BAD AROLSEN, Germany - The world's largest archive of Nazi-era documents announced Wednesday it would open its files to the public as soon as it received political approval.
"We are awaiting the green light from the politicians," said Maria Raabe, a spokeswoman for the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross in the German town of Bad Arolsen.
The center has more than 30 million documents containing details of Holocaust victims, Nazi crimes and letters from concentration camp inmates.
A U.S. lower-house panel Tuesday urged nations overseeing the archive to open it to public access, saying they could help counter Holocaust deniers such as Iranian President Mohammed Ahmadinejad.
Raabe said the ITS could open up the files "almost immediately," but first needed approval of all 11 countries overseeing the archive's administration.
Of the 11, only Israel, the United States, Poland and the Netherlands have ratified changes in a 1955 treaty that banned the use of files for research.
Germany's upper house, or Bundesrat, and the parliaments of Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Greece, Britain and Italy still need to ratify the accord.
Scholars say the records on concentration camps and their victims will fill gaps in history, in part because the archive has testimony of victims and ordinary Germans who witnessed Nazi brutality.
In view of "Ahmadinejad's anti-Semitic rhetoric, and a resurgence of anti-Semitism in part of the world, the opening of the archives at Bad Arolsen could not be more urgent," the American panel said.
The archive's 11-nation steering body meets in May, and the committee urged members to agree to open the records at that meeting if any ratifications are still pending.
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