Nazi Archive to Transfer Records to Jerusalem and Washington


This article from the Associated Press was written by Arthur Max.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands —
Holocaust survivors move closer this week to being able to find a paper trail of their own persecution when the keepers of a Nazi archive deliver copies of Gestapo papers and concentration camp records to museums in Washington and Jerusalem.

For a survivor, it could be discovering one’s name on a list of deportees crammed into a cattle car; a record of a fiendish medical experiment from which physical or mental scars remain; an innocuous-looking ”behavior report” condemning the inmate to further tortures; or an order from the Gestapo, the secret police, to liquidate a camp, signaling the start of a ”death march” in the closing days of World War II.

But it will be months before the archive can be used by survivors or victims’ relatives to search family histories. Even after it opens to the public, navigating the vast files for specific names will be nearly impossible without a trained guide.

This week, the director of the International Tracing Service, custodian of the unique collection that has been locked away for a half century in Germany, is transferring six computer hard drives bearing electronic images of 20 million pages to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Copies will go to the Yad Vashem Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem.

it is the first tranche of digital copies from one of the world’s largest Nazi archives, withthe final documents scheduled to be copied and delivered by early 2009.

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