7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 30, 2017 9:00 AM by jharan

    What is the nature/location/extent of NARA's holdings on Nuremberg trials?


      For a paper I'm writing on the documentary record of Nuremberg (and which I plan to submit to a journal), I need a brief (one paragraph) description of NARA's holdings on the Nuremberg Trials. Specifically I need to know: paper? microfilm? both? anything online? Nature of finding aids? location of finding aids? I cannot locate any of this info so far on archives.gov. (apart from microfilm list) because I cannot find a top-level browsing view on that site. I am unable to visit DC to answer this question. What I'm looking for would be something like this:


      (example made up by me) "NARA holds the complete paper record of all 13 Nuremberg trials. These are kept in _____ and are/are not accessible to researchers. In addition, NARA has microfilm copies of this entire record, kept at ______, and has created a series of finding aids to this collection, which are ??on paper/??on microfilm and are located at ____. All/none/xx percent of these finding aids are also online and can be found at "xxxxx.org"."


      I have seen the list of microfilm rolls on archives.gov. so I know that those exist. I do NOT know if paper records also exist, and if so where they are. I also could not find within RG 238 any microfilm record of the IMT trial in Germany (searching all microfilm under the term "Nuernberg" and also under search term "International Military Tribunal", which brings up the records of the Far East one.)


      The original documentary record of these trials is difficult to trace, apart from the few collections mentioned online (Harvard, Univ of WA, Univ of N.Dakota, and the CRL in Chicago) and I want to make sure to have an accurate description of the present structure/presence of these records at NARA for this paper, since this was the place stated in 1949 to be the recipient of the official record.


      Thank you for any help you can give me on this.

        • Re: What is the nature/location/extent of NARA's holdings on Nuremberg trials?
          Lauren Van Zandt Adventurer

          Hi Judith,


          This doesn't answer your question about NARA, but it might be useful for your research- Duquesne University has the papers of Michael Musmanno, who (as you probably know) was involved in several Nuremberg trials and wrote a book about his experiences.  I remember that the collection has several trial transcripts and a decent amount of primary source material (some of which might duplicate or fill in gaps of collections in the designated repositories you listed).


          Here's a link to the online finding aid- Collection: Nuremberg War Crime Trials Collection: A Sub-group of the Honorable Michael A. Musmanno Papers | ArchivesSpa…


          Hope this is helpful!

          • Re: What is the nature/location/extent of NARA's holdings on Nuremberg trials?

            Dear Ms. Haran,


            Thank you for sharing your question with the History Hub.


            The records of the Nuremberg trials are part of the National Archives’ Collection of War Crimes Records, 1933-1949 (Record Group 238). You can find an overview of the records here in our Guide to Federal Records. This site provides general information about records as well as information about available finding aids and the formats and locations of the records. It also includes a list of related Record Groups.


            To locate specific series, file units, creating organizations, etc. in RG 238, we recommend that you search the National Archives Catalog. You can use the “Advanced Search” features to narrow by record group, type of record, location, etc. Two examples from the Catalog include: Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal and Audio Recordings Relating to World War II War Crimes Trials. Each Catalog entry also includes information about the format of the records.


            Most of the records related to the Nuremberg trials are in the custody of the Textual Reference Branch at the National Archives in College Park, MD (Archives II). You can contact them directly at archives2reference@nara.gov with specific questions. The Harry S Truman Library also has some related records, and you can contact them at truman.library@nara.gov with questions about their holdings.


            If you have specific questions about non-textual records, you will need to contact the individual reference units at the National Archives in College Park, MD that have custody of those records. They include:


            Some additional resources can be found on our website, including:


            Finally, although the National Archives does not maintain a digital copy of the Nuremberg trial transcripts, the Library of Congress has scanned the volumes, and they are available here on their website.


            Thank you, again, for posting your question to the History Hub, and best of luck with your ongoing research and with your writing project.

