Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The New York Times today reports that the German government has decided to drop its decades-long resistance to opening one of the largest Holocaust archives in the world, kept in the town of Bad Arolsen. Many of the fifty million documents, 15 miles worth of paper, were seized by the Allies as they liberated concentration camps. About half of the collection has been copied in digital form to date, and relatives of survivors have been able to request information, but the underfunded (by the Germans) international consortium established to run the archives in 1955 has often taken years to respond to such requests. Today's announcement reverses a previous German position to restrict access to the archives on account of the sensitive personal information they contain regarding both both victims and perpetrators.