Diplomats agree to open Nazi archive

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AMSTERDAM -- Diplomats from 11 countries agreed Tuesday to bypass legal obstacles and begin distributing electronic copies of documents from a secretive Nazi archive, making them available to Holocaust researchers for the first time in more than a half century.

The decision was meant to avoid further delays in allowing Holocaust survivors to find their own stories and family histories, and for historians to seek new insights into Europe's darkest period.

The countries governing the archive maintained by the International Tracing Service approved a plan to begin transferring scanned documents as soon as they are ready so that receiving institutions can begin preparing them for public use, said a delegate, requesting anonymity because a formal announcement was due later Tuesday.

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