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The Board for Soviet Repatriation of Displaced Persons Collection: A Sub-Group of the Honorable Justice Michael A. Musmanno Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 005

Scope and Contents

These records include the reports of findings, memorandums, policy statements, lists of names of displaced persons, citizenship board reports, notes, and miscellaneous clippings and correspondence from the postwar period. Of primary interest are the reports of findings and the memos of the board clarifying their position on the rules that exempted people from forcible repatriation. Their reasons for refusing to repatriate are detailed with a listing of the names covered by each ruling. Also of interest are the Citizenship Board Reports which are brief questionnaires completed by the most problematic groups of displaced persons: prisoners of war and those found working for the Germans or wearing German uniforms of any sort. The papers are easily legible and most of them are typewritten. The paper is yellowing and deteriorating, although only the Citizenship board records are brittle and beginning to crumble.

Dates

  • 1945 - 1968

Biographical / Historical

Michael A. Musmanno was born on April 7, 1897, in Stowe Township, Allegheny County, PA. In 1923, he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar and worked several years as an attorney. He served 4 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and, in 1932; he began his lifelong career as a jurist. In 1951, he became a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. During World War II, Captain Musmanno served as naval aide to General Mark Clark. Musmanno led the U.S. investigation to determine if Adolf Hitler died at the end of the war. He served as a presiding judge at the Nuremberg War Crime trials and retired from active duty as a rear admiral. During his postwar career, he was elected as a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge, a position he held until his death. In 1964 Musmanno ran an unsuccessful campaign for United States Senate. Aside from his political career he was a prolific writer, publishing sixteen books, including Across the Street From the Courthouse, The Story of Italians in America, and Columbus Was First as well as a number of short stories and articles. Judge Musmanno passed away at the age of 71 on Columbus Day, October 12, 1968.

Extent

.5 Cubic Feet : 1 Box

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

Series 1 deals with the creation of the board. Series 2 is composed of a series of reports. Series 3 is composed of a series of lists and reports established by the Soviet armies. Series 4 compiles the different reports of prisoners examined by the board. Series 5 is composed of Musmanno’s notes. Except for a few typewritten sheets, they mostly are in shorthand. Series 6 is devoted to the letters written by Musmanno or addressed to him. The correspondence is chiefly casual letters exchanged in later years with people Musmanno worked with on the Board. Other letters deal with his attempts to get a story about the events published. Series 7 is composed of one single pamphlet describing the history and the overall geography of Berlin. Series 8 is composed exclusively of clippings. Some of the collected articles have a strong anti-communist tone.

General

The personal papers and library of the former Pennsylvania State Supreme Court justice, congressman, and author Michael A. Musmanno are located in the University Archives at Duquesne University. Documents include papers from Musmanno’s time as a defense attorney in the Sacco & Vanzetti trial, as a judge in the Nuremberg Trials, as a witness in the case against Adolf Eichmann and as an interviewer of Hitler’s associates. The collection also covers papers related to the Sunday Blue Laws, to the Communist Party and to the Coal and Iron Police. This particular collection deals with Musmanno’s functions as a judge of the Board for Soviet Repatriation of Displaced Persons. This board was appointed on January 28 1946 to establish the citizenship of displaced persons in Austria whom the Soviet Union wished to repatriate, by force if necessary. Musmanno was appointed president of the board by General Clark. There were two other voting members, Majors Dollard and Sanders, and a civilian State Department observer, Carlisle McIvor. The policy guidelines were developed by the United States Forces in Austria (USFA) pursuant to the Yalta agreements. The Board’s interpretations of the rules were accepted by the USFA and the Board had full authority to decide the cases of the individuals whose names were on the lists submitted by the Russians. The Russians had the right to present evidence (which they did not do) and to participate in the court’s interrogation. The Board found that almost none of the listed individuals were subject to forced repatriation. The board concluded its duties on March 15 1946.

Processing Information

Processed by Anaïs Grateau, October 2016

Title
The Board for Soviet Repatriation of Displaced Persons Collection
Subtitle
Duquesne University Archives and Special Collections
Status
Completed
Author
Anais Grateau
Date
October 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English
Edition statement
Processed by Anaïs Grateau, October 2016

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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