Release of Nazi concentration camp files awaits panel's OK

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AMSTERDAM -- Concentration camp and incarceration records would be the first Nazi documents released under a just-completed plan to make millions of files stored in Germany accessible to Holocaust researchers, the archive director said Thursday.

The 11 nations overseeing the huge archive must still ratify the plan approved by technical experts at a three-day meeting in Bad Arolsen, Germany. The plan is a critical step toward opening files maintained by the International Tracing Service, an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Holocaust survivors and researchers have waited decades to see information buried in the gray metal cabinets and shelves stored in six nondescript buildings in the small German spa town. Many of the documents are yellowed and fragile.

Among the records meticulously kept by the Nazis are transport documents and death lists, and notes on concentration camp inmates ranging from their hereditary diseases to the number of lice plucked from their heads.

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