Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “germany”

Records of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany

Records of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany – http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/466.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How much did occupying Germany cost the United States?
  • How is an occupation organized?
  • Where can I learn more about German war criminals?


This is a finding aid to some of the materials generated by the Allied occupation of Germany. The finding aid lists groups of records. Some of the more notable groups are:

  • 466.1 Administrative History
  • 466.2.4 Records of the Office of Economic Affairs
  • 466.2.5 Records of the Office of Political Affairs
  • 466.3 Records of the Land Commissioners 1945-52
  • 466.5 Records of the U.S. Element of the Military Security Board 1947-55
  • 466.6 Records of the U.S. Element of the Extradition Board 1945-55
  • 466.7 Records of U.S. Courts of the Allied High Commission for Germany 1944-55
  • 466.9 Records of the Combined Travel Board of the Allied High Commission for Germany 1945-54

The extradition board had jurisdiction over war criminals and worked with various governments to secure their return to Germany.

As far as I can determine, very few of these records have been digitized. You’ll need to visit the National Archives to see the vast majority of records. If you’re within driving distance of Maryland and are interested in the day to day details of an occupied country, this series would probably help you.

Concentration Camp System (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Concentration Camp System (US Holocaust Memorial Museum) – http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007387

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was life like in a concentration camp?
  • What did the Allies find when they liberated a concentration camp?
  • How were the concentration camps organized and administered?


This site serves as a pocket reference to one of the most heinous systems ever devised. The main page provides an overview of the system and the development (degeneration?) of the German law enforcement and judicial systems. Subsequent pages detail locations and procedures of concentration camps.

Of special interest to writers might be 538 pieces of survivor testimony from before, during and after their confinement in death camps. These can be found at http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_list.php?MediaType=oh. Also of interest is a collection of nearly 2,500 photographs that include the following:

  • Lithuanian librarian Ona Simaite – Helped save Jews and their cultural treasures.
  • An author and actor who was imprisoned in 1937 for 27 months for homosexuality
  • Roll call for newly arrived prisoners, mostly Jews arrested during Kristallnacht (the “Night of Broken Glass”), at the Buchenwald concentration camp
  • Two survivors at one of the human-ash pits in the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp, located near Nordhausen.
  • Soviet officials view stacked corpses of victims at the Klooga camp

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