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During the Second World War Nazi agencies plundered Europe's archival heritage - from key documentation of military intelligence to trade-union records, files of Masonic lodges and Jewish Communities, and personal papers of prominent individuals.
With the end of the war, the Red Army found some of the Nazi hideouts. Many of Europe's captured archives were seized a second time and rushed to Moscow, where they remained secret for almost half a century. Since 1991, negotiations took place and archival returns were finalised, including archives to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and papers from Vienna to the Rothschild family.
In the first half of this book, American historian and archival specialist Patricia Kennedy Grimsted reveals the story of the dramatic fate of those records in Nazi and Soviet hands and the post-1991 battle within Russia over their restitution.
The second half of the volume brings together for the first time reports on these twice-plundered archives from each country, written by key people who took part in their return from Russia. Detailed listings of the returned holdings and their present location are included.