Giuliana Bullard, 703-532-1477
Susan Cooper, 301-713-6000
COLLEGE PARK, MD, May 23 -- Dr. Michael Kurtz, Assistant Archivist at the National Archives and Chair of the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), announced today that the IWG will take steps toward the declassification of records related to Japanese war crimes. With this move, the IWG begins the second phase of implementation of the Nazi War Crime Disclosure Act of 1998, which requires that records related to war crimes committed by "any government which was an ally of the Nazi government of Germany," be identified, declassified, and made available to the public.
Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group Plans
Steps Toward Declassification of Japanese War Crimes Records
For the past year, the IWG focused attention on classified Federal records relating to Nazi war criminals, war crimes, persecution, and looting. Its efforts to date have resulted in the declassification of some 1.5 million pages, mostly related to Europe. Early on in its deliberations and in consultation with Congress, the IWG established that its mandate would require an examination of records related to Japanese war crimes, Japanese war criminals, persecution, and looting.
Former Member of Congress Elizabeth Holtzman, one of the three public members appointed to the group by the President, said: "The disclosure of records related to Japanese war crimes was included as part of our original mandate. The IWG voted early on that it should be included and it will be included. I hope that Congress gives us the resources to do that job."
This broadening of the IWG's scope is a major initiative requiring the coordination of a massive screening of records held by Federal agencies. Dr. Kurtz said, "This is an important undertaking that builds upon the group's previous work and helps to address the growing public concern for a more complete account of the crimes committed in the Pacific theater of World War II."
To assist in providing guidance to agencies on how to approach the effort, the IWG has appointed historian Linda Goetz Holmes, an expert on Japanese crimes of World War II, to its Historical Advisory Panel. The panel recommends measures to improve the effectiveness of the Act by aiding understanding of the historical circumstances and context in which the records were created.
Information about the IWG and the Historical Advisory Panel is available at the IWG website at http://www.nara.gov/iwg.
Giuliana Bullard, 703-532-1477
or Susan Cooper, 301-713-6000
COLLEGE PARK, Md., May 23 -- Dr. Michael Kurtz, assistant archivist at the National Archives and Chair of the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), announced the appointment of Linda Goetz Holmes to the IWG Historical Advisory Panel.
Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group
Appoints Linda Holmes to Historical Advisory Panel
Dr. Kurtz said, "I welcome Ms. Holmes to the IWG Historical Advisory Panel. Her knowledge of the history of Japanese war criminality during World War II will assist the IWG as it pushes for the release of records in that area."
Holmes, a graduate of Wellesley College and former editor at CBS Television, has been researching and writing about World War II Pacific Theater prisoners of war for two decades. She is author of 4000 Bowls of Rice: A Prisoner of War Comes Home (1994) and a forthcoming book on Japanese company use of American prisoners of war in the Pacific in World War II.
Holmes is the eighth expert to join the Historical Advisory Panel, which advises the IWG and the IWG historical consultants on the historical significance of records being declassified under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. The historians and experts on the panel also recommend measures to improve the effectiveness of the IWG and Federal agencies in implementing the Act.
President Clinton established the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) in January 1999, through Executive Order 13110. The group has been charged with locating, identifying, inventorying, recommending for declassification and making available all classified criminal records of the Nazi government and its allies, subject to specified restrictions. Additional information about the IWG and the Historical Advisory Panel is available at the IWG website at www.nara.gov/iwg.