Mere mortals are forbidden access to these locked-up records. Some Holocaust victims have waited for decades on a waiting list to receive information.
Last summer, genealogists and scholars were happy to hear that the commission, with representatives of 11 member nations, had agreed to make digital copies of records available; some digitization is underway, and the Swiss director who had blocked international efforts to open the archive was fired.
Sixty-two years after the end of the Second World War, how can there not be a sense of urgency about making record public, asks writer Anne Applebaum in a Washington Post article. "In whose interest can it possibly be to keep Holocaust archives closed?"
And "urgency" is the right word: Hundreds of thousands of people are still waiting to see documents, and more of them die every day. If discussions go the right way this week, digital copies of documents could be available for some of them to read, in their own countries, later this year. If not, they may never see them at all.
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