Germany to open Nazi files to researchers

The accord was reached in April by the 11-nation governing body of the International Tracing Service, the arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross that oversees the archive in the German town of Bad Arolsen.

Deputy Foreign Minister Guenter Gloser will formally sign the protocol in the presence of representatives of the other 10 nations at a ceremony in Berlin, the ministry said Monday.

The change respects the "strong interest of current research" in opening the archive, it said in a statement. "The signing also underlines the high value that the government places on dealing with the past."

Once signed, the protocol needs to be ratified by all 11 signatory states before the archives can be opened.

Aging Holocaust survivors and victims' families had pressed for the change, arguing that the histories of their loved ones could otherwise be lost, the AP reports.

Germany had said that access to the files by Holocaust researchers would violate its privacy laws, but dropped its objection earlier this year.

Under a 1955 treaty, information is currently only given out to former victims. A third party can only access the archives with the written consent of a former victim.