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Report from proceedings of the First International Meeting in Bremen on Cultural Property moved because of the War. A Cultural Legacy of World War II - Documentation and Research of Losses, 1 December 1994

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Publication
Report from proceedings of the First International Meeting in Bremen on Cultural Property moved because of the War. A Cultural Legacy of World War II - Documentation and Research of Losses.

Date
1 December 1994

Description
During the Nazi occupation of Belgium, three series of archives were transferred to the State Archive in Dusseldorf (Staatsarchiv Dusseldorf). These were the archives of Eupen-Malmedy (a small German territory annexed by Belgium by virtue of the Versailles Treaty) dating from 1918, archives of Eupen from before 1918, and archives of the Rhineland kept in Belgian archives. In addition, documentary depositories and archival collections relating to military affairs and dated before 1914-1918, together with political and ideological documents identified by the Rosenberg Task Force and the Sicherheitspolizei/Sicherheitsdienst (Sipo-SD) were removed to Germany. Some archives of the Reichskommissar of Belgium are at present kept in the Archives Nationales in Paris.

Part of the Eupen-Malmedy material was recovered after World War II. Belgian missions to Moscow since 1992 confirmed that archives removed to Moscow by the Red Army as war booty contained many Belgian files. The Osoby archives in Moscow contain thirty-five series of Belgian documents totalling 19,934 files. Eighty percent of this material is of official origin and concerns Ministry of Defence matters dating back to World War I and the Ruhr occupation. There are some 200 dossiers from the Belgian public prosecutor. Other material includes files concerning freemasons, socialist and Jewish organisations and papers from the National Institute of Social History. Negotiations for the return of archival material from Moscow were partially successful in March 2001.

Responsibility for the stolen Belgian archives is shared between the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the General Archives of Belgium.

Sources

Dirk Martin, Recovery of Belgian Archives Lost During the Second World War
<http://www.dhh-3.de/biblio/bremen/treasures/contents.html>, first accessed 27 November 2002.  Link updated 17 July 2007

Michel Vermote "Back from Nowhere. The restitution of Belgian looted collections (1991-2001)", Seminar: Russia, Archives and Restitution, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, 24 September 2001 <http://www.iisg.nl/archives-and-restitution/>, first accessed 27 November 2002.  Link updated 17 July 2007

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