2 Replies Latest reply on Oct 20, 2020 7:17 AM by Sylvia Naylor

    Seeking German claims for cargo losses suffered in WWII


      I am looking for information on post-war claims made against the Allies by German businesses for losses on ships sunk by the Allies in WWII. Did IG Farben or its successors (Bayer, BASF, Hoechst), for example, lodge such claims for losses of strategic metals being transported by German freighters?  If so, what record group(s) are likely to contain these documents?

        • Re: Seeking German claims for cargo losses suffered in WWII
          J. Andrew Scout

          Have you seen any reference to such claims being made in the secondary literature?  Because I can't imagine any circumstances under which the Allies would entertain any claims for compensation by a defeated enemy for acts of war necessary to defeat that enemy.

          And the number of German ships lost was pretty small compared to the Allied shipping losses, for reasons of simple geography.  Given that the Allies never levied claims against Germany for individual shipping losses (though Germany was subject to other forms of reparations), I don't see them permitting Germany to do so.  Any attempt would be laughed out of court even before the papers were filed. 

          You have to keep in mind that after the war, we occupied the country, split it up, and executed or imprisoned their most senior leadership.  We weren't in the mood for compensating Germany for the expenses and losses associated with their aggression.

          • Re: Seeking German claims for cargo losses suffered in WWII
            Sylvia Naylor Scout

            Dear Ms. Lindsey,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 139 series, 4777 file units, and 87 items relating to I.G. Farben. In particular, we suggest reviewing records located in the Records of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany (Record Group 466), Records of U.S. Occupation Headquarters, World War II (Record Group 260), and Records of the Office of Alien Property (Record Group 131). Please note that some of the records have been digitized and may be viewed online using the Catalog. For access to non-digitized records, please contact the unit listed in the description.


            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from various NARA units. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


            We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!