4

Holocaust-relevant holdings in the German Federal Archives

The following section provides, in keywords, an overview of the holdings and records of the German Federal Archives that could be used for holocaust research Although the list is quite long, it is by no means exhaustive, so that a search in the Federal Archive's holdings guide and online database invenio (https://invenio.bundesarchiv.de) remain necessary.

Before this list you will find a presentation that also names some of the Federal Archives' collections that are relevant for holocaust research and more importantly depicts the many other opportunities available to holocaust researchers at the archives (in German only).

The following list of Holocaust-relevant holdings was compiled in the main by Dr. Walter Naasner (head of division R). The translations in parentheses are courtesy translations only, the holdings are in German only.

A. Abteilung Deutsches Reich (Third Reich Department: main Nazi civilian organisations, incl. the NSDAP and its subsidiary groups and organisations)

  • I. Zentral-Bestände (central holdings: State, NSDAP, SS)
  • II.  Innere Angelegenheiten, Polizei, Repressionsapparat (domestic affairs, police, apparatus of repression)
  • III.  Justizorgane (judicial organs)
  • IV. Finanzen, Wirtschaft, Arbeit (finance, economics, labour)
  • V. Auswärtiges, Besatzungspolitik (foreign affairs, occupation policy)
  • VI. Personenbezogen erschlossene Bestände (holdings on individuals)

B. Abteilung Militärarchiv (Department Military Archives)

  • Wehrmacht + Waffen-SS

C. Across divisions: Nachlässe, Sammlungen und Sonstiges (estates, collections, other)

  • Estates
  • Collections
  • Documents related to the persecution of the Jews
  • Photo collections by subject
  • Audio collections
  • Maps and aerial photos

D. Abteilung Filmarchiv (Department Film Archives)

  • Film archives
  • Photo archives

E. Abteilung Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Department Federal Republic of Germany)

  • Zones occupied by the Western allies
  • FRG

F. Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR im BArch (SAPMO) (Foundation Archives of GDR Parties and Mass Organizations in the Federal Archives)

  • GDR (SAPMO)

G. Abteilung Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic Division (includes Soviet-occupied zone and the federal holdings of the GDR))

  • GDR (federal holdings)

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A. Abteilung Deutsches Reich (Third Reich Department)

 

I. Central holdings: State, NSDAP, SS

R 43 II Reichskanzlei (Reich Chancellery)

Management and coordination of top-level Reich agencies

Including: Nazi anti-Jewish policies, revoking German citizenship and other general issues

 

NS 6 Partei-Kanzlei (Party Chancellory)

NSDAP leadership agency (Hess → Bormann)

Racial policy (general documents)

 

NS 19 Persönlicher Stab Reichsführer-SS (Personal Staff of the Reichsführer SS)

Multiple roles: chief of German police, May 1943; Reich Minister of the Interior; Himmler's central management body, overall management of the SS. Authority over: policy in the east, police, security police, security services (SD), concentration camps, the race question, persecution of the Jews, Waffen SS → concentration and death camp guards

 

II. Innere Angelegenheiten, Polizei, Repressionsapparat (domestic affairs, police, apparatus of repression)

R 1501 Reichsministerium des Innern (Reich Ministry of the Interior; RMdI)

Citizenship, Deportation, Race Policy, Nuremberg Laws (incl. anti-miscegenation laws forbidding marriage between Jews and Aryans)

 

R 1509 Reichssippenamt (Reich Office of Genealogy)

Review of Aryan heritage, records of marriages etc. from Jewish congregations, supplementary files to the census of May 17, 1939 → registration of Jews in the Third Reich

 

NS 2 Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt-SS (Race and Settlement Main Office; RuSHA-SS)

SS family trees, also: fiancées of SS members, hereditary health form (Erbgesundheitsbogen)

 

R 58 Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office; RSHA)

Oversight of state and party security organs: Gestapo, Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police, Sipo), Reichskriminalpolizeiamt (Reich Criminal Police, RKPA), Sicherheitsdienst (Security Services; SD)

Persecution of (remaining) Jews, suppressing opponents, determining public opinion among the German population, Sipo and SD Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) →  mass murder of the Jews (Eichmann-Referat IV B 4: Ø)

 

R 19 Hauptamt Ordnungspolizei (Order Police; OrPo)

Schutzpolizei (Security Police)

Deployment of police battalions in the East.

