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The International Memory of the World Register


The International Memory of the World Register

The Auschwitz Concentration and Death Camp

Criminal prosecution prior to the 1st Frank-
furt Auschwitz Trial

Chief Public Prosecutor Fritz Bauer

The 1st Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial

The records of the 1st Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial

Start > The International Memory of the World Register

Who decides today what we are going to remember tomorrow? One answer to the question is UNESCO with its Memory of the World (MoW) program. In 1992, UNESCO began registering selected outstanding documents in its World Register. Gradually, a global digital network now comprising 348 documents from around the world was created as a modern form of global memory. With the honorable inclusion in the MoW register, the respective preserving association commits itself to ensuring both an appropriate form of preservation and public access, i.e. global digital access.

Since it was founded in 1999, the German nomination committee has successfully proposed 22 documents for inclusion in the MoW program. This body submitted another proposal in June of this year, namely the documents of the 1st Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial. These case files kept by the public prosecutor’s office at the Frankfurt am Main Regional Court comprises 456 volumes of files and 103 tapes as a 424-hour recording of the trial. If the International Advisory Committee, the members of which are appointed by the UNESCO Directorate General, accepts this proposal of the German Nomination Committee, these extensive trial records will soon be part of the world’s documentary heritage.

On the one hand, the outstanding significance of the 1st Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial lies in the prosecution of the crimes committed by the perpetrators of the Holocaust and in how society in the Federal Republic of Germany has come to terms with the Holocaust over the years up to the present. In addition to the aspects of the importance of criminal justice and a national commemorative culture, the tape recordings of the statements made by 319 witnesses, including 181 Auschwitz survivors, literally provide eloquent testimony to one of the central crimes of the 20th century. Of global significance in terms of commemorative policy is the ultimately universal message associated with the inclusion of this document in the MoW register: Appraising and remembering dictatorships and their crimes will reinforce human rights in peaceful and tolerant societies.

"It is a sign of wisdom to appreciate our cultural heritage, to safeguard it as a treasure left to us by our ancestors, and to consider it our duty to pass this heritage intact to our children."

Koichuro Matsuura, UNESCO Director-General (1999-2009)

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The International Memory of the World Register