Auschwitz trial files classed UNESCO her­itage

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

DOC­U­MENTS from the post-war Auschwitz trial have been classed as part of the UNESCO “Mem­ory of the World Reg­is­ter,” un­der­lin­ing their sig­nif­i­cance as “com­mon her­itage of hu­man­ity,” Ger­many’s foreign min­is­ter said Wed­nes­day.

The 1963-1965 tri­als of 22 Nazi of­fi­cials who ran the Auschwitz death camp marked a turn­ing point when Ger­mans faced up to their role in the Holo­caust.

Un­like the bet­ter known 1945-1946 Nurem­berg tri­als where judges from the Al­lied pow­ers presided over the hear­ings of top Nazis, the Frank­furt trial was the first in which Ger­mans pros­e­cuted Ger­mans.

In 183 days of hear­ings, the trial “paved the way for an en­tire so­ci­ety to take a crit­i­cal look in the mir­ror at the role of Ger­mans as cit­i­zens, par­tic­i­pants, fol­low­ers and crim­i­nals,” said Foreign Min­is­ter Heiko Maas.

Clas­si­fy­ing the court ma­te­rial from the Auschwitz trial in an in­ter­na­tional reg­is­ter is an “in­sur­ance against for­get­ting,” said Hesse science and arts min­is­ter Boris Rhein, in re­marks car­ried by na­tional news agency dpa.

The doc­u­ments are “an im­por­tant el­e­ment in the fight against on­go­ing de­nial and rel­a­tiviz­ing of Nazi vi­o­la­tions,” added Maas.

The ma­te­rial classed in the in­ter­na­tional reg­is­ter in­cludes 454 vol­umes of files stored at the Hesse State Ar­chives.

They con­tain 430 hours of record­ings of the tes­ti­monies of 319 wit­nesses - in­clud­ing 181 sur­vivors of the Auschwitz-Birke­nau camp and 80 mem­bers of the camp staff, the SS, and the po­lice - on 103 tapes, ac­cord­ing to the UNESCO web­site.

Maas also un­der­lined the role played by for­mer pros­e­cu­tor Fritz Bauer, one of Ger­many’s fiercest Nazi hunters.

He fought against a con­spir­acy of si­lence on the Holo­caust at a time when many Nazis still oc­cu­pied prominent roles in the jus­tice ser­vice.

Bauer in 1957 handed to Is­rael’s Mos­sad se­cret ser­vice in­for­ma­tion that led to the ar­rest of fugi­tive top Nazi Adolf Eich­mann, who was later con­victed and hanged in Is­rael.

Some 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple, most of them Euro­pean Jews, per­ished be­tween 1940 and 1945 in the AuschwitzBirke­nau camp be­fore it was lib­er­ated by Soviet forces.

De­fen­dants with their lawyers and po­lice­men dur­ing the first Auschwitz trial at the ple­nary hall of the city coun­cil in Frank­furt am Main in 1963.

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