 

NS 3 SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt (Economic and Administrative Office; SS-WVHA)

Economic administration and management of the entire SS; the concentration camp system (incl. forced labour of prisoners for the SS and industry), SS construction, SS Deutsche Wirtschaftsbetriebe (German Economic Companies; DWB—Thirty-nine companies in all spheres of the economy)

 

NS 4 Konzentrationslager (concentration camps; KL)

esp. Buchenwald (Bu), Flossenbürg (Fl), Mauthausen (Mau), Natzweiler (Natz);

Splitter: Auschwitz (Au), Lublin (Lu) → see further documents held by ITS Arolsen

 

NS 31 SS-Hauptamt (SS Main Office; SS-HA)

Founded 1935; governing body of the SS, later reduced to trainings and replacement of the SS and the police 

 

NS 33 SS-Führungshauptamt (operational headquarters; SS-FHA)

Management of the Waffen-SS

Military training for the SS

 

NS 34 SS-Personalhauptamt (SS Personnel Office; SS-PHA)

Personnel management of SS leaders → see Berlin Document Center (BDC)

 

NS 26 Hauptarchiv der NSDAP (Main NSDAP Archive)

"Special division" (Sonderreferat) for Jews, freemasons and the church: Collections on Jews and the Nazi repression of Jews

 

III. Justizorgane (judicial organs)

R 3001 Reichsjustizministerium (Reich Ministry of Justice, RJM)

Nuremberg laws, "race defilement," treatment of "community aliens" (Gemeinschaftsfremde) and people of "alien ethnicity" (fremdvölkisch), step-by-step disenfranchisement of Jews in the Third Reich (i.a. the many amendments to the Reichbürgergesetz, the Law of the Reich Citizen).

 

R 3016 Volksgerichtshof (People's Court; VGH)

 

R 3017 Oberreichsanwalt (Chief Prosecutor of the Reich; ORA) at the Volksgerichtshof (VGH)

Central body for special criminal jurisdiction

The "special" crime of Heimtücke or "treachery," often with an antisemitic emphasis

 

IV. Finanzen, Wirtschaft, Arbeit (finance, economics, labour)

R 2 Reichsfinanzministerium (Reich Ministry of Finance; RFM)

Fundamental principle: Everything must be financed!

Household: Police, SS, concentration camps, Reich assets and "anti-German" (volksfeindlich) assets, Aryanization, utilisation proceeds, special taxes on Jews (i.e. the Reich flight tax (Reichfluchtsteuer)), confiscated art (paintings, galleries, etc.)

 

NS 1 Reichsschatzmeister der NSDAP (Reich Party Treasurer)

Management of NSDAP memberships

Proceeds from Aryanization used to fund the Nazi party

 

R 2501 Deutsche Reichsbank (Bank of the Third Reich)

Utilization proceeds [like R 2]: booking and financial management (very few surviving documents)

 

R 2107 Oberfinanzpräsident (OFP) Berlin, Außenstelle für feindliches Vermögen (Chief Finance President, Section for Alien Assets)

Utilization proceeds [like R 2]: booking and financial management

 

R 3101 Reichswirtschaftsministerium (Reich Ministry of Economics; RWM)

Expropriation of businesses, so-called Feindkapitalverflechtung or Jewish cross-holdings with aliens in the Reich and abroad; currencies

 

R 3102 Statistisches Reichsamt (Reich Office of Statistics)

Census 1933 and 1939 → evaluation, registration of Jews

 

R 3 Reichsministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion (Reich Ministry for Armaments and War Production; RMRK)

Forced labour in the arms production industry, also by Jews and Jewish concentration camp prisoners

Triad: RMRK – SS – GBA (Generalbevollmächtigter für den Arbeitseinsatz or Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment)

 

R 26 I – VIII Beauftragter für den Vierjahresplan (Commissioner for the Four-year Plan (Göring))

This was the seat of the Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment!

Economic exploitation of Jews and expropriation of Jewish assets in the occupied territories

 

R 50 Organisation Todt (OT) (Speer)

Jewish forced labour in military construction

 

R 3901 Reichsarbeitsministerium (Reich Ministry of Labour; RAM)

Main Departments III and V → Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment (Sauckel)

Triad: GBA — SS — Reich Ministry for Armaments and War Production

Mass forced labour deployment (and recruiting) of concentration camp prisoners, foreign civilians, and prisoners of war, including Jews

 

R 5 Reichsverkehrsministerium (Reich Ministry of Transport; RVM)

Deportation logistics, Reichsbahn

 

R 12 I – IV Reichsgruppen (Reich groups)

Organisation of the commercial sector (Speer: bodies of accountability (Selbstverantwortungsorgane))

 

R 13 I – XXXIV Wirtschaftsgruppen (commercial groups)

Organisation of the commercial sector (Speer: bodies of accountability)

 

R 11 Reichswirtschaftskammer (Reich Chamber of Commerce)

