extremely haphazard reproduction conditions early in the Museum's project in Moscow. This makes access to some of the collections cumbersome, but each folder-level description in the detailed finding aids indicates which roll contains files related to the particular organization whose records make up the collection. For example, the records of the Berlin Gestapo office (RG-11.001M) are mainly on roll 17, but some files appear on rolls 26 and 185. Thus, when a certain number of film rolls are given for a collection, it is possible that material from other collections also appears on those rolls.
In 1992, the Osobyi was renamed the Center for the Preservation of Historical Documentary Collections (CPHDC) and in 1999 The Russian Archives Committee merged the CPHDC into the Russian State Military Archives (RGVA) located next door. The RGVA contains prewar Soviet military documents. While the Osobyi is now a part of RGVA, the old Osobyi fond numbers for the various collections remain unchanged.
As of February 2002, the Museum continues to reproduce files in the former Osobyi Archives.
There follows a brief description of each of the more than 63 collections, which the Museum holds in full or in part, on more than 300 16 mm microfilm rolls. The folder-level finding aids to the collections also indicate for each folder the Osobyi designator (call number/Signatur) in the form fond/opis/delo, or in English, collection number/sub-collection number/folder number. For example, 500/1/286 would denominate folder number 286 of sub-collection 1 of collection 500.
Benjamin B. Ferencz Collection
This record group contains materials relating to all phases of Benjamin Ferencz's academic and professional life, including his student days through his military service as a war crimes investigator and prosecutor at the International Military Tribunal proceedings in Nuremberg (1945–1946) and the American Military Government war crimes trials (particularly the Einsatzgruppen trial that Ferencz prosecuted); his involvement with B'nai B'rith lodges, the International Council Executive Committee (1937–1994), and B'nai B'rith war damages and restitution of property claims (1959–1962); his activities relating to the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (1961–1980); his legal activities relating to claims against German industrial firms for slave labor restitution and compensation, e.g., I.G. Farbenindustrie, AEG, Braunkohle-Benzin Aktiengesellschaft, Daimler-Benz, Dynamit-Nobel, Rheinmetal-Borsig AG, Krupp International, Siemans AG, Telefunken AG, Compensation Treuhand G.m.b.H., etc. (1952–1994); and his publications relating to many of the above subjects. Also included is some information relating to the education and career of his wife, Gertrude Fried Ferencz, Ferencz's diaries from 1943 to 1945, his letters to his wife (April 1944–August 1945), and some personal papers.
Ca. 150 boxes
Source of acquisition: Benjamin B. Ferencz
Finding aid: Folder title list
RG-06.026 Estonian State Archive of the Former Estonian KGB (State Security Committee) Records Relating to War Crimes Investigations and Trials in Estonia, 1940–1987
RG-10.36 "Reports of Einsatzgruppen," which contains reports of specific actions against the Jews of Estonia
RG-18.002M Selected Records from the Latvian Central State Historical Archive, which contains records of the Reichskommissariat für das Ostland and the Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber Ostland pertaining to Estonia
RG-50.106*0015 Testimony of Doris Rauch, survivor of KL Klooga, Estonia (oral history)
Federal Republic of Germany
Several other record groups in the USHMM Archives contain German records relating to Germany, in particular RG-04 Concentration and Other Camps, RG-11 Selected Records from the former Osobyi Archives in Moscow, RG-15 Poland, and RG-43 France. Many, but not all of the collections obtained from the German Federal Archives are described in a more detailed summary form, including a brief history and explanation of the hierarchies of the agencies, in Josef Henke, et al., Das Bundesarchiv und seine Bestände. 3rd expanded, revised ed. (Boppard am Rhein: Harald Boldt Verlag, 1977).
This record group contains more than 90 collections, mainly from the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, the Institute of National Remembrance Main Commission for Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation, and various branches of the Polish State Archives, the bulk of which is on microform. The subjects cover every aspect of the war from the German occupation of Polish territory to the fate of Polish and non-Polish Jews in the General Government and other parts of occupied Poland.
Nazi Medical Policies and Practices
Republic of Austria
RG-06.027 "Latvian State Archives KGB Records from Fond 1986 Relating to War Crime Investigations and Trials in Latvia, 1941–1995"
For information on the Jewish community in Riga, see RG-68 Israel, Accession 1997.A.0040.
Rescue, Refugees, and Displaced Persons
There are 60 collections in this record group, many of which are fully described here. Information about the others can be obtained from the archival catalog on the USHMM Web site.
