Documents on Real History

Notes on Allied Collections of Photographs of Nazi Atrocities



A National Archives researcher has to report that there are not many actual photos of atrocities.

[Internal memorandum of National Archives, Washington, DC]

1 Oct., 1985

Prior to this time, the only photo that could be located in our files of Germans actually committing atrocities was located in the New York Times collection on Russia.

We now have, on contact sheets, enlargements of an 8mm film used as evidence at the Nürnberg Tribunals, showing Germans in the act of committing atrocities.

Ask the attendent for the 238 AF file.




INQUIRY: Pictorial records relating to the "holocaust".

REPORT: The records of the Office of Government Reports (RG 44) include several posters dealing with Nazi atrocities including the Lidice Massacre.

The records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (RG 153) include the personal photo albums of Ilse Koch, wife of the commandant of Buchenwald Concentration Camp showing the Koch's living quarters there and a few scenes of the camp.

The records of the Office of War Information (RG 208) include several hundred photographs of German occupation, Nazi atrocities and concentration camps throughout Europe; also the liberation of the camps and the refugees that resulted; German civilians being forced to view the horrors of the camps; a picture story on the camps called "Lest we Forget"; The Nuremberg Trials; and the rise of Naziism in Germany and its concurrent anti-semitism.

The National Archives Collection of World War II War Crimes Records (RG 238) includes photographs relating to the major and minor war crimes trials. They show the defendants, witnesses, courtroom scenes and evidence. The latter includes a series of photos taken by the Germans in the Warsaw Ghetto and examples of the physical atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis on concentration camp prisoners.

The National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized (RG 242) includes the Heinrich Hoffman collection, over 250,000 photographs documenting Nazi Party activities from 1923 to 1944. Some of them show anti-semitic propaganda, demonstrations and violence in Germany. Photos taken by Wermacht and Waffen-SS propaganda units show forced labor, including Jews, in Nazi occupied Europe.

The records of the United States Information Agency (RG 306), in the New York Times Paris Bureau collection, include photos dealing with European Jewry before, during and after World War II. They show Jewish ghettos in Europe, persecution of Jews by the Nazis, Jewish refugees before the war, anti-Jewish propaganda in Germany, and anti-Jewish sanctions in Italy in the 1930's. There are also photos of concentration camps being liberated by allied troops revealing the grim realities of the camps; and photos dealing with the Nuremburg Trials.

The records of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (RG 331) include photos of concentration camps, forced labor camps and factories and their liberation by the Allies in Western Europe.

Additional photographs dealing with the Holocaust are among the textual records of the National Archives Modern Military Branch.

Another source is the U.S. Army-Audiovisual Agency, Room 5A 470, the Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310

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