National agency overseeing regional chambers of commerce

Organisation of the commercial sector (Speer: bodies of accountability)

Note: The chambers of commerce and their associations participated in Aryanization and the exploitation and forced labour of in particular Jewish people

 

V. Auswärtiges, Besatzungspolitik (foreign affairs, occupation policy)

R 901 Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office; AA)

BArch: 1.6 linear kilometres, Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts (PolArchAA, Political Archives of the Foreign Office): 18 linear kilometres

AA "Abteilung Deutschland" (Germany Division; PolArchAA): Anti-Jewish measures, foreign objections to seizing of assets, emigration, antisemitism in other countries, the "final solution" → diplomatic preparation in allied and occupied countries

 

R 49 Reichskommissar für die deutschen Volkstums (Reich Commissioner for the Fortification of Germandom; RKFDV) (Himmler)

Expropriation and transfer of Jewish property to ethnic German settlers

 

R 70 Polizei in den eingegliederten und besetzten Gebieten (Police in the annexed and occupied territories)

Incomplete holdings on fifteen countries, including Poland, the Soviet Union, Slovakia, and Bohemia and Moravia

Executive anti-Jewish measures, deportations

 

R 137 I – V Justizbehörden in Danzig-Westpreußen, Wartheland, Generalgouvernement, Böhmen und Mähren (Judicial authorities in Danzig-West Prussia, the Wartheland, the General Government, Bohemia and Moravia

Special Courts (Sondergerichte), Bookkeeping → Expropriations

 

R 144 Haupttreuhandstelle Ost (Main Trusteeship Office East; HTO)

→ organizationally linked to the four-year plan

Expropriation of Jewish and Polish non-agricultural businesses, esp. commercial operations in the annexed eastern territories

 

NS 30 Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (Operation Reich Leader Rosenberg; ERR)

Alfred Rosenberg: Chief ideologue of the Nazi party, author Myth of the Twentieth Century, 235 individual files

Confiscation of cultural assets in the occupied territories (libraries, archives, museums) that belonged to Jews, freemasons, and others, and shipping them to the Reich.

Parallel transfers: CDJC in Paris, NARA, Ukraine, Moscow, and more.

 

R 6 Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete (Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (meaning Soviet territories)) (Rosenberg)

Measures against people of "alien ethnicity" (fremdvölkisch), Jews, forced labourers

 

R 90 Reichskommissar für das Ostland (Reich Commissioner for the Eastland (Baltic States and Belarus))

Measures against people of "alien ethnicity" (fremdvölkisch), Jews, forced labourers

 

R 94 Reichskommissar für die Ukraine (Reich Commissioner for the Ukraine)

Measures against people of "alien ethnicity" (fremdvölkisch), Jews, forced labourers

 

R 92 Generalkommissar (General Commissioner) Riga

Measures against people of "alien ethnicity" (fremdvölkisch), Jews, forced labourers

 

R 93 Generalkommissar für Weißruthenien (General Commissioner for Belarus)

Measures against people of "alien ethnicity" (fremdvölkisch), Jews, forced labourers

 

R 91 Gebietskommissare (District Commissioners, i.a. for Riga, Minsk, Reval (meaning "Ostland"))

Measures against people of "alien ethnicity" (fremdvölkisch), Jews, forced labourers

 

R 52 I – X Government of the General Government

Non-annexed area of Poland

Originals mostly in Warsaw; BArch microfiche

Aryanization, persecution, forced labour

 

R 102 I – IV District Governors of Warsaw, Lublin, Radom, Cracow

Aryanization, persecution, forced labour

 

R 83 Reich Commissioners for the occupied Dutch and Norwegian territories, Reich representative (Reichsbevollmächtigter) in Denmark, Chief of the Civil Administration (Chefs der Zivilverwaltungen, CdZ) in Alsace or Lorraine or Luxemburg

Aryanization, persecution, forced labour

Executive anti-Jewish measures, deportations

 

VI. Personenbezogen erschlossene Bestände (holdings on individuals)

All integrated into Department R; and also into provenance collections whenever possible

  • Berlin Document Center (BDC): esp. SS officers (SS-O), SS-Mannschaften ("team" of non-commissioned officers, SS-M), Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt-SS (Race and Settlement Main Office; RuSHA), SA, NSDAP, Reichskulturkammer (Reich Chamber of Culture; RKK)
  • GDR Ministry for State Security's "Nazi Archives"; clear focus on perpetrators for operative secret police aims
  • Zentrales Parteiarchiv (Central Party Archives (ZPA)) of the SED: e.g. Nazi-Justiz (Nazi Judiciary; NJ) → covers all areas of the Nazi judiciary

