For other categories of property, there were some possibilities to withhold them from registration: this was true of securities not deposited with banks, movable property including jewellery and similar objects and non-collateralised claims. For these categories, the registers must be expected to be incomplete, (a) because owners had an interest in avoiding their registration, and (b) it was easier for confiscators to conceal them.
The completeness of registered liabilities may be assumed where somebody had an interest in letting the net assets appear as small as possible.
V.1.5. Reliability of the valuation of the assets listed
Valuations are not equally reliable for all categories of assets. They are largely reliable only for cash, stock-exchange-traded securities and, normally, bank deposits and claims arising from insurance policies.
Other claims, which are not sufficiently documented, may be trustworthy to different degrees.
What is in principle trustworthy is the valuation of business assets on the basis of the firm.s balance sheet. Nevertheless, the margins of discretion in valuing these assets were still considerable. In all valuations based on estimates the essential question is whether they reflected opposing interests.
V.1.6. Oral history, depth interviews, and interviews of experts
Finally it will be necessary to conduct interviews with surviving victims, other witnesses and experts in different fields. In this respect researchers can also resort to existing private or public national and international collections. Precisely these parts of the research programme will be vital, (a) because many facts are reflected in the files in a biassed or muddled way, and (b) because what the whole project is about are not only questions of money but also some central problems of mentality history.
V.I.7. Audiovisual sources
In some areas of the project it will be necessary to use audiovisual sources, for example, contemporary sound recordings, photographs or newsreels.
V.1.8. A note on the workload involved
It is common experience that the amount of work necessary is the smaller, the more systematic and homogeneous the sources are. Questionnaire-type and systematically generated sources are comparatively quick to work up. In the present case, however, the major part of the sources will have a more complex structure, (a) because many additional enquiries will have to be made, and (b) because the sources will be unstructured or imperfectly structured.