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Friday, 28 January, 2000, 14:25 GMT
Call for access to Holocaust archives

auschwitz The memory of the Holocaust must be kept alive

By William Horsley in Stockholm

The three-day international forum on the Holocaust has ended with a commitment by all 46 countries attending to keep alive the memory of the genocide.

The Stockholm Declaration says the Holocaust must forever be remembered as an unprecedented horror which engulfed the Jewish people and caused terrible suffering among many millions of other victims of the Nazis.

The conference has given a fresh impetus to the hunt for suspected Nazi war criminals and to the demand for the German authorities to pay compensation for Holocaust survivors who have still not received any, 55 years after the end of World War II.

The declaration calls for the opening of wartime archives by governments and businesses to throw light on the remaining secrets of the Holocaust.

The host government, Sweden, has been praised for its example in apologising for its collaboration with Nazi Germany in the war and promising at last to investigate those responsible.

Slave labour

The German Government has pledged to use next week's talks in Washington on compensating survivors of wartime slave labour camps to settle the issue in a way that is fair to all claimants.

But there will now be increased pressure on many more German companies to reveal their part in the Nazi war effort and add to the $5bn fund that has been agreed.

The head of the US delegation, Stuart Eizenstat, appealed to Russia and the Vatican to open their books on the Nazi era to set the record straight and help settle remaining claims for stolen property.

Evils of neo-Nazism

Following intensive discussions at the conference, prosecutors from six countries, including the US and Britain, will go to Latvia to help launch prosecutions against several suspected war criminals in the Baltic states who have escaped punishment.

In the coming year, Germany is to co-ordinate many projects among politicians, historians and teachers to strengthen research and remembrance of the Holocaust and combat the evils of neo-Nazism, racism and ethnic cleansing.

Sweden's Prime Minister, Goran Persson, has accepted the proposal of the Holocaust survivor and writer, Elie Wiesel, to host another high level conference in Stockholm at this time next year.

It will follow up on this Holocaust forum and debate other issues of humanity and conscience.

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