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Tracing a tangled history: The return of German files captured in WWII

By Dana Goldman | Emory Report | March 27, 2013

Historians searching through Germany's records from World War II don't always realize the complex history of the records themselves. But Emory history professor Astrid Eckert is working to change that. She is the author "The Struggle for the Files: The Western Allies and the Return of German Archives after the Second World War" (Cambridge University Press, 2012), first published in German in 2004.

"The book is about the history of the captured German records that were confiscated in the wake of World War II," says Eckert.  

After American troops brought tons of German governmental records back to the United States, officials began using them for intelligence purposes. But after the war, the new West German government protested America's possession of the files and a struggle ensued to determine ownership.  

She details what eventually happened to the records – and the implications.  

Watch a slideshow of Astrid Eckert talking about her book above, and listen to Eckert read an excerpt below.