Catalogue description German War Documents Project: German Foreign Ministry and other related Archives: Selection of Documents made by the German War Documents Project: Microfilms and files

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Details of GFM 35
Reference: GFM 35
Title: German War Documents Project: German Foreign Ministry and other related Archives: Selection of Documents made by the German War Documents Project: Microfilms and files

Microfilm copies of 'Special' (i.e. selective) Films of captured German Foreign Ministry documents, used primarily to compile Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945.

This series also contains microfilms of index cards made during the filming of the captured documents at Whaddon Hall; microfilms of records of former German and Japanese embassies and consulates at Tsingtao, Chefoo, Hankow, Yokohama, Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg, and the Manchurian legation to Rome, etc, and microfilm copies of secretariat papers of the German Foreign Minister, 1938-1943 (the 'von Loesch' documents).

Von Loesch Documents (GFM 35/318-358)

The von Loesch documents are copies of top secret papers from the Secretariat of Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler's Foreign Minister from February 1938. They include correspondence and records of conversations between Hitler or Ribbentrop and leading foreign statesmen, and are therefore amongst the most important sources for German foreign policy. They cover the period from March 1938 to June 1943, but also include a few much older documents.

As the name of von Loesch was not publicly disclosed in connection with these documents until the 1960's, the collection is also referred to as the Film Find, the BUro RAM Files, and in DGFP as GFM film, Files of the Reich Foreign Minister's Secretariat.

There is some overlap with other German Foreign Ministry papers, particularly the personal papers and memoranda of Dr Paul Otto Schmidt, Hitler's senior interpreter, but the von Loesch papers are the only source for certain significant documents such as the secret supplementary protocol to the Nazi-Soviet Pact. While the Schmidt papers contain Schmidt's original draft notes or memoranda on discussions with foreign statesmen, the documents in the von Loesch collection are generally the final (retyped) versions seen by Hitler.

Original films of the von Loesch documents were returned to Germany in 1958.

Date: 1860-1958

The Special Films (GFM 35/1-233) are divided into several convenient periods (Weimar period; 1933-1936; etc) and within each period into topics, either a country or a major foreign policy subject (e.g. Disarmament, League of Nations, Western Pact). However the years 1938-1940 are not covered systematically because the selection of documents for volumes covering those years had already been made by the time the Special filming program was fully organised.

The post-1933 documents were selected on a more systematic basis and are divided into smaller time spans (1933-1936; 1936-1937; 1941; 1942 and 1943-1945) and more topics, but were not filmed in chronological order within each topic/period.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Physical description: 474 files and microform
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Custodial history: The Von Loesch Documents (GFM 35/318-358) were microfilmed by the Germans during the war, and evacuated to Thuringia. When the original files were destroyed at a late stage of the war, the microfilms were secretly hidden by Carl von Loesch, one of Hitler's junior interpreters, and subsequently revealed by him to the Anglo-American documents team in Germany.
Publication note:

For a detailed list of some of the microfilms in this series see: Records of former Japanese embassies and consulates 1890-1945, Vol. 15, Washington, 1958-1977

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