France allows Holocaust museums to digitize WWII archives

December 8, 2016
Radu Ioanid, director of the International Archival Programs Division at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, left, speaks while French Secretary of State for Veterans and Remembrance Jean-Marc Todeschini, center, and Jacques Fredj, Executive Director of France's Shoah Memorial stay next to him during a signing ceremony in Paris, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. France's Defense Ministry signs a deal to hand over digitized versions of its archives around World War II persecution of Jews to Holocaust museums in Washington and Paris so that the public can access them. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — France has signed an accord to allow Holocaust museums in Paris and in Washington, D.C., to digitize the vast French World War II archives — so that the museums can more easily display information on the Vichy regime to the public.

Speaking at the Paris ceremony Thursday, France’s Veterans Minister Jean Marc-Todeschini said the “rise of populism in parts of the world” means that educating the younger generation about this period is paramount.

France’s Vichy-based government collaborated with the Nazis under Marshal Petain and helped deport Jews to concentration camps.

Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum Director Radu Ioanid said that the move by the French government — to be carried out by dozens of archivists — will also help uncover more information on war criminals and anti-Semitic crimes committed in France.