Originally posted in GERMAN-AMERICAN-L by Michael Ravnitzky on Sun, 17 Jan 1999.
From 1908 through the recent present, many thousands of German-Americans have been mentioned in FBI files or were the subject of FBI files.
Those files are easy to get.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Attn: Freedom of Information - Privacy Act Unit
Office of Public and Congressional Affairs
935 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20535-0000 USA
This is a request for records under the Freedom of Information
Act concerning NAME OF PERSON, who was born on BIRTH DATE in
BIRTH PLACE and who died on DEATH DATE.
Enclosed is a copy of proof of death. (ENCLOSE A PHOTOCOPY
FROM A BIOGRAPHICAL VOLUME, ENCYCLOPEDIA ENTRY, WHO WAS WHO IN
AMERICA, NEWSPAPER OR MAGAZINE OBITUARY, DEATH CERTIFICATE, ETC.)
I request a copy of all records about this (deceased) individual
which are at the FBI. This includes (but is not limited to)
documents, reports, memoranda, letters, bulkies, ELSUR (electronic
surveillance) records and indices, Official and Confidential files,
Personal and Confidential Files, electronic files, database
references, “do not file” files, and other miscellaneous files and
index citations relating to the subject in other files (i.e. “see also”
references). I would like the ELSUR indices searched. In terms of
which indices to search, please interpret this request broadly.
This person lived part of his/her life before 1958, so please search
your central general indices and not just the more recent computer
Please send me all CROSS REFERENCES and all main references.
Please send me the SEARCH SLIP.
FOIA regulations provide that if some material is properly exempt
from mandatory disclosure, all segregable portions must be released.
If the requested material is released with deletions, I ask that
each deletion be marked to indicate the exemption(s) being claimed
to authorize each particular withholding. Also, I ask that your
agency exercise its discretion to release records which may be
technically exempt, but where withholding serves no important public
I agree to pay reasonable costs associated with search and reproduction
of the requested records up to a maximum of $25 without my further
permission. Thank you for your assistance.
YOUR PHONE NUMBER
Note: This does not constitute legal advice. Do not rely on this
letter for legal purposes. Consult an attorney if you have any legal
questions pertaining to your own specific situation. This form letter
provided for reference purposes only.
Note: the above note will only get you FBI Files from FBI
Headquarters. If you want FBI files from any of the regional field
offices in many cities, you will need to send a similar letter directly
to those field offices also. The FBI also has files at their LEGAT
offices in cities overseas. For a list of FBI Field Offices and LEGAT
Offices, you can look at: