Thursday, May 18, 2006
Fifty million files in a vast archive in the German town of Bad Arolsen will be opened for the first time to researchers according to an agreement on May 16, 2006. The decision was made by the 11-nation International Commission that oversees the archive. The panel has kept the archive locked away since World War II. The files are expected to be available by the end of the year.
An example of documents in the archive was shown to reporters in April. It was the the camps Totenbuch, or Death Book, for 1942 and 1943 at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. Three hundred prisoners were executed in just a few hours on April 20, 1942. The camp commandant did it as a birthday gift for Adolf Hitler.
On the same day, the Department of Defense released a video tape allegedly showing American Airlines Flight 77 striking the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Judicial Watch brought a lawsuit that resulted in the release. The legal action followed a 2004 Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch that was refused by the Pentagon. Judicial Watch, a self-described public interest foundation and legal watchdog, is an extreme right-wing group hoping to put Flight 77 conspiracy theories to rest. Are they joking?
At Nuremberg, General Franz Halder stated in an affidavit that Hermann Göring had joked about setting the Reichstag fire. The joke was heard at a lunch on April 20, 1942 Adolf Hitlers birthday.