During the Second World War archives of real and imagined enemies of nazism were stolen by the Germans occupiers of the Netherlands. After the German capitulation in 1945, special Red Army units found them in the then Soviet zone of Europe. For administrative reasons within Soviet intelligence these archives were 'moved' to Moscow and kept there secretly in an archival institute especially formed for this purpose. The existence of this institute was made public in 1991.
When accepted as a member of the Council of Europe in January 1996, Russia committed itself to the restitution of cultural treasures to other member States. Among these archives were also collections captured from the IISH.
See Displaced Cultural Treasures as a Result of World War II and Restitution Issues : a bibliography of publications by Patricia Kennedy Grimsted.
- Looted books found in Minsk: lecture by P. Kennedy Grimsted, 5 November 2003
- Archives Returned, 28 May 2003
- Archives back in Amsterdam, 18 April 2002
- Restitution Announcement in The Hague, 30 January 2002
- Meeting Russia: Archives and Restitution, 24 September 2001
- Russia's 'Trophy' Archives - an Update on Restitution Issues, by Patricia Kennedy Grimsted
- Back from Nowhere : The Restitution of Looted Belgian Collections (1991-2001), by Michel Vermote