Nazi-era Nuremberg documents moving from Huntington Library to National Archives

LA Times 25 August 2010
By David Ng

The Nuremberg Laws -- a set of Nazi documents from 1935 that bears the signature of Adolf Hitler -- is moving to a new home.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens said Wednesday that the papers are being transferred to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where they will permanently reside. The Huntington has housed the documents since 1945,  when Gen. George S. Patton Jr. gave them to the San Marino museum, which happened to be near the Army leader's own residence.

Consisting of four typewritten pages -- and signed by Hitler and dated Sept. 15, 1935 -- the papers are the only Nuremberg Laws thought to exist in the United States, the Huntington said. The transfer of the documents, of which there are two copies, is effective immediately.

The Nuremberg Laws codified a set of anti-Semitic policies in Nazi-era Germany. The laws classified people of Jewish heritage and stripped them of German citizenship. Historians view the laws as a key step in the Nazi Party's efforts to exterminate the Jewish race.

The decision to transfer the documents came following conversations between the archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, and the director of the Huntington Library, David Zeidberg. Both parties have agreed that the papers should reside at the National Archives.

"The National Archives is the appropriate permanent home for this material,”  Steven Koblik, the president of the Huntington, said in a statement.

According to the Huntington, Patton did not specify how the documents should be treated and the papers were never formally accessioned into the collections. The Skirball Center in Los Angeles displayed the Nuremberg Laws for close to 10 years until 2009.

The Nuremberg Laws comprised three broad areas:  “Law for the Safeguard of German Blood and German Honor,” which forbade marriage, cohabitation and relations between “Aryans” and Jews; “The Reich's Citizen Law,” which defined a citizen of the German Reich as being of German blood; and “The Reich's Flag Law,” which defined the flag of the Nazi state.

Photo: a page from the Nuremberg Laws. Credit: Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
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