Righteous Among the Nations
Joseph and Sheila Tenenbaum Collection
This record group contains various materials relating to the life and activities of Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum (1887–1961). Tenenbaum was active in the organization of the Anti-Nazi Joint Boycott Council of the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee in 1933, as well as several anti-Nazi and Jewish relief and rescue organizations. He also wrote books (e.g., Race and Reich), pamphlets (e.g., "Can Hitler Be Stopped"  and "The Einsatzgruppen" ), and magazine and newspaper articles. Subjects in the collection include American reaction to the persecution of the Jews in Europe before and during World War II; the activities of several Jewish organizations involved with relief and rescue (e.g., American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, YIVO, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, American Zionist Federation, Federation of Polish Jews in America, Zionist Organization of America, World Jewish Congress, Workman's Circle, World Federation of Polish Jews, etc.); Holocaust commemorations; Jewish and Holocaust studies in schools; and the like.
English, Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew
3 microfilm rolls (16 mm)
Source of acquisition: Sheila Tenenbaum
Finding aid: Sub-collection level description
RG-04.050 Records Relating to Various Camps from the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense, Podolsk, Russia
RG-06.025 Selected Central Records of the Federal Security Service (FSB, formerly KGB) of the Russian Federation Relating to War Crimes Investigations and Trials in the Soviet Union
The Holocaust as Reflected in the Fine Arts
This record groupcontains a wide range of materials including poems, ceremonial speeches, stories, and dramatizations, as well as information on the creative arts during the period 1933 to 1945 and commemorative pieces dating from the period after 1945. Additional information can be obtained from the USHMM Web site's archival textual records catalogs and from the USHMM reference archivist.
For additional Romanian-related materials, see RG-31 Ukraine and RG-54 Moldova.
Julius Kühl Collection
Dr. Julius Kühl was born in Galicia, but moved to Switzerland in 1929 to pursue his studies, which he completed at the University of Bern. At the outbreak of World War II he received a Polish legation position giving him responsibility for refugees, Polish soldiers in Swiss internment camps, and Jews. He saved hundreds of his fellow Jews by helping to provide them with passports and visas, aiding their attempts to enter Switzerland, and cooperating with charitable Jewish organizations and prominent rescuers, such as Recha and Isaak Sternbuch. After the war, Kühl received letters of praise from Jewish organizations, the British embassy, and the American military. Dr. Kühl retired to the Miami area. This collection of photocopies of his correspondence and papers was received from an unknown donor shortly after the United States Holocaust Memorial Council opened its offices in 1980. Council staff transferred the collection to Robert Wolfe at the National Archives and Records Administration for safekeeping until the Council was able to properly store the papers. Mr. Wolfe returned the collection to the Council shortly before the Museum opened in 1993. The location of the original papers is unknown.
Restitution and Reparations
Republic of Finland
Records from the National Archives and Records Administration
Records Relating to Jehovah's Witnesses
Records Relating to Gays and Lesbians
Gaynor Jacobson Collection
Jiri Lauscher Collection
Jiri (George) Lauscher and his wife, Irma, survived life in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) ghetto/concentration camp, where they collected the materials described below. Mr. Lauscher and his daughter, Michaela Vidlakova, donated the collections in this record group, which contains significant material about life in the camp. Some of the material dates from the period of the war; other documents were written later.
The collection, comprising about 3 linear feet of paper documents stored in five boxes, is arranged in folders by topic. For the first three boxes (the first 11 topics), there is a number written on the folder(s). In the last two boxes the topics are unnumbered. Many of the folders contain an English-language listing of the contents.
The collection is stored under "1993.A.003."
Masonic and Other Lodge Organizations
RG-43.026 French Freemasons Registration Cards
Cynthia J. McCabe Collection
This collection is comprised of three subcollections relating to the various activities of Cynthia Jaffee McCabe while she was employed as a curator at the Hirshhorn Museum. The subcollections contain materials as noted below.
RG-38.002 The Emergency Rescue Committee (Varian Fry). These materials relate to McCabe's research for her contribution to the colloquium, "The Muses Flee Hitler." Included is "‘Wanted by the Gestapo: Saved by America' Varian Fry and the Emergency Rescue Committee," in Jarrell C. Jackman and Carla M. Borden, eds, The Muses Flee Hitler. Cultural Transfer and Adaptation 1930–1945 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983).
RG-38.003 "The Muses Flee Hitler. Cultural Transfer and Adaptation 1930–1945" Colloquium, 1980. The materials in this subcollection relate to McCabe's work as one of the organizers of the colloquium.
RG-38.004 Artists Files. These files contain information about individual artists, information that McCabe gathered while working on the 1976 exhibition, The Golden Door: Artist-Immigrants in America, 1876–1976. Also included are subject files relating to the same exhibition. An identically titled exhibition catalogue, written by McCabe, was published by the Smithsonian.
Finding aid: Name list of artists and subjects by box number
RG-04.77M – Fichier de Drancy.
RG-06.005M United States Army Commands, Concentration Camp Cases Not Tried.
RG-06.005.06M US Army, Judge Advocate General (Army), Evidence of German War Crimes in France.
RG-15: Accession 1995.A.0889 Der Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des Sicherheitsdienstes in Frankreich (Komendant Policji Bezpieczenstwa i SD przy Komendancie Wojskowym we Francji).
RG-67: Accession 1999.A.0071 Union Générale des Israélites de France from YIVO-II.
Royal Kingdom of Denmark
NOTE: As of March 2002, there are no records accessioned into this record group. The title of this record group notwithstanding, the English-language name of the country is the Kingdom of Denmark.
NOTE: Restrictions on reproduction and distribution exist for all materials acquired from the Bulgarian Central State Archives, Sofia.
Kingdom of Norway
RG-04.076M Records of the Lety Gypsy Concentration Camp
RG-35 The Jiri Lauscher Collection
RG-68.002M Selected Records Relating to the Czech Jewish Communities Persecuted by the Nazi and Other Authorities
RG-68.003M Selected Documents Relating to the Terezin Ghetto
RG-68.004 Selected Documents Relating to the Jewish Community in the Czech Town of Opava
Oral History Collection
Here are the records of more than 7,000 interviews that were conducted by the USHMM Oral History Department and by more than 60 other organizations. These materials have been separately cataloged. Many of the catalog records can be found on the USHMM Web site. For more detailed information, contact the USHMM reference archivist.
RG-43: Accession 1998.A.0095 Fonds Lucien Lublin
RG-43: Accession 1998.A.0096 Fonds David Diamant
RG-46: Accession 1997.A.0333 Commissariat for Jewish Affairs
The Randolph Braham Collection
For additional materials related to the territory of Belorussia (Belarus), see also, RG-68, Accession 1996.A.0169, for Jewish internal passport applications from the city of Brest (rolls 14–24) as well as other documents from the State Oblast Archives in Brest (rolls 24–29)
The Aleksandr Kulisiewicz Collection
This record group holds a wide range of materials and media compiled by Aleksandr Kulisiewicz during his incarceration as a political prisoner and after his liberation from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The documents include paper records relating to songs, music, and poetry written in the camps; typescripts and manuscripts of books by Kulisiewicz and others; photographs and art works relating to art and music of the Holocaust; cassettes and open-reel tapes of Kulisiewicz's recordings; and his correspondence with survivors of the camps about their experiences with music while they were incarcerated. Published materials from the collection are in the USHMM Library.
The Gestapo arrested Kulisiewicz (1918–1982) in 1939 and he spent the war in Sachsenhausen, where he composed 54 songs. After liberation he continued to compose and also published the lyrics and music of his fellow inmates as well as his own.
Provenance: Kulisiewicz left the collection to his son, Krzysztof, from whom the USHMM acquired it in 1992.
Polish, German, Yiddish, Russian, French
55 linear feet
Finding aid: Folder-level, Polish-language descriptions for certain of the series in the collection
RG-48.003 Selected Records from the Slovak National Archives
The Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archives
The materials in this collection cover all aspects of the Holocaust and World War II. They are being separately cataloged by the USHMM Film and Video Branch. For specific information, please contact the film and video project coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (202) 488-6104 or by fax at (202) 488-2696.
Republic of Croatia
People's Republic of China
In February 2002, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Shanghai Municipal Archives (SMA) signed a cooperative agreement to allow the exchange of relevant archival materials. A preliminary survey in the SMA indicates the presence of a large number of relevant files from the records of the Shanghai Municipal Council of the International Settlement (mainly in English), of the Shanghai Municipal Council of the French Concession (mainly in French and English), and of the Chinese administration of the remaining sectors of the city during the period 1933–1948. A more detailed survey and a microfilming program are in the planning stages. The Museum expects to begin receiving the filmed materials in the spring of 2003.