Germany sends Holocaust documents to museums in the US and Israel

22nd August 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 August 2007, Bad Arolsen, Germany (dpa) - The world's most extensive archive dealing with Nazi concentration camps and forced labour has for the first time transferred copies of millions of files to museums in Israel and the United States.

22 August 2007

Bad Arolsen, Germany (dpa) - The world's most extensive archive dealing with Nazi concentration camps and forced labour has for the first time transferred copies of millions of files to museums in Israel and the United States.

The electronic transfer took place on Monday in line with an agreement to open up the archive managed by the International Tracing Service (ITS) in the German town of Bad Arolsen.

"The documents reflect the most gruesome atrocities of the Nazis and at the same time form the core of our archives," said ITS spokesman Reto Meister on Tuesday.

The ITS, an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross, helps survivors of the camps to claim pensions and compensation and assists families who want to know where their loved ones suffered.

The ITS had always withheld the papers from history researchers until the 11 nations governing the archives agreed earlier this year to sidestep legal barriers and allow wider access.

The modification allowed historians into the collection and also permitted digital photographs of the entire archives to be lodged at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

A further copy went go to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, where official Paul A Shapiro says the 35 million to 50 million pages will double that museum's document collection in one step.

The documents, kept in six buildings at Bad Arolsen, a remote town in hills north of Frankfurt, are only a part of the world's scattered stock of personal data on Nazi victims. Prisoner-of-war data is kept separately by the Central Tracing Agency in Geneva, Switzerland.

The documents will only go public once all 11 member states of the ITS ratify the legal change.

The papers were first used by the Allies to bring Nazis to justice, then to reunite parted families, and will now be opened to historians keen to expose the Nazi system at the human level.

The US has led pressure to open the sealed archives to families and others before the last Holocaust survivors die.

DPA

Subject: French news

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