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Potentially historic Nazi material to be released

A long-closed archive of Nazi concentration camp documents could be unsealed soon. On Thursday, Germany endorsed the exposure of these documents, giving an international agreement a majority among the 11-nations overseeing the historical documents, MSNBC.com reported.

According to the German Embassy in Washington, President Horst Koehler signed the ratification papers on April 13, adopting amendments to the 1955 treaties governing the archive.

The documents, which include 30 million to 50 million pages, are looked-over by the International Tracing Service. The collection of Nazi documents includes death books, transportation lists, camp registrations, forced labor registers and references to over 17.5 million names.

All 11 nations overseeing the documents must ratify the amendments before anything takes effect. Obviously, because of Germany’s place in history and because the documents are on German soil, Germany’s endorsement was crucial.

They are the sixth nation to ratify after the United States, Israel, Poland, the Netherlands and Britain. The remaining countries include Belgium, France, Italy, Greece and Luxembourg.

Survivors would be able to see their own files and historical researchers will be allowed new insights into the Nazi persecution if all 11 countries ratify the amendment.

After the war, the documents were handed to the Red Cross to help find missing persons and reunite families. It later was used to validate compensation claims by survivors or victims' relatives.

The Red Cross has handled more than 11 million requests for information, but has denied most claims due to the previous agreement.

Last week, the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution urging the remaining countries to quickly complete the legal steps.

As of Saturday, there was no other news source that reported on this issue.