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The American "White, Grey, Black List for Information Control Purposes" in Postwar Germany is Now Online

Formerly classified documents detailing the blacklisting of Germans seeking to work in postwar Germany's media have been digitized in database form and are now accessible on the web.
    ST. JOHN'S, NL, August 16, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Dr. Erwin Warkentin of the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada has compiled a database of the "White, Grey, Black List for Information Control Purposes" (WGBL) in Germany for the years 1944 to 1947. The availability of this database represents a significant step forward in our ability to understand how the media in the American Zone, and then in the rest of Germany, developed into what it is today. This completely searchable database finally allows researchers and the general public access to information that was considered classified by the US government. Lying buried in 33,000 cubic feet of paper the US National Archives in College Park, Maryland, the WGBL was the American equivalent of the Soviet "Liste der auszusondernden Literatur" (List of Proscribed Literature). In addition, Dr. Warkentin has also made the "November 1944 American Black List of Germans" involved in the media available online.

The two databases contain the names of almost 10,000 individuals and will continue to grow as more archival material is evaluated. Over time, it will be expanded to include approximately 17,800 entries. In total, this represents approximately 590,000 discrete data points.

Where can the databases be accessed?

What were the White, Grey, Black Lists?
As the US military took control of their occupation zone in Germany the Information Control Division (ICD), classified everyone in the media (from circus performers and bookstore managers to owners of publishing houses and newspaper editors) according to the following categories: White A, White B, Grey Acceptable, Grey Unacceptable, and Black. These designation determined whether one could work in the media or not.

The WGBL established what the ICD thought of the individual and determined their ability to work in Germany's media. An example of who one might find there is the much lauded writer Luise Rinser, who was categorized as Black. She had used her married name, Luise Hermann, which was considered suspect by the ICD officers. Others included in the database are: Alfred Andersch, Emmy Sonnemann (Goering), and the 11-year-old musician Alfred Gruber of Kreis Wolfstein.

The Impact of the White, Grey, Black Lists.
The designation individuals received determined who would become part of the foundation of Germany's information and media services in the American Zone. The newspapers and publishers established during this period still hold a commanding position on Germany's media landscape today.

Everyday uses of the WGBL-Database.
While the database has academic and research applications, it also has everyday uses for those interested in doing family research since it contains birthdates, birth places, and other information of interest to those looking into their family history.

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Contact Information

Erwin Warkentin
Memorial University

Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador
Voice: 1-709-437-5601
E-Mail: Email Us Here
Website: Visit Our Website

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