August 25, 2010
National Archives Receives Original Nuremberg Laws from Huntington Library
SAN MARINO, Calif. —In a transfer ceremony at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens today, Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero accepted on behalf of the U.S. government the original Nuremberg Laws presented by Steven S. Koblik, Huntington president. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. deposited the documents at the Library for safekeeping at the end of World War II. He died in December of 1945 in an automobile crash before he could discuss their final disposition.
In presenting the Laws to Mr. Ferriero, Dr. Koblik said, “These documents should have been part of the National Archives, had Gen. Patton followed instructions from his commander-in-chief in Europe, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower directed that all documents related to the persecution of the Jews should be sent to a common collection point in Germany that was preparing for the Nuremberg War Crime Trials. These materials eventually were deposited at the National Archives. The Huntington felt strongly that it wanted the Nuremberg Laws to be placed with the other original documentation of war crimes against Jews during World War II. We are pleased that we are able to present these documents to the Archivist of the United States today so that the collection is now complete.”
“I am pleased and honored to accept these originals of the Nuremberg Laws on behalf of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Government of the United States,” said Mr. Ferriero.
“September 15, just a few weeks away, will mark the 75th anniversary of the signing of these laws by Adolf Hitler, which he used as the legal underpinning for the persecution of Jews in Germany, culminating in the Holocaust. We are very grateful that the Huntington Library is now providing these historically important documents to the National Archives, where they will join other original documents relating to horrors of the Third Reich,” he continued.
The National Archives also released today a 3:49 minute video short from its series “Inside the Vaults,” highlighting the background of the Nuremberg Laws. The video, which includes historic footage and interviews with National Archives expert Greg Bradsher and Huntington president Steven Koblik, is hosted online on the National Archives YouTube Channel [www.youtube.com/USNationalArchives/] and the National Archives web site, [www.archives.gov] This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages its free distribution.
The Laws, which were signed by Hitler in 1935, are considered to be the official blueprint of racial policies against Jews in Germany. Individuals were defined as Jews if three or four of their grandparents were Jewish. They were stripped of their German citizenship and prohibited from marrying German citizens.
The Nuremberg Laws will join millions of other documents in the National Archives World War II holdings relating to the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and the trials at Nuremberg. They include transcripts of proceedings, prosecution and defense exhibits, interrogation records, document books and court papers. They also include other items such as the war diaries of Joseph Goebbels and Gen. Alfred Jodl, as well as registers from concentration camps.
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For more information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.