 

B. Abteilung Militärarchiv (Department Military Archives)

Wehrmacht + Waffen-SS

RW 19 Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (Wehrmacht High Command; OKW) / Wehrwirtschafts- und Rüstungsamt (Wehrmacht office of military economics and armaments)

Cooperation with government, party, and industry in the forced deployment of Jews to the armament industry

 

RH 2 Oberkommando des Heeres / Generalstab des Heeres (Army High Command/General Staff)

i.a. organisation of quartering, supplies, and transport

 

RW 31 Wirtschaftsstab Ost (Economic Staff East) and subsidiaries

Economic administration on and behind the front, incl. labour deployment

 

RH 22 Befehlshaber rückwärtiger Heeresgebiete (armed forces commanders behind the front)

Administration and security for areas behind the front under military rule during the war against the Soviet Union, incl. anti-partisan measures and logistical support for mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen)

 

RH 23 Kommandanten rückwärtiger Armeegebiete (army commanders behind the front)

Administration and security for areas behind the front under military rule during the war against the Soviet Union, incl. anti-partisan measures and logistical support for mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen)

 

RS 8 Personalverwaltende Stellen der Waffen-SS (Waffen SS Personnel offices)

Waffen SS personnel matters

Note on military documents:

  • Waffen SS includes concentration camp units
  • Also relevant to the question of Wehrmacht soldiers' and units' participation in the repression and/or extermination of the Jews

 

C. Across divisions: Nachlässe, Sammlungen und Sonstiges (estates, collections, other)

Estates

Estates → thousands in many of the archives' departments and divisions; search perhaps for mid-level perpetrators

Also estates of Hitler, Himmler, Göring, Goebbels, and other well-known Nazis such as Oskar Schindler (film from Yad Vashem); source value: relative, as they show the perspective of the donor

 

Collections

Allied trials: Ten partial collections

Thousands of separate files, still a highly relevant source

Mostly: International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg and 12 American follow-up trials

Originals: IMT: → International Criminal Court in Den Haag; follow-up trials: → NARA

Reprints, etc.: BArch, IfZ, StArchiv Nürnberg, Uni Göttingen (German Federal archives, Institute for Contemporary History, Nuremberg State Archives, Goettingen University)

Particularly important to Holocaust research (besides IMT) Ulmer Einsatzgruppen trial, Pohl trial (All.Proz. 7), Eichmann trial (All.Proz. 6)

Note: Much of the original evidence was given back to the Federal Archives

 

ZSg 138 Dokumentation zum Schicksal der Juden in Deutschland 1933-1945 (documentation of the fate of Jews in Germany)

Source for the first "memorial book" (Gedenkbuch) published by the Federal Archives and the International Tracing Service in Arolsen, contains mostly copies

Area – the federal states of West Germany, GDR unwilling to cooperate 

 

Documentation of the Persecution of the Jews

Memorial book for the Victims of the National Socialist Persecution of Jews in Germany 1933-1945

First print edition 1986, second expanded edition 2006, online at: https://www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch/intro.html.en

 

Liste der jüdischen Einwohner im Deutschen Reich 1933-1945 (kurz: Residentenliste) (list of Jewish residents of the Third Reich 1933-1945 (resident list for short))

Database with the names and fates of all people of Jewish extraction in Germany during the Third Reich

 

Photo collections by subject

 (see also Photo Archives)

Also: Antisemitism and race policy

Individual collections, i.a.:

BILD 192 KZ Mauthausen

BILD 131 ERL Rosenberg

Many holdings of written documents also contain photos

 

Audio collections

 (see also Photo Archives)

i.a. R 3017-TON → audio of the Chief Prosecutor of the Reich at the People's Court (Volksgericht)

 

Maps and Aerial photos

(see also Photo Archives)

Maps and aerial photos of the area of the Third Reich and the occupied territories can be found in many Federal Archives' departments

Military maps mostly in the Military Archives in Freiburg

Maps of the Third Reich

Most aerial photos are in the GDR division (also for the time before 1945)

 

D. Abteilung Filmarchiv (Film and photo archives division)

Film archives

around 150,000 documentaries and feature films

Newsreels

Propaganda films (Jud Süß; Der Führer schenkt dem Juden eine Stadt)

Propaganda companies of the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda; RMVP), Reichskriegsministerium (Reich Ministry of War; RKM) Only a few surviving documents, 90% secret or top secret

 

Photo archives

(see above: photo collections by subject, audio collections, maps and aerial photos)

More than nine million photos

Propaganda companies of the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda; RMVP), Reichskriegsministerium (Reich Ministry of War; RKM) (around one million)

Also military operations of Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS, police, SS

 

E. Abteilung Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany Division and Western zones)

Zones occupied by the Western allies

Z 45 F Office of Military Government for Germany United States (OMGUS) (1944-1950)

→ Films from NARA, Washington D.C.

