Friday, October 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Holocaust Museum opens UN archive on WWII crimes

By
From page A7 | July 18, 2014 |

UN War Crimes Archive

FILE - This Feb. 23, 2012, file photo shows a section of the 184 reels of microfilm of transferred documents of World War II criminals, which are kept in a locked room in a building near the U.N. complex in New York. A largely unknown archive documenting thousands of cases against World War II criminals, from Hitler to many average participants in the Holocaust who were never brought to trial, are being made public and unrestricted for the first time at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington after being locked away for decades at the United Nations. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

WASHINGTON — From Adolf Hitler down to the petty bureaucrats who staffed the Nazi death camps, thousands of perpetrators of World War II war crimes were eventually written up in vast reams of investigative files — files that now, for the first time, can be viewed in their entirety by the public.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington has obtained a full copy of the U.N. War Crimes Commission archive that has largely been locked away for the past 70 years under restricted access at the United Nations. On Thursday, the museum announced it has made the entire digital archive freely available to visitors in its research room.

Although information in the documents has long been known to investigators and historians, the public was kept out. Even researchers at the U.N. must petition for access through their governments.

Many of those named in the archive were never held accountable.

In addition to the allegations of mass murder against Hitler and his high-level henchmen, the files list thousands of obscure but no less horrendous cases from across Europe and Asia. There is Franz Angerer, a member of the Gestapo, accused of rounding up inmates in Sosnowiec, Poland, to send to Auschwitz.

Helmut Steinmetz in Warsaw, Poland, was accused of murdering a crippled Jewish man he met on the street, as well as killing a railroad porter with a stick for refusing to carry his luggage.

And Elimar Luder Precht, who served as chief dentist at several concentration camps, was accused of selecting Auschwitz inmates for execution based on whether they had gold or platinum teeth that could be forcibly taken.

The vast collection includes about 500,000 digitized microfilm images with more than 10,000 case files in multiple languages from Europe and Asia on people identified as war criminals. There are also meeting minutes, trial transcripts and 37,000 names listed in a central registry of war criminals and suspects. Some files have lists of personnel at concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Ravensbruck.

While some case files are brief, others are more extensive collections of charging documents, witness statements, correspondence and commission reports. The evidence was submitted by 17 member nations for evaluation to try to assure that war criminals would be arrested and tried, but the war crimes commission was shut down in 1948.

Paul Shapiro, director of the museum’s Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, noted that Cold War politics prevented many war crimes suspects from being prosecuted.

“Most Holocaust perpetrators were never held accountable before the law,” he said. “Many of them were recruited by various governments for work during the Cold War. I don’t want to say only by Western governments, because Soviets also recruited scientists and others.”

Making the records public fosters a degree of belated accountability, he said.

“By enabling people today to study and educate based on records like those of the U.N. War Crimes Commission, we can at least hold those people who committed such atrocities … to account before history,” Shapiro said. “They’re not alive anymore, but what they did shouldn’t be forgotten. We need to learn from what happened in that era.”

For decades, the archive was largely forgotten. In 1987, researchers and historians were granted limited access, but names of witnesses and suspects not convicted of war crimes were kept off limits. Prosecutors and historians with the U.S. Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit have used the archive for investigations, as have others in an on-and-off effort to hold Holocaust perpetrators accountable.

The Associated Press reviewed some of the newly accessible records, including a few with links to modern-day denials of responsibility for the Holocaust.

They include charges of mass killings by former Hungarian autocrat Miklos Horthy, who today is being memorialized with statues in Hungary amid rising anti-Semitism.

Horthy, the longtime Hungarian leader, was cited as a head of state in a charging document for leading an unprovoked attack against Yugoslavia in 1941 while Hungary was allied with the Nazis, leading to “massacres, murders and torture.” The charging document from Yugoslavia says Horthy was specifically notified of atrocities by a Hungarian lawmaker in 1942, but the incidents continued.

“The Hungarian authorities at once began to send masses of the Serbian population and Jews to concentration camps,” according to the account. “In April 1944, Jews from this region of Yugoslavia were rounded up and handed over to the German Gestapo and SS troops. The great majority of these Jews died or were killed at the death camps.”

A separate, more extensive charge file from Yugoslavia accused Hungarian leaders of massacring Serbians and Jews in Novi-Sad and other areas of the Balkans. In the Novi-Sad case in January 1942, the document described how a committee of Hungarians and Germans drew up lists to decide which Serbians and Jews should be killed. Those sentenced to death were lined up in groups of 100 to 150 people along the Danube River, stripped of their clothes in cold temperatures and executed with rifles or bayonets.

“Among the victims were a great number of children, even babies, whose mothers held them firmly to their breasts in the hope of protecting them from death and from the cold,” the charging document stated. “It was a scene of horror, ringing with the screams of the mothers and the victims.”

Museum officials said the Hungarian files demonstrate the widespread nature of the Holocaust.

“There is this normal reflex of an average human being who knows something about the Holocaust to think immediately about Germany and about death camps from occupied Poland … when in fact this was a European-wide slaughter in which many, many administrations participated,” said Radu Ioanid, director of the museum’s international archival program that is working to build the most comprehensive collection of Holocaust perpetrator records.

There are also charges against Kurt Waldheim who served in the German army in World War II and went on to become secretary-general of the U.N. in the 1970s. Due to the secrecy surrounding the U.N. war crime records, Waldheim’s Nazi connection wasn’t discovered until his campaign for president of Austria, where he was elected and served from 1986 to 1992.

The accusations were never proven. Waldheim was never taken to trial and he denied any wrongdoing.

The U.S. had no jurisdiction to indict Waldheim but banned him from traveling to the United States, based in part on his documented Nazi connection and a probe that took investigators to Austria, Belgrade and elsewhere.

The archive contains detailed accusations against Hitler and other Nazi leaders.

In the files, Hitler is cited for “murder and mass murder in concentration camps,” ”looting and confiscation of property,” and “torture of civilians” among other offenses. In 1987, Israeli officials studying the records said they found evidence Hitler had personally ordered the deaths of more than 10,000 Jewish women and children in a Latvian village, calling it the first evidence that shows Hitler’s direct participation in the extermination of Jews.

Such files could serve as a starting point for further research in other collections on such perpetrators, historians said.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
‘The Rocky Horror Show’ finds a home on stage

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

For sale: Solano home with Nike missile bunkers

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Salvation Army debuts giant kettle for holidays campaign

By Robinson Kuntz | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Suisun City police log: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

New survey details vast scope of teen dating abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Boosters seek to keep Bay Bridge light display

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Brown opens up spending in campaign’s final month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Driver attacked after ice cream truck kills boy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 8 Comments | Gallery

$50,000 reward to find killer of Anaheim girl, 9

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Video shows bikers taunting California officer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

California man guilty in wife’s stabbing death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
US tech firm fined for underpaying Indian workers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Suspect in girl’s 1984 killing was police employee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
PTSD argued in case of Marine jailed in Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 7 Comments | Gallery

Paintings in national parks spark probe, furor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
For teen with passport, Syria trip can be seamless

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Border deaths drop to 15-year low

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 3 Comments

 
Prisoner in Afghanistan to be tried in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

US, SKorea agree to delay wartime control transfer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US officials: Iraqi army regrouping slowly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Gary killings put spotlight on abandoned buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Lawmakers seek to end benefits to former Nazis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

NK experts: US must apologize to free detainees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ebola: A crash course in fear and how it hurts us

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 4 Comments

Cremation fears leave empty Ebola beds in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Ex-Mountie hero of shooting at Canada’s Parliament

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Canada gunman wanted a passport to go to Mideast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NYC mayor: Don’t be alarmed by doctor’s Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

NY doctor back from Guinea has Ebola, 1st in city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

Opinion

 
Planning Commission not listening to the people

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 14 Comments

Not sure I trust government on Ebola

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

 
Is America prepared for Ebola or is threat overhyped?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Oct. 24-30, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: ‘John Wick’ delivers non-stop action

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Entertainment calendar Oct. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Burns’ series gives PBS a ratings milestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Q&A: Mick Jagger, the film producer, heads to work

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

 
At 1-all, World Series moves to quirky Giants park

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Giants’ Hudson to face Royals’ Guthrie in Game 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
College notebook: Cordes chosen to try out for USA national team

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Homecoming still on but no game for VCS

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

 
Compton among PGA leaders at Sea Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Steve Nash ruled out for season with back injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Judge questions $75M NCAA concussion settlement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Arizona men near-unanimous pick by media to win Pac-12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Raiders may lose Woodley to biceps injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

No. 6 Oregon looks to extend streak against Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
The Write Way: KC coach’s lineup cards are artful

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Prep football capsules: Week 8

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
Manning, Sanders lead Broncos past Chargers, 35-21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

Honda Fit becomes even more intriguing small car

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Letting your car find a spot and park itself

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2, 1 Comment | Gallery

Zuckerberg speaks Chinese, Beijing students cheer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

A blue Christmas for Amazon?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9