German court OKs release of Eichmann files

A German court has paved the way for the release of secret files about executed Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

In a decision announced last Friday, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig found the German government’s objections to release of the documents too vague.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has a final chance to prove that release of the files could endanger foreign policy interests, according to German news reports. Otherwise, some 3,400 pages of documents could finally see the light of day due to the efforts of a freelance journalist in Argentina.

Gabriele Weber of Buenos Aires requested the release of the documents from the German Federal Intelligence Service from the 1950s and 1960s, which have not been released for 50 years under orders from the Chancellery.

The Chancellery had claimed their publication would damage German relations with countries in the Middle East and compromise Germany’s cooperation with foreign intