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World War II Document Archive

 

Features of the Center’s Archive

The WCSC’s WWII tribunal archive is a unique historical collection contains the trial records of national and international WWII war crimes trials involving Japanese and German defendants across the Pacific andEuropean theaters. These trials were conducted by more than twenty countries in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. Most of the trial records in our holdings have never before been reproduced, and for this reason have scarcely been accessible to researchers and practitioners. The collections include copies of some case files that remain under seal in the countries where the trials took place, but which we have obtained through the cooperation of other archival sources. For example, we have an ongoing project to collect the records of trials of more than 650 war crimes trials held before Chinese military tribunals, 1945-1948. In 2003, together with the Volkswagen Foundation and the Max Planck Institute for Legal History we created a partner center at the University of Marburg in Germany. The Marburg Center coordinates with the WCSC in pursuing the ongoing acquisition of WWII trial records.

Current Large Scale WWII Projects

 

  • Creation of a catalogue and index to the individual national war crimes programs, including compilation of a resource guide to over 500,000 pages of trial records, with online summaries and analyses of selected WWII cases;
  • Programming of a searchable database of war crimes trials in collaboration with the University of Marburg, which will eventually be available online for public use;
  • Collaborative research and publication projects with scholars at the National University of Singapore on WWII war crimes trials conducted in Southeast Asia;
  • Collaborations with Chinese and Japanese judges and scholars on the acquisition and analysis of WWII trial records held in Chinese and Japanese archives, as well as continuing acquisition of Chinese trial records from other sources;
  • and in collaboration with our partner center at the University of Marburg, Germany, the WCSC is compiling information on the post-WWII war crimes trials in Europe we are working to create a master list of all national-level trials of Germans held in the wake of WWII.