Wed Apr 19th, 2006 at 08:46:57 PM EST
On Tuesday in a press conference during her visit to the US, the German Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries announced the intention of Germany to unveil the secret around the Holocaust files that have been in storage in Bad Arolsen for more than sixty years. There are hardly two different opinions about the importance of the information that is going to be unleashed.
After sixty years the German nation finally allows the world to look in depth at its darkest period of history. The completely intentional extermination of more than 17 million people in the concentration camps is a burden that the German nation does not allow itself neither to forget nor to deny, for those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. The sensitivity of the issue, namely the abundance of the uneasy and embarrassing personal details which the data would eventually reveal has prevented so far any German government to let out of control the records.
Why is that being done at this moment in time? The real answer to the question can only be guessed. For many years now, there have been strong lobbying either from victims' associations, historians, museum staff, and private individuals, in addition countries like the US, Britain, Israel, and Poland also expressed their desire to open the files. Nevertheless, Germany continued to use its privacy considerations as a shield against them.
What may seem a more concrete incentive, though, urging the change of Germany's position, if I may conclude so, appeared on February, in one of the New York Times articles. It accused the Germans of not really recognizing and accepting their past. The claims of course were rebuffed and again the explanation was the protection of the privacy of those who are still alive. Even so, only two months from the publication of the article the government decides to break its "protective" pattern. It is hard to say if it was out of fear of the criticism the general public may express, ascribing an everlasting "bad guy" label or the German desire once and for all to demonstrate before the world how much more altruistic it has grown up to be, got the upper hand. Or else, the explanation may be just a minor technical detail which exempts the legal obligation Germany would otherwise bear for revealing the information, because deadline for bringing lawsuit of international class action has passed.
Putting aside the German cooperation, what is now left depends on ten other countries, upon which unanimous vote plus that of Germany (the states beside the aforementioned are: Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) family members and historians are to be granted the access to the documents. The significance:
"We will definitely be able to learn more about individual cases," Jost told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Whether it will lead to a completely different view of the Holocaust, I don't know about that. History will definitely not have to be rewritten."
In fact, many are hoping it does just the opposite. Citing rising anti-Semitism, US Holocaust Museum Director Sarah Bloomfield said the possible opening of the archive couldn't be more timely. Historian Frederick Taylor, the British author of "Dresden: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1945" who is currently working on a new book on the Berlin Wall, says the material held in the archive will not only make it possible for "the millions of individual tragedies that made up the Holocaust to be properly and respectfully recorded," but may also put a damper on the widespread virus of Holocaust denial.
Following that line of thoughts may be the time has also come for the US and in particular the CIA to declassify
those hundreds of thousands documented pages that speak about the relationship between the administration and its efforts to recruit Nazi war criminals in order to get access to information that would have given it an advantage against the Soviet Union.
Shaking off the past burden is what the German nation has tried to do for more that fifty years, now. Where that is going to take it, only the future will show.
What I would like to do is to ask the ET if it supports the reveling of the holocaust files and what would happen if a piece of that information is within the procession of one of its members, would s/he post it on the blog or not?