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Plaut, Lt. Cdr. James Sachs, USNR | Pomrenze, Col. Seymour J. | Popham, Anne

Pomrenze, Col. Seymour J.  

Colonel, U.S. Army, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Officer

A former member of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s staff, Pomrenze served as the first director of the Offenbach Archival Depot in 1946. He was instrumental in the restitution of thousands of looted archives, including those of the Strashun Library in Vilna, Lithuania. The library was the premier Jewish library in Europe before World War II, and luckily survived the Nazi destruction of Vilna. The contents of the library, along with those of the YIVO building in Vilna, were looted for eventual placement in the anti-Semitic “Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question.” Pomrenze oversaw the return of tens of thousands of items from the Strashun Library to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research headquarters in New York.

After his wartime service, Pomrenze worked as a consultant to the National Archives, and as a records manager and archivist for the U.S. Army from 1950 until 1976. He taught as an adjunct professor in records management at American University in Washington, D.C. until 1980. Colonel Pomrenze holds degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, and the Spertus College of Jewish Studies. He has served 34 years of active and reserve service with the Army of the United States, and has received numerous military awards including a World War II Victory Medal, a Bronze Star medal for his service in Vietnam, the Legion of Merit, Asiatic-Pacific Medal with three bronze stars, as well as the Netherlands Government Silver Medal of Honor for his work with the MFAA. Pomrenze has lectured frequently on topics such as restitution and Holocaust-era libraries and archives. A first-hand account of his experiences at the Offenbach Archival Depot was shared with the 37th Annual Convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries in 2002.


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