Skip to comments.11-nation commission agrees to start transferring Nazi archive to Holocaust researchers
Posted on 05/15/2007 8:53:17 AM PDT by Calpernia
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands Diplomats from 11 countries agreed Tuesday to bypass legal obstacles and begin distributing electronic copies of documents from a secretive Nazi archive, making them available to Holocaust researchers for the first time in more than a half century.
The decision was meant to avoid further delays in allowing Holocaust survivors to find their own stories and family histories, and for historians to seek new insights into Europe's darkest period.
The countries governing the archive maintained by the International Tracing Service approved a plan to begin transferring scanned documents as soon as they are ready so that receiving institutions can begin preparing them for public use, said a delegate, requesting anonymity because a formal announcement was due later Tuesday.
The decision circumvents the requirement to withhold the documents until all 11 countries ratify the 2006 treaty amendments that enabled the unsealing of the documents. Ratification is still pending in four countries, and Tuesday's vote was likely to shave several months from the distribution timetable.
Until now, the files maintained in the central German town of Bad Arolsen have been used to track missing people, reunite families, and later to validate restitution claims. The Tracing Service is an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Three countries, the United States, France and Germany, pledged to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to offset costs for preparing and transmitting the papers, said the delegate.
But some U.S. survivors expressed dismay that the documents will remain restricted to a single place the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and that they won't have unfettered access.
I'm anxious, because 105 people from my immediate family did not make it. I am the only survivor, said David Schaecter, of Miami, Fla. How do I obtain what I am rightfully entitled to obtain (to know) what happened to these 105 people, he said.
The archive contains Nazi records on the arrest, transportation, incarceration, forced labor and deaths of millions of people from the year the Nazis built their first concentration camp in 1933 to the end of the war. It also has a vast collection of postwar records from displaced persons camps.
The name index refers to 17.5 million victims, and the documents fill 16 miles of shelves. But the archive is indexed according to names, making it difficult to use them for historical research.
Seized by the Allies from concentration camps and Nazi offices after of the war, the files were closed under a 1955 agreement to protect the privacy of survivors and the reputation of the dead who may have undergone humiliating medical experiments or been falsely accused of crimes.
Last year's amendments to the 1955 accords, reached after years of negotiation and resistance by several members, stipulated that some privacy guarantees remain. A single copy of the documents would be available for each of the 11 member states to be used on the premises of an appropriate archival repository.
Each government was expected to take into account the sensitivity of certain information the files may contain, the new agreement said.
In addition to the United States, Israel and France indicated they also would seek copies.
The seven countries that have ratified the treaty amendments are the United States, Israel, Poland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain. Endorsement was awaited from Luxembourg, Greece, Italy and France.
Long-Secret Archive of Nazi War Records to be Opened
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I’m going to add the reference category to this thread if I can get copies or info on the docs. I have a few contacts that will be researching them after the electronic transmission is complete.
But, this is 16 miles worth of file cabinets. (unbelievable)
They know what they are looking for though.
Wow. Is that 16 miles wide, or 16 miles worth of drawer space? :’) Like it matters, eh?!? :’D
It’s so much, that it’s probably just a reasonable estimate, iow, that it would take quite a while (days at least) just to measure it.
Over sixty tears, and we are still dealing with the sins of WWII.
Hopefully, this will finally be put to bed.
Copies of Nazi archives to be released to Holocaust institutions after 50 years under wraps
Copies of documents from a secretive Nazi archive, locked away in a quiet German town for more than 50 years, will be released to Holocaust institutions within a few months under an agreement reached Tuesday.
The documents will give historians an intimate view of the systematic slaughter of millions during the Holocaust, and will let survivors and victims families search for their own histories as recorded by their tormentors.
Israel to publish first list of Holocaust victims’ assets
The wandering Jewish archive
By Nir Hasson
Several months ago, the Jerusalem-based Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP) received a copy of the birth registry from the Russian town of Buguruslan. The registry revealed that Mordechai Olmert, a former Herut MK and the father of the current prime minister, was born there in May 1911. Another document contains a 1929 photograph of Mordechai Olmert, who was a member of the champion boxing league of the Jewish community in Harbin, China.
These are only two examples illustrating the scope of the archive’s collection. With more than 60 million documents, the CAHJP is the third-largest archive in Israel, after the Israel State Archives and the Zionist Archives.
The CAHJP documents Jewish community and family life in 50 nations, starting from the 12th century. Yet, despite the enormous importance of this collection and the fact that 2,000 researchers use the documents every year, the CAHJP has no permanent headquarters, its warehouses are scattered throughout Jerusalem, and its offices roam from place to place. Scanty government funding makes it difficult for the institution to acquire new documents, and exposes existing documents to possible ruin.
The archive was founded in Israel in the 1930s, with the archives of communities including Saint Petersburg, Kiev and Berlin. In 1940, Ben Tzion Dinor, who later became the minister of education, officially incorporated the archive. The Hebrew University allocated a room at the Mt. Scopus campus so the archive could begin collecting documents from other communities.
In 1944, the History Society of Israel accepted responsibility for the archive, and in 1969, the archive became the domain of a society established by the State of Israel, the Jewish Agency, the History Society, the Academy of Sciences, the Hebrew University, the Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University. Many European Jewish communities sent their documents to the CAHJP before the communities were destroyed in the Holocaust. When Jewish institutions in Danzig were shuttered in 1939, for instance, more than 2,000 documents were dispatched to Jerusalem. Moritz Stern, librarian of the Jewish community in Berlin, sent the community’s documents to the archive on the eve of the war.
“The archive belongs to the Jewish People, but in practice it belongs to no one, and that is precisely the problem,” says archive director Hadassah Assouline. Says the chairman, Professor Ya’akov Barnai: “The archive’s status is unstable and no official body is actually responsible for us.”
The archive receives minimal funding from the Ministry of Culture - NIS 1.28 million in 2006, a sum that did not even cover the salaries of the 11 employees. Its funding is not anchored in law, and the CAHJP thus must appeal to the ministry annually. Moreover, the ministry is not obligated to fund the archive if its own budget is cut.
The rest of the budget comes from private donations and grants. This dependence produces a state of affairs common to many Jewish cultural institutions: Many institutional and private donors are willing to contribute to specific projects but not to operational expenses, like salaries, municipal taxes, electricity and pest control.
Meanwhile, the archive’s ambiguous status forces it to wander from one location to another. The offices and central warehouse have moved six times in the past 60 years. A few months ago, the archive headquarters moved out of a Rehavia neighborhood monastery, across the street from the President’s Residence, to two aging, single-floor former dorms on the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus. Dr. Mor Altschuler, a former member of the archive’s board, calls the institution “The Wandering Jew.” Archive leaders are deeply grateful to the Hebrew University because, unlike other institutions involved in managing the archive, the university offered space and asked nothing in return.
The ravages of time
Budget limitations prevent the CAHJP from competing for valuable documents. “They used to offer things to me, but when they saw I wasn’t buying, they stopped coming. It’s a shame, because these things wind up in private hands and disappear,” Assouline says.
Unlike other Israeli archives, and despite these circumstances, the archive has managed to preserve the documents in its collection. But the management fears that given the meager preservation budget, rare documents will succumb to the ravages of time. “Some certificates are already in a poor state and there is no money to restore them,” Assouline says. Altschuler adds, “The archive was entrusted with the state, and the state has betrayed that trust.”
Archive leaders hope that the CAHJP will find a home in the new national library. The Yad Hanadiv Foundation has proposed funding the library, currently in preliminary stages of planning. CAHJP officials also hope that funding will be found to produce a computerized database of the archive’s collection, scan some of the documents, and display others to the public. (Researchers are now forced to rummage through files in drawers.)
Justice Department: One-time Nazi Unlikely to be Deported
13. In December 1942, approximately 101 Ukrainians entered service at Trawniki from villages in the Galicia District, most from the administrative district of Brzeóany, which included Kurass hometown of Herbutów. The men who entered service on December 11, 1942 were assigned identification numbers in the range of 2933 to 2962.
14. Kurass identification number was 2958.
The Holocaust archive of the Vienna Jewish community will be unveiled Thursday at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
The archive, one of the Holocaust’s most detailed, was discovered by the Vienna Jewish Community in 2000. It includes about a half-million pages of material detailing efforts by Jews to leave the country in the 1930s and records of their deportations to concentration camps.
Among the records are the names of 118,000 Jews from families that were seeking to emigrate from Austria from 1938 to 1939, according to a June 2 report in The New York Times.
The archive is expected to be especially helpful to those seeking to verify the fate of their relatives. Some 65,000 Austrian Jews were murdered by the Nazis, including about one-third of the Viennese Jewish Community...
I’m not too sure he will be able to do too much more market manipulation :)
German fund done paying laborers
Russia declassifies military archives dating back to 1941-1945
Holocaust survivor gets extraordinary look at experimental vials
By Dave Taylor
Special to the Tribune-Star
EDITORS NOTE: ISUs Dave Taylor is traveling with Terre Haute resident Eva Kor, a Holocaust survivor, as she leads a group of people touring the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp complex in Poland. Lorna Reeley, a nurse from Danville., Ill., is part of the group and took the photos that accompany this story.
In a surreal moment, Holocaust survivor Eva Kor on Thursday held in her hand a vial of liquid used in human experiments at Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
Kors twin sister, Miriam Zeiger, died from bladder cancer in 1993, and Kor believes experiments performed by Dr. Josef Mengele contributed to her death. For decades, she has sought additional information about the experiments.
She had become aware of the existence of at least one such vial in recent years.
However, Kor was surprised to learn during a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum that there are seven vials in the museums collection and all appear to be full.
We know that this preparation was used for tests on prisoners, said Igor Bartosik, a researcher in the museum archives at Auschwitz.
However, Bartosik does not know whether Mengele himself used the substance, or whether it was used only on twins. The vials are labeled BE 1034 and bear the name Bayer/IG Farber Industries.
There have been reports BE 1034 was used to treat twins who had been intentionally injected with a contagious virus. However, Bartosik said the liquid has never been tested to determine its contents. He also said he could not confirm whether Mengele himself used the preparation.
He noted the seven vials, kept in a small cardboard box, are among approximately 100,000 items housed in the archives collection.
The whole idea that I am sitting here and looking at the original vials that might have been used is unbelievable. Its extraordinary that you permitted me the privilege of seeing these vials and even picking them up and looking at them. I am very grateful and I think you have done a tremendous deed for me, Kor said to Bartosik.
She said she will make a formal request for the museum to have the contents of the vials analyzed at Jagiellonian University in nearby Krakow.
At age 10, Kor and Zeiger (the Mozes twins) were among those who underwent experiments performed by Mengele at Auschwitz during their nine-month stay at nearby Birkenau prior to the camps liberation. Fewer than 200 twins survived at Birkenau before liberation of the camp by the Soviet Army in 1945.
The vials housed at Auschwitz were taken into Soviet custody. It is unclear when they were returned to Auschwitz.
The visit to the archives at Auschwitz was part of a weeklong journey in which Kor was accompanied by 15 K-12 teachers from Indiana and Illinois who are seeking a better understanding of the Holocaust. Two Indiana State University professors who will help develop Holocaust curriculum are also on the trip.
While additional information about the experiments at Auschwitz will come too late to help Zeiger, children of the so-called Mengele twins are concerned about the potential impact of the experiments on their own lives.
My aunt died of cancer and 20 years ago I had cancer. Is there a connection? asked Alex Kor, 46.
Educators accompanying the Kors say they share their hope the discovery of full vials of liquid used in the testing will lead to answers.
This could be a gold mine of information perhaps, said Jim Kendall, a history teacher at Booker T. Washington High School in Terre Haute.
Also on Thursday, Piotr Setkiewicz, head of the Auschwitz-Birkenau archives, supplied copies of hundreds of pages of documents related to the Mozes twins stay at Birkenau. Family members say those documents need to be translated before their value can be determined.
Robert Fisk: Disgraced UN chief and Nazi war criminal Waldheim, dies aged 88
Second World War MI5 documents revealed
(snip) surveillance against the National Lawyers Guild, an organization founded in 1937 and long associated with the labor movement and liberal causes.
As Colin Moynihan reports in The Times, the F.B.I. turned over copies of some 400,000 pages from its files on the group under a 1977 lawsuit. In 1997, the copies were donated by the guilds lawyers to the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University with the understanding that they could be made available to the public this year.
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