World's biggest Nazi archive opened


The world's biggest archive of Nazi documents, containing details on millions of victims of the Third Reich, is to be opened up to researchers as 11 nations amend a 50-year-old agreement to allow wider public access to the files. Under an agreement signed in 1955, the archive is administered by the International Red Cross and financed by the German government. Eleven states -- Israel, the U.S., France, the U.K., Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Germany -- agreed on May 16 in Luxembourg to open up the archive while taking into consideration the protection of personal data to shield those who were persecuted and their families. Wolfgang Wippermann, history professor of the Free University in Berlin said „The more access and knowledge we have, the more we can help the victims.”
„With the signing of the protocol the government is underlining the high importance it attaches to dealing with our past,” German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told reporters in Berlin on June 28 after the Cabinet approved the change to the 1955 agreement. In 2005, some 150,828 people, either those directly concerned or their legal successors, asked the tracing service for help. As many as 60 million people died during World War II. Some 6 million Jews from countries including Hungary, the Soviet Union, France, the Netherlands and Poland were murdered by the Nazis in enforced labor or concentration camps. The main task of the International Tracing Service after the war was the search for people who had gone missing or been displaced during the war and to assist separated families regain contact with their loved ones. (Bloomberg)


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