US panel calls for opening secret Nazi archives

A US congressional committee approved a resolution Tuesday calling for expediting the opening of millions of Nazi files on concentrations camps and their victims. Earlier this month, an 11-nation body overseeing the long-secret archive set procedures to open the war records stored in Bad Arolsen, Germany by the end of the year. But before the material can be accessed, all the member countries must ratify an agreement adopted last year to end the 60-year ban on using the files for research. The resolution approved by the US Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives calls on the member countries who have not yet ratified to do so quickly. Israel, the United States, Poland and the Netherlands have completed ratification. Scholars say the Bad Arolsen files will fill in gaps in history and provide a unique perspective gained from seeing original Nazi letters, the minutiae of the concentration camps' structures, slave labor records and uncounted testimonies of victims and ordinary Germans who witnessed the brutality of the Gestapo.