Restitution Announcement in The Hague

Junior Minister van der Ploeg, Photo: H. Sanders

On Wednesday, January 30 2002, a long awaited ceremony took place on the premises of the Algemeen Rijksarchief [ARA: General State Archives] in The Hague. The Russian Federation presented 22 archives to their original Dutch owners.
At the moment 9 archives still remain in Moscow. Of these 9 archives, Russian authorities acknowledge their Dutch owners, but will need a clearer description before turning them over.
As a symbolic act Junior Minister van der Ploeg handed over a box of Dutch Roman Catholic archival material to Dr Roes, Director of the Katholiek Documentatiecentrum [KDC: Catholic Documentation Centre] in Nijmegen.
In this first shipment there are a number of interesting archives belonging to the IISH. The most fascinating are undoubtedly the 95 files of the secretariat of the Socialist Youth International and the 69 files from the archive of Joseph Bloch (18971-1936), editor of the Sozialistische Monatshefte.
During the Second World War the archives were stolen by the Germans occupiers of France and the Netherlands. After the German capitulation in 1945, special Red Army units found them in the then Soviet zone of Europe. For administrative reasons within Soviet intelligence these archives were 'moved' to Moscow and kept there secretly in an archival institute especially formed for this purpose. The existence of this institute was made public in 1991. After long negotiations 22 archives now have been returned. The archives belonging to the IISH will be handed over shortly by the ARA. As soon as they are available for research, we will post this news on our Website.

Junior Minister van der Ploeg and Dr Roes, Photo: H. Sanders

Text: Huub Sanders, January 2002