Auschwitz trial documents added to UNESCO world memory register

Documents from the Auschwitz trial have been added to the UNESCO “Memory of the World Register”, marking their importance as “common heritage of humanity”, The Local reports.

The trial of 22 Nazi officials who ran the death camp, which lasted from 1963-65 in Frankfurt, was the first in which Germans prosecuted Germans after the Second World War.

The country’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said the trial “paved the way for an entire society to take a critical look in the mirror at the role of Germans as citizens, participants, followers and criminals.”

He added that the documents were “an important element in the fight against ongoing denial and relativizing of Nazi violations.”

The material comprises 454 volumes of files, housed at the Hesse State Archives.

These contain 430 hours of recordings of the testimonies of 319 people, among them 181 survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau and 80 from the camp staff as well as the SS and police.

Mr Maas also highlighted the tenacity of prosecutor Fritz Bauer, who faced a conspiracy of silence on the Holocaust at a time when numerous Nazis still held positions of power in the justice service.

In 1957 he gave Israel’s Mossad service information that led to the capture and arrest of Adolf Eichmann — one of the architects of the Holocaust — who was later convicted and hanged in Israel.

About 1.1 million people were murdered at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp between 1940 and 1945 before its liberation by Soviet forces.