All aspects of American occupation policy, incl. residual files of preparation of and follow-up on American war criminal trials

 

Z 47 F Sowjetische Militäradministration in Deutschland (Soviet Military Administration in Germany; SMAD) (1945-1959)

→ Films from the Central Government Archives of the Russian Federation, Moscow

 

Z 21 Central Legal Office for the British Zone (1946-1950)

Incl. Reparations for persecution, return of confiscated property

 

Z 38 Supreme Court for the British Zone (1948-1950)

Incl. entnazification, proceedings for crimes against humanity, including the November pogroms on Nov. 9-10, 1938

 

Z 42 I – VIII Spruchgerichte in the British Zone

Judgements against members of criminal organizations

Incl. Z 42 VIII Oberster Spruchgerichtshof (1947-1949)

 

Federal Republic of Germany

B 136 Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery)

"Rückgratbestand"; all political sectors of the German federal government incl. administration of the occupation, war crimes, reparations, entnazification, how the FRG dealt with the Holocaust

B 439 Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft (Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future; EVZ) (2002-2007)

Reparations for forced laborers, compensation for loss of assets

Also includes Applications for reparations, documentation of prison time

Documents on partner organizations (national archives of the countries involved and of the USHMM)

 

B 106 Bundesministerium des Innern (Federal Ministry of the Interior, BMI)

General holdings on how FRG dealt with the Holocaust, e.g. right-wing extremism, attacks on Jewish institutions

 

B 141 Bundesministerium der Justiz (Federal Ministry of Justice; BMJ)

General holdings on how FRG dealt with the Holocaust, e.g. right-wing extremism, attacks on Jewish institutions

B 323 Treuhandverwaltung von Kulturgut (Trust management of cultural artefacts)

Collection of documents on the buying and stealing of art in the Nazi era in order to identify the artworks and their rightful owners.

 

B 162 Zentrale Stelle der zur Aufklärung von NS-Verbrechen (Central Office of the Judicial Authorities of the Federal States for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes; 1958-2003)

Holdings in the Ludwigsburg office of the Federal Archives

Nazi crimes against civilians and prisoners of war in Germany and abroad → criminal prosecution of living perpetrators

 

F. Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR im BArch (Foundation Archives of Parties and Mass Organizations of the GDR in the Federal Archives; SAPMO)

GDR (SAPMO)

DY 30 SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) (Socialist Unity Party of Germany; 1945-1989)

Esp. Central Committee and Politburo as the highest-level bodies not only of the SED but for all government institutions in the GDR that had to follow SED directives; which clearly also applies to how the GDR dealt with the Nazi era, the Nazi persecution of Jews and trials of war criminals

 

DY 55 Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes (Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime; VVN) ((1925) 1947-1968)

Collections of documents including testimonies, prisoner files, resistance, proof of persecution, investigations of Nazi crimes

 

DY 57 Komitee der Antifaschistischen Widerstandskämpfer der DDR (GDR Committee of Anti-Fascist Resistance Fighters, 1945-1989)

Collections of documents including testimonies, prisoner files, resistance, proof of persecution, investigations of Nazi crimes

 

StB Bibliotheksgut (Collections of the State Library)

Around 1.7 million volumes; one of Berlin's and Germany's largest libraries, includes the library of the Institute for Marxism-Leninism and the Central Library of the Trade Unions as well as Nazi publications formerly kept in the Federal Archives in Koblenz, and complementary copies of publications made with the help of Federal Archive materials.

 

G. Abteilung Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic Division (includes Soviet-occupied zone and the federal holdings of the GDR)

GDR (federal holdings)

DC 20 Ministerrat der DDR (Ministerial Council of the GDR, 1949-1990)

General holdings but from a GDR perspective: not the legal successor of the Third Reich → no responsibility for the Holocaust → no reparations

 

DO 1 Ministerium des Innern (MdI) (GDR Ministry of the Interior 1949-1990)

Also includes Sammlung Konzentrationslager und Haftanstalten (Concentration Camp and Prison Collection)

 

DP 2 Oberstes Gericht der DDR (Supreme Court of the GDR 1950-1990)

Includes trials of war criminals

 

DP 3 Generalstaatsanwalt der DDR (Chief Public Prosecutor of the GDR, 1949-1990)

Includes Nazi crimes against Jews (investigations, criminal proceedings, trials)