n.records of continuing value that have been removed from the control of their rightful ownerPosner 1960, 267Later on, archives officers of the U. S. Army, selected and recommended by the National Archives, rendered effective service not only in securing and making available the records of German agencies but also in helping to rehabilitate damaged archival depositories abroad and in returning displaced and confiscated archives to their rightful owners.Plavchan 1978, 346Although a consistent international action may facilitate or even accelerate the settlement of conflicting claims, the Round Table urged that the International Council on Archives immediately undertake four projects. These include: (1) the inventorying of all archives groups, including displaced archives, that relate to the history of other countries in both public and private repositories in each country; (2) publication of a representative collection of agreements and conventions on the transfer of archives and on access to them; (3) preparation of a treatise on the principles and terms used in settlement proceedings; and (4) a study into new methods of finance for microfilm operations, including the possible establishment of a special international fund to be administered by UNESCO.ICA 1996, 2Archivists should cooperate in the repatriation of displaced archives.Danielson 2009, 245Even as they secretly retained archives from all over Europe, the Soviets signed the nonretroactive 1954 Hague Convention and protocols that explicitly mandate the return of displaced archives to the countries of origin, clearly declaring that “Such property shall never be retained as war reparations.”Danielson 2010, 249The term displaced archives is a neutral euphemism to designate archival materials that have been lost, seized, requisitioned, confiscated, purchased under duress, or otherwise gone astray.Cox 2011, 468Examining the realities of the competing national and international interests provides a useful way of identifying where the policies and goals of the archival community converge or diverge with the interests and incentives both of combatants during hostilities and states during postconflict debates over the return of displaced archives.Behrnd-Klodt 2011, 708Finally, Danielson examines displaced archives that are stolen, lost, seized, requisitioned, confiscated, purchased under duress, or have otherwise gone astray. She discusses how archives can seek to recover illegally removed records through replevin and describes two significant replevin actions: the successful recovery of North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights and South Carolina’s unsuccessful attempt to recover Civil War–era gubernatorial documents from a private citizen.Karabinos 2015, 4Thus far my work on this project has been as supplementary research to my doctoral dissertation on using the records continuum model to visualize displaced archives in Southeast Asia. This has required a study of the contents of various national archives of former colonizers and colonies. Archivists and historians are well aware of the connections between archives and power, with control over archives leading to political control. What I have seen in my work, however, is that even in archives that are ostensibly controlled by their state (i.e., Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia), these nation’s former colonial powers still exert control over the archival collections.Winn 2015, 7Displaced archives may be alienated from their rightful owners by various means, ranging from relatively innocuous—a retiring employee taking home company records—to extreme—colonization, occupation, natural disasters, and armed conflict.Montgomery 2015, 304According to the ICA’s position paper, the customary norm of returning captured or displaced archives at the end of hostilities originated with the 1648 Westphalian settlement.Ketelaar 2017, viiiThese are ‘displaced archives’, a term used as early as 1960 by Ernst Posner when commemorating the second Archivist of the United States, Solon Justus Buck. From 1943, Buck (assisted by Posner) promoted programmes to protect archives in war areas in Europe and Asia, including establishing collection centres for displaced archives to be returned to their rightful owners. Among these displaced archives were diplomatic, military, administrative and historical archives of the defeated enemy, along with archives that the enemy had seized in occupied countries.Lowry 2017, 4This book is concerned with the removal of archives from the place of their creation. In particular, it is concerned with displacements: those removals that are arguably not illicit thefts but somehow legitimised or defensible by virtue of the fact of their being removed by states, regimes or exiled groups rather than individuals. A number of chapters in this book attempt to define or challenge definitions of ‘displaced archives’.Manžuch 2017, 11Often the communities that should benefit from such projects cannot access these heritage collections due to barriers created by memory institutions. In discussing the digitization of displaced archives, Winn reports that the use by memory institutions of their own languages in descriptive information about digitized content prevents users from communities that created the heritage resources from using it.
Archivists use the term displaced archives most often when discussing records illegally or extralegally removed from the custody of national governments, particularly when this occurs in times of military conflict. However, the term is also used generically to cover any records alienated from their legal owner. Archivists in Commonwealth countries, excepting Canada, frequently use the term migrated archives instead. The term expatriate archives, created by Timothy Lovering, is sometimes used by other archivists, in part to highlight the expatriation of records from a sovereign country.