Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Inventory of the Kurt Werner Schaechter Collection
2007C4  
No online items No online items
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (124.52 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Kurt Werner Schaechter Collection
    Dates: 1933-2006
    Collection number: 2007C4
    Creator: Schaechter, Kurt Werner
    Collection Size: 54 manuscript boxes 21.4 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Acquired in 2007, the Kurt Werner Schaechter Collection in the Hoover Institution Archives consists primarily of photocopies made by Schaechter of documents from French state archives. These copies relate to the role played by the Vichy France government in the internment of refugees during the Second World War, and the deportation of many such refugees, especially Jews, toward Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.
    Physical location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: French German

    Access

    Collection open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Kurt Werner Schaechter Collection, [Box no]., Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2007

    Accruals

    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at http://library.stanford.edu/webcat. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Chronology

    1921 Born, Vienna, Austria
    1938 Due to Nazi persecution of Austrian Jews following the incorporation of Austria into the German Reich, the Schaechter family leaves Vienna and settles in France
    1939-1940 Mobilized into French army, trained in North Africa, and sent to Narvik, Norway
    1943 Father is deported and killed in Sobibór
    1944 Mother is deported and killed in Auschwitz
    1950s-1970s Ran import-export company specializing in musical instruments
    1991-1992 Conducted archival research in Toulouse, France on Vichy-era internments and deportations
    1992 Went public with his copies of archival documents, becoming the center of a controversy regarding access to these and other documents
    2003 Lawsuit initiated by Schaecter against the Socié té Nationale des Chemins de fer Français is ruled invalid by a French court under the terms of a statute of limitations applying to such cases
    2006 Inaugurated plaque at a local railway station commemorating those deported by Vichy government
    2007 Died

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Acquired in 2007, the Kurt Werner Schaechter Collection in the Hoover Institution Archives consists primarily of photocopies made by Schaechter of documents from French state archives. These copies relate to the role played by the Vichy government in the internment of refugees during the Second World War, and the deportation of many such refugees, especially Jews, toward Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.
    The son of Austrian Jews who were victims of the Nazis, Schaechter undertook a personal mission to document the complicity of the Vichy government in the Holocaust. He became particularly interested in the part played by the French national railroads in transporting interned Jewish and other refugees into German hands, and in the general subject of Vichy collaboration with the Nazis in this period. Schaechter's decision to file suit against the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français) received wide media attention in France and elsewhere in the early 1990s, as did his decision to make public the documents he had photocopied. His lawsuit was ultimately unsuccessful-a French court ruled that his case had been brought too long after the events themselves-and the charges he made regarding access to French archival sources were challenged by many French historians of the Vichy period, who maintained that Schaechter's assertions regarding French collaboration in deportations had already been largely revealed by French and other historians in the 1970s and 1980s.
    The materials in the collection will be of value to researchers interested in the controversies surrounding Schaechter's lawsuit and his decision to make archival documents available by copying and publishing them. The materials require some explanation as to their nature and Schaechter's description and arrangement of them. A large number of copies are stamped "secret," but are not considered to be classified. Furthermore, many of the photocopies cannot be assumed to be exact copies of French archival documents. Schaechter compiled and published large numbers of these copies under the auspices of his own foundation, E.T.H.I.C. (Enquête sur la Tragique Histoire des Internements dans les Camps en France). In doing so, he often combined documents or added his own descriptions. As a result, such copies must be considered facsimiles or composites, and need to be compared to the originals. Another factor that may cause confusion is Schaechter's use of the term "originaux", which he employed to describe the master copies that he later duplicated, and not the archival documents themselves. A large number of true copies are part of the collection, and these contain significant information about internments and deportations in the Vichy period.
    It should be noted that there are many duplicates in the collection, as Schaechter made numerous sets of the same photocopied documents for use in his lawsuit and for other purposes. Different descriptions were added by Schaechter to these copies, depending on the circumstance, and they have been preserved inasmuch as they shed light on his polemics with others and his research activities in general.
    The collection also contains correspondence, including some open letters addressed to French politicians, and a number of writings by Schaechter, including several historical plays. Details on Schaechter's lawsuit and other activities, as well as information on the fate of his parents, can be found in the Biographical File series.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    World War, 1939-1945--France.
    World War, 1939-1945--Jews.
    World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps.
    Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
    France--History--German occupation, 1940-1945.

    Related Material

    Klaus Barbie pre-trial records, Hoover Institution Archives