Osobyi Archive (Moscow) records
Extent and Medium
1,909,613 digital images, JPEG
891 microfilm reels, 16 mm
Forms part of the Claims Conference International Holocaust Documentation Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This archive consists of documentation whose reproduction and/or acquisition was made possible with funding from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
The records were created by several German occupation agencies including the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, the Zentralbauleitung der Waffen-SS und Polizei in Auschwitz, the Gestapo, and the SS. In the years immediately following the end of World War II, the Soviet police and security services established a series of secret archival holding facilities to maintain the millions of pages of documents and files the so-called “Trophy Brigades” confiscated for various reasons in the territories occupied by the Red Army. The records were cataloged and examined by officials involved with collecting evidence to convict individuals and organizations of crimes against humanity and of war crimes. Afterward, the records were sought by officials concerned with gathering evidence to present at a peace conference during which reparation demands would be made against the Germans and their collaborators, and by officials concerned with the possibility of blackmailing prominent individuals with a “Third Reich past.” Eventually, the records were placed in various secret archival facilities. Over the years Soviet security officials transferred some of the files to governments in the Warsaw Pact nations, but the great bulk remained in the Soviet Union. In 1990-1991 a reporter for Isvestia discovered the existence of the hitherto secret Special (Osobyi) Archives in Moscow and wrote a series of articles about the history and contents of this facility. Since then, European governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have requested that Russian officials transfer to them either records created by state agencies in those countries or those created by NGOs. This has been a lengthy and difficult process, which is by no means completed. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began negotiating with archival and other officials in Moscow as soon as news of the Osobyi’s existence became public, with a view toward microfilming relevant parts of the collections. For many years, Russian policy would not allow the reproduction of complete collections, thus the Museum’s earlier accessions from this source are incomplete (that is, records from the period prior to 1933 have in many cases not been reproduced) or scattered throughout several accessions. More recently, the Museum has been able to reproduce some complete collections. In the current status of filmed records of 2017 are following collections: RG-11.001M01-RG-11.001M98. This project is completed. Cataloging project of all separate collections is in progress.
System of Arrangement
Soviet archival authorities retained the original arrangement of the records, i.e. each collection (called a fond in Russian) contains files from a particular German government, Nazi party, or other governments’ agencies and non-governmental organizations. For many years, Russia did not allow reproduction of complete collections; thus the Museum’s earlier acquisitions are incomplete (records from the period prior to 1933 have in many cases not been reproduced), or are scattered throughout several accessions. thus the Museum’s earlier acquisitions are incomplete (records from the period prior to 1933 have in many cases not been reproduced), or are scattered throughout several accessions. More recently, the Museum has reproduced some complete collections. In several collections the material appears on non-sequentially numbered microfilm reels due to haphazard reproduction conditions early in the Museum’s project in Moscow, making access cumbersome. Therefore, the microfilmed records at the USHMM follow this arrangement and each of the collections in RG-11 represents a file from a specific organization, the name of which is listed in the collection’s title. Organized into the following subgroups: RG-11.001M01-RG-11.001M98. Arrangement of the files is thematic.
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access
Conditions Governing Reproduction
Copyright Holder: Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv