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Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
March 12, 2008


(Washington, D.C.) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe, lauded the passage of H.Res.854. The resolution expresses gratitude to all of the member states of the International Commission of the International Tracing Service (ITS) for ratifying the May 2006 Agreement to amend the 1955 Bonn Accords granting open access to vast Holocaust and other World War II related archives located in Bad Arolsen, Germany.

In December, Chairman Hastings introduced H.Res.854 with Representatives Robert Wexler, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Mark S. Kirk (R-IL). (Please find a copy of the resolution HERE)

“The passage of this legislation and the opening of the Holocaust archives is an historic occasion that I hope will help to provide closure on one of the darkest times in history. Opening these archives has been an issue of enormous importance to me and while I am pleased with the outcome, it is unfortunate that it has taken over 62 years to achieve,” said Chairman Hastings. “I thank my colleagues for their support on such an important resolution, which will allow Holocaust survivors and the public at large access to these critically important documents. In our world today, filled with growing international intolerance including anti-Semitism, it could not be more critical for these Holocaust archives to be opened.”

“Many Holocaust survivors have died without knowing the details of a family member’s deportation, incarceration, or death,” said Congressman Wexler. “The opening of the Bad Arolsen archives now allows survivors and their heirs to gain access to vital information about their family history. The ability for survivors and their families to access over 50 million documents chronicling the fate of over 17 million Holocaust victims is an important step in bringing closure to this painful chapter of history.” 

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.
Media Contact: Lale Mamaux
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