Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Col. Seymour J. Pomrenze Papers Now Available

Anyone researching the history of captured German documents from WWII or the return of cultural property looted by the Nazis will encounter, with some frequency, references to Col. Seymour Pomrenze.  He was the first head of the Offenbach Archival Depot and was heavily involved in the processing and disposition of captured German archives. Col. Pomrenze unfortunately passed away last year, but thanks to family members and the American Jewish Historical Society his papers are now available for researchers.

Archivist Kevin Schlottmann processed the collection and has created an excellent and detailed finding aid, available here, which also provides a good introduction to Col. Pomrenze's extraordinary career and life.  The abstract states:
The papers of Colonel Seymour Jacob Pomrenze (1916-2011) contain materials relating to his role as the first director of the Offenbach Archival Depot (OAD) in early 1946, as well as documentation of his career as a records management and archives consultant for the American Jewish cultural sector. It also includes a small amount of biographical material.

The finding aid notes that one of the highlights of the collection are binders entitled "Library Markings found among the looted books in the archival depot" which "contain thousands of photographs of ex libris and library markings found in the books processed by the OAD."

Contact information and details on visiting and accessing the collection through the American Jewish Historical Society are also provided in the finding aid.

As an added bonus, I am posting Col. Pomrenze's great piece "Policies and Procedures for the Protection, Use, and Return of Captured German Records" (large file) which was a paper from the 1968 National Archives "Captured German and Related Records" Conference (full book available on Amazon) (for any copyright police, Col. Pomrenze's piece is expressly (and thankfully) in the public domain as per the Ohio University Press notice reprinted on the last page).