MALONEY LEGISLATION SHEDS LIGHT ON HOLOCAUST HISTORY
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) released 20 of 100 CIA "Name" files of key Nazis declassified under Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney's (D-NY) legislation, the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act.
After reading reports in 1994 that the U.S. government was refusing to disclose 40 year old records on known-Nazi and U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, Rep. Maloney started a seven year crusade to declassify U.S. intelligence agency documents on the Holocaust and our post-war interactions with former Nazis. Rep. Maloney originally introduced War Crimes Disclosure Act, HR 4955, on August 12, 1994. The Congresswoman authored and eventually passed in 1998 The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, H.R. 4007. Most recently, Mrs. Maloney introduced H.R. 5065, The Nazi and Japanese War Crimes Disclosure Act. This bill extends the original Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act by two years, for a total of five years. This bill was incorporated into the Intelligence Authorization Bill for FY01 and was signed into law by President Clinton on December 27, 2000.
At an event held today at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to announce the declassification of the CIA files, Congresswoman Maloney delivered the following remarks:
April 26, 2001
I am both honored and proud to be here today at this historic event which begins the disclosure of Intelligence Files never before released by the CIA. I would like to thank the Interagency Working Group for their work and dedication, the United States Holocaust Museum and my dear colleagues, Senator DeWine, who played an important role in helping me pass the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, and Congressman Horn, who could not be with us today but who also helped to pass this important legislation.
I can't tell you how proud I am to see on some of these documents a big, rubber stamp that says "Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act 2000."
I would also like to thank my dear friend and former Congresswoman Liz Holtzman, and other public members of the IWG, Tom Baer and Richard Ben-Veniste. Finally, I'd like to thank Professor Richard Breitman for his incredibly, thorough diligence and determination.
As many of you may know, for over seven years now, I have been on a crusade to reveal the contents of these files. It began when the world was shocked to discover that Kurt Waldheim, one-time U.N. Secretary General, was a Nazi. The critical question that followed was how much information did the U.S. government have about Waldheim during the War and before he became head of the U.N.? And why wouldn't they reveal it? I set out on a campaign to reveal these secret records, and finally passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act in order to do just that.
Now, over 3 million pages of U.S. Intelligence documents are organized and available to the public through the National Archives. Researchers, private citizens, in fact anyone who is interested, are now able to comb through the documents that will bring us closer to the truth of the Holocaust. If opening access to these documents helps us to resolve even some of the unanswered questions surrounding the Holocaust, then this effort will have made an invaluable contribution to history. Many people thought that Heinrich Mueller was alive. Apparently, these documents state that this was not the case.
In today's world, our government faces enormous pressure, not only from our own agencies but also from foreign intelligence agencies to keep all records out of the public realm. As a result of this disclosure, we are now discovering what we did and didn't know - apparently we didn't know much about Waldheim - after all. But now we are bringing the truth to the public which they undoubtedly deserve to know. In the end, disclosure of these files is better for our intelligence agencies and better for history.
Like you, I look forward to hearing from the historians today and for years to come as they reveal information which will further explain our government's knowledge about Nazi war criminals, their whereabouts, and their actions during and after the War.
The best chapters of our past provide a model for great democracy and leadership, while our worst chapters show us the dark consequences of apathy and intolerance. As our past becomes more clear today, we will be in a better position to say with confidence "never again."