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Urging All Member Countries Of The International Commission Of The International Tracing Service To Expedite Ratification Process

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC


URGING ALL MEMBER COUNTRIES OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL TRACING SERVICE TO EXPEDITE RATIFICATION PROCESS -- (House of Representatives - April 25, 2007)

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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 240, the resolution calling on our colleagues in other nations to ratify the agreement opening the Bad Arolsen archives. I was proud to cosponsor this resolution but I am saddened that it is necessary to remind some of our closest allies what is at stake here.

The Bad Arolsen archives represent over 17 million people records related to the Holocaust and post-World War II displacement. Survivors of this tumultuous time want nothing more than to find evidence of what happened to their loved ones. We are all too aware that members of this generation are dying each day and that time is of the essence.

While survivors are able to make a request for records, the current system is both backlogged and poorly managed. Over 500,000 requests are unfulfilled and there are demonstrated cases where survivors have been incorrectly advised that there are no records concerning them.

Today, we call on the legislatures of the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, and France to live up to their promises to swiftly approve the changes necessary to open the archive. How many more survivors need to pass away before the bureaucratic red tape is cleared away?

Now is the time to provide answers that survivors have been seeking for over 60 years. Now is the time to provide some measure of comfort to those who were terrorized by the systematic violence of the Nazis and the chaos of the war to end their reign.

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