Conference Proceeding: Theft and Recovery: The Fate of Rosa Manus’ Feminist Archive in the Context of Nazi Looting of Archives and Libraries in the Netherlands

In 1935, Rosa Manus (1881-1942) and two other Dutch feminists founded the International Archives for the Women’s Movement (IAV) in Amsterdam. It contained Manus’s collection from her work in international suffrage and the collection of physician Aletta Jacobs (l854-1929). The archives’ core was material collected by these two Dutch Jewish women. After the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, soldiers stole the collection. Manus was arrested in 1941 and gassed in 1942. In 1992, a Dutch scholar spotted some of the stolen materials in an archive in Moscow. Russian soldiers had seized the papers and shipped them there. After much frustration and diplomacy, in 2003, a significant portion of the original collection was returned to ATRIA, a feminist archive in Amsterdam that continues Manus’s project. The theft and partial return of this archive will be considered in the context of other Nazi thefts from progressive and Jewish libraries and archives in the Netherlands.

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