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Urging All Member Countries of the International Commission of the International Tracing Service to Expedite Ratification Process

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Location: Washington, DC


URGING ALL MEMBER COUNTRIES OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL TRACING SERVICE TO EXPEDITE RATIFICATION PROCESS

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Mr. KIRK. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida, and it has been a great partnership.

I rise in support of H. Res. 240, calling on the European nations to grant open access to the Holocaust archives in Bad Arolsen, Germany.

To date, the United States and Israel, Poland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, even Germany, ratified the amendments to the Bonn Accords, amendments which would finally give survivors real-time digital access to millions of Nazi records, and provide researchers access to all of the archives.

But for some reason, France and Italy, Greece, Belgium and Luxembourg are dragging their feet. One year after agreeing to these amendments, these five European nations remain silent on ratification. Mr. Speaker, silence on this issue is unacceptable and reprehensible.

We stand at a crossroads of history, at a time when Iran, a member of the United Nations, sponsors official conferences to deny the Holocaust, we need to act here. At a time when the President of Iran calls for the murder of another 6 million Jews, we need to act on this issue. At a time of resurgence of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial throughout Europe and the Middle East, this is the time to act.

Sixty years ago the United States Army, when we liberated the camps, we made a solemn promise of ``never again.'' And today, as President Ahmadinejad says he wants to, quote, wipe Israel off the map, we must say clearly to Europe, open these archives now to show the world that we stand behind this pledge.

I want to thank my longtime friend, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings), for giving me the privilege of working with him on this issue. I also want to thank Chairman Lantos and Ranking Member ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN and the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Wexler) for their work.

I also want to thank Richard Goldberg, of my staff, and Eve Lieberman from Chairman Hastings' staff and Kay King from Chairman Lantos' staff for this, as well as action by outside experts, Paul Shapiro at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, Rick Hirshaut at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, Rabbi Alan Cooper at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Lonnie Nasatir at the Anti-Defamation League, and Jay Tcath of the Chicago Jewish Federation, who have all come together on an overwhelmingly bipartisan issue to send a clear message, open the archives. Make sure the message goes forth that the Holocaust deniers and especially the Iranian Government are wrong. We need to open the record, set it straight and make sure that the record is clear, especially to the survivors that are still among us.

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