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              • Re: What is the nature/location/extent of NARA's holdings on Nuremberg trials?

                Thank you. I do have a couple of further questions:


                1. Apart from the published 42 volume set of IMT records, does NARA have the original record from which these volumes were compiled? It is my (possibly incorrect) understanding that the volumes represent only a selection of the actual record.


                2. About the finding aids mentioned below: I assume these are in paper format only? It is not clear from the following description. (the description is from the RG 238 page)

                "Finding Aids: Fred G. Halley, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality, PI 21 (1949); Garry D. Ryan, comp., "Supplement to Preliminary Inventory No. 21, Records of the United States Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality," NM 66 (1966); Aloha P. Broadwater, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Textual Records of the United States Military Tribunals, Nuernberg," NM 70 (1966); Jarritus Wolfinger, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, PI 180 (1975); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories."


                3. What is a "near-print copy" mentioned in 238.3.4 under Textual Records?

                  • Re: What is the nature/location/extent of NARA's holdings on Nuremberg trials?

                    Dear Ms. Haran,


                    To answer your questions:


                    1. Yes, the National Archives does have custody of more Nuremberg trial records than the published volumes. Sorry for any confusion on that point. I just used the volumes as one example of the types of records we hold. The Guide to Federal Records provides an overview of the collection, and more specific information can be found in the National Archives Catalog. Further examples of Nuremberg records--including photographs, exhibits, administrative records, reports, etc.-- are here in the Catalog.


                    2. The Preliminary Inventories (PIs) for Record Group 238 are not available digitally online. Paper copies are available for use in the Reference Consultation Room in the Textual Research Room (Room 2000) at the National Archives in College Park, MD. Please contact the Textual Reference Archives II Branch at archives2reference@nara.gov with questions about the PIs.


                    One further note on the description of the PIs: the numbers like “NM-70” and “PI-180” are given to these as produced. Although they are available in paper only, you can search the National Archives Catalog for series in RG 238 with those PI numbers to see further descriptions of the records.


                    3. Near-print documents are also sometimes referred to as “quasi-published” because they tend to be printed or typed (not hand-written) documents, and they are frequently bound volumes. More information is available here at the Society of American Archivists’ website.


                    Thank you, again, for posting your questions on History Hub!

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                    • Re: What is the nature/location/extent of NARA's holdings on Nuremberg trials?

                      I have done some further work and discovered that the 1949 Preliminary Inventory #21 IS available online courtesy of Ohio State University and the Hathi Trust. I'm posting the link here in case anyone who happens across this discussion in the future needs to see this resource. I have not had time to look through it yet, but it looks very useful.


                      Preliminary inventory of the records of the United ... no.21 1949. - Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrus…


                      If I find online versions of the other finding aids, I will post those links too.  Found this list at end of PI #21.  Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 7.42.14 PM.png

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: What is the nature/location/extent of NARA's holdings on Nuremberg trials?

                        More recently discovered online resources related to Nuremberg:


                        Former NARA archivist John Mendelsohn published two works a long time ago about Trial 9, the Einsatzgruppen Trial. I've recently discovered that  both can be found online. HIs dissertation, "Trial by Document", is worth reading if you have any interest in Nuremberg, and can be found in PDF format by searching through the Proquest database on dissertations, available at most large universities. His later book, "Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, Records of Case 9", published in '78 by NARA, can be downloaded through the link below. It's a marvelous 350 pg guide to the exhibits used in that trial, with their actual location on microfilm rolls, the date they were presented at the trial, and their evidence file codes (NO, etc). Plus it has a lengthy, useful index to people, places, events, and subjects. Anyone who is researching Case 9 on microfilm NEEDS this publication.


                        I also discovered recently that there seems to be an active online trade in NARA microfilms of captured German documents (i.e. MF originally purchased from NARA). I'm not a user of these (yet) so don't know how it works.


                        Link to Case 9 Guide:


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