NARA vs. BA/MA

Discussions on archives and similar issues. Hosted by John Calvin and Jeff Leach.
Mori
Member
Posts: 1270
Joined: 25 Oct 2014 11:04
Location: Europe

NARA vs. BA/MA

Post by Mori » 21 Oct 2020 18:58

As I'm getting more familiar with sources every single day, I slowly come to realize what's different between the German documents microfilmed (and now digitized) by the US at NARA and what's actually in the files held by the Bundesarchiv in Germany.

For years I thought that NARA copied almost everything before returning the documents to Germany. An article by Weinberg - who was in charge of the microfilming - stated just that: he decided not to select what to copy because "someone's junk is someone else's gold".

However, I know believe NARA did have a policy what to copy and what not to copy. NARA focused on operational documents from field units from division upwards, and by and large left aside:

- documents of units smaller than divisions (unless, by chance, directly attached to a corps or an army)

- pre-war documents, even if many divisions / corps / armies were setup before the war broke out. Some of these were filmed under T79 (Wehrkeis, Rear areas), and BA/MA filed back under their relevant units.

- pre-operations documents when Germany did not have the initiative. I'm thinking of documents of units in occupation duties (e.g., Army Group G - responsible for South France - prior to D--Day). A notable exception are the tens of rolls of 20.AOK in Norway.

- folders from field police and equivalent units, even if they were directly attached to armies or army groups. Usually, Korück of secret field police files are missing, although BA /MA has some of them.

- folders solely related to personel, like list of officers, of Iron Cross holders etc. Note that Personakten were copied, especially those of the SS (A3343). Name cards of higher officers, with their evaluations, were also recorded under T78. But whatever existed in the field units wasn't.

- folders with repetitive lists and charts. For example, there is almost nothing in T78 from Inspector of Armored Forces (Guderian's job from 1943) compared to BAMA RH10. An example of what NARA did not copy are monthly TO&E of each division. For a casual readers, these files are just very repetitive charts. It could also be that whomever checked them did not know how to read them - it requires some training - and left them aside.

Here is my understanding so far. Feel free to add your observations.

User avatar
hucks216
Member
Posts: 1746
Joined: 20 Jan 2007 22:49
Location: England

Re: NARA vs. BA/MA

Post by hucks216 » 22 Oct 2020 09:33

While BA/MA have some of the KvK & EK award lists, they do state that all those from 1939 to June 1941 are not available due to 'outsourcing' so does that refer to NARA still having the originals or is that just another way of saying they don't know where they are?

Mori
Member
Posts: 1270
Joined: 25 Oct 2014 11:04
Location: Europe

Re: NARA vs. BA/MA

Post by Mori » 22 Oct 2020 11:45

If they can't say where to they were "outsourced", it means they don't know where they are...

User avatar
Piet Duits
Member
Posts: 675
Joined: 18 Apr 2002 21:07
Location: Oudenbosch, Netherlands

Re: NARA vs. BA/MA

Post by Piet Duits » 11 Nov 2020 16:31

In the 60's, the NARA started to send documents back to Germany. The NARA states they send everything back, the BA-MA however are saying they did not.
I believe the BA-MA.

smetanin albert
Member
Posts: 3378
Joined: 15 Jun 2003 18:08
Location: Russia

Re: NARA vs. BA/MA

Post by smetanin albert » 16 Mar 2021 10:33

The archive(BA) is working, but NARA is still closed!
God created the Internet, but devil created Darknet.

Mori
Member
Posts: 1270
Joined: 25 Oct 2014 11:04
Location: Europe

Re: NARA vs. BA/MA

Post by Mori » 16 Mar 2021 11:25

Commenting on my own comments 6 months later, I should add that:
- folders from field police and equivalent units, even if they were directly attached to armies or army groups. Usually, Korück of secret field police files are missing, although BA /MA has some of them.
=> NARA actually filed them under T501 instead of T311-T315. It seems NARA and BAMA collections are >90% almost similar.

Besides, NARA filmed a semi-random selection of files from occupation authorities, like Frankreich Oberbefehlshaber. They are also under T501. Something like 1/3 of items are in BAMA only. The holes are obvious when you read the NARA catalog, but what I have just learnt is the gaps are not "lost items" but "existing but not microfilmed items".

User avatar
Natter
Member
Posts: 1245
Joined: 19 Feb 2007 21:43
Location: Bergen, Norway

Re: NARA vs. BA/MA

Post by Natter » 17 Mar 2021 17:32

Piet Duits wrote:
11 Nov 2020 16:31
In the 60's, the NARA started to send documents back to Germany. The NARA states they send everything back, the BA-MA however are saying they did not.
I believe the BA-MA.
Appearently, BaMa didn't have the capacity to handle all the returned documents at the time, so a lot were destroyed and some ended up on private hands (unfortunately, I can't find the references for this now).

Return to “Archives”