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Germany agrees to open Nazi archive.

// News about the fact that Germany agrees to open Nazi archive.

Germany will clear the way for the opening of records on 17 million Jews and enslaved labourers persecuted and murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

At a news conference yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said her country would work with the United States on opening the mournful files, a major stride toward making the material public. The files are locked up at a former SS barracks in Bad Arolsen in central Germany.

For 60 years, the International Red Cross has used the archived documents to trace missing and dead Jews and forced laborers who were systematically persecuted by Nazi Germany and its confederates across central and eastern Europe before and during World War II. Nevertheless, until now, Germany had resisted international pressure to allow access to historians and the public to the huge archive, citing privacy considerations.

Relatively to the Germany intention, Antonella Notari, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, said personal information needs to be treated carefully: It should definitely be open for historical research, and there are ways to do that with respect for personal data.

The decision to open the archive can now be formally approved in May in Luxembourg when representatives of the 11 countries which are responsible for it next meet. Besides Germany and the United States, the other countries involved are Belgium, Britain, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland.

April 19, 2006

Associated Press

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