What Others Are Saying

May 23, 2007

Archived Nazi documents, about 30 million records, finally are available to institutions memorializing Holocaust victims.

Historians, along with Holocaust survivors and victims' descendants, have had to wait too long for the Nazi-era files stored at a former SS barracks in Bad Arolsen, Germany. They are original documents seized by Allied troops from death camps, wartime municipal records and other sources identifying 17.5 million victims of Nazi persecution and murder.

The archive, developed to help reunite families after World War II, is managed by the International Tracing Service, which has blocked public access because of the sensitive nature of the information. Until now, only survivors and victims' descendants could request data, and even then, they faced lengthy delays in receiving it.

These papers, detailing gassings, slave labor and death marches, should have been readily available to researchers years ago.

Fortunately, the service's 11-nation governing board finally is moving to open the records. The board voted last week to bypass the rule that all 11 nations ratify last year's amendment to the 1955 treaty before Holocaust museums could receive electronic copies of documents.

The digital transfers should allow Holocaust centers to integrate the records into their archives, but the museums can't allow access to researchers until the ratification of the amendment is complete. The U.S. delegation is pushing hard for ratification sometime this year.

Even though the brutality of the Holocaust is well-known, the reports compiled by the Nazis will provide a fuller picture of the arrest, imprisonment and murder of millions of Jews, Poles, Gypsies and others. The archive should be a treasure trove for researchers studying the Third Reich and its terrible crimes.

- The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch

If there's one lesson to be learned from the exit of World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, it's that the World Bank needs reform even more than do its Third World customers.

Mr. Wolfowitz focused much attention on the World Bank's clients, talking up poverty eradication and corruption control and forging ties with more reform-minded leaders on the African and Asian continents. These things all sound nice in the press, but they have little to do with banking.

In that, Mr. Wolfowitz was remarkably short on reforming how the bank itself works. It remains a bloated, entrenched bureaucracy defending its privileges in full mission-creep instead of becoming a vital institution.

This is important because the bank faces growing challenges from the private sector. If the World Bank can't compete, it needs a leader who will not only recognize that problem but also have the fortitude to do the one thing that would be required: Disband the World Bank altogether.

Unfortunately, Mr. Wolfowitz showed no signs of such leadership during his short tenure.

- Investor's Business Daily

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