Huntington Library to give original Nuremberg Laws to National Archives

IN TRUST: Gen. Patton presents the infamous laws to Huntington chairman Robert A. Millikan in 1945.
IN TRUST: Gen. Patton presents the infamous laws to Huntington chairman Robert A. Millikan in 1945. (Copyright Huntington Library)
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By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The National Archives said Tuesday that a California library is transferring to the Archives the two original sets of the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the Nazis' spare, anti-Semitic manifesto endorsed by Adolf Hitler that helped lead to the extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II.

The laws are being transferred by the Huntington Library, in San Marino, where they have been held since they were placed there by Gen. George S. Patton Jr. in 1945.

Each set of the 1935 laws is typed on four pieces of paper, said Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper. One set is believed to have been signed by Hitler.

One section, the so-called "laws for the protection of German blood and German honor," forbade such things as marriages between Jews and Germans, and extramarital relations between Jews and "subjects of the state of Germany."

Another section, the "Reichs Citizen Law," decreed that a citizen was only a person "of German or German related blood who proves by his attitude that he is willing and capable to serve the German people and the Reich faithfully," according to a translation provided by the library. Both laws extended Hitler's brutal subjugation of the Jews that culminated in the Holocaust.

"It's so simple, it's bone-chilling," Cooper said of the crude laws. "It makes your spine crawl."

Cooper said the Huntington Library decided to hand the laws over to the Archives because the federal repository has the records of the famous Nuremberg war crimes trials, where surviving Nazi leaders were prosecuted after the war.

"It really does complete the collection that we have of the Nuremberg war crimes trial materials," she said. "That's the one set of documents that we're missing."

The Huntington Library "felt that these documents belonged in the National Archives," Cooper said.

The formal transfer, from Huntington library president Steven S. Koblik to Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero is scheduled to take place Wednesday at the library.

Cooper said the Archives hopes to exhibit the documents sometime this fall.

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