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Identity Cards of Auschwitz Inmates Turned Over to the Red Cross

September 21, 1989 GMT

MOSCOW (AP) _ The Soviet Union has given the International Red Cross the identity cards of 130,000 prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Tass said today.

The Red Cross soon will begin processing the cards, making it possible to identify the citizens of many countries who became victims of Nazi Holocaust, the official news agency said.

″The deaths of over 74,000 people were neatly recorded, day after day, hour after hour, in 46 huge volumes,″ Valentina Fatyukhina, head of the Soviet Red Cross research department told Tass.

″Their names, the birth dates and the names of parents were written down,″ she said. The information was made available to the International Red Cross earlier this week, Tass said.

Auschwitz, in Poland, was one of the most infamous concentration camps run by the Nazis during World War II. An estimated 2.5 million Jews were killed at the camp.

Fatyukhina said the Auschwitz materials were found by Soviet soldiers at the end of the war and shipped to the Soviet Union. ″Unfortunately, they were sent to different archives, which hampered the search for them,″ she said.

″Nobody expected that 130,000 individual cards of concentration camp inmates existed,″ Tass said.

The existence of the volumes was disclosed in 1964 when Germans assigned to Auschwitz went on trial in West Germany, Tass said. However, until recently, the archives had been sealed, the news agency said.

Tass said access to the volumes became possible only last year as more and more archives were opened to researchers under President Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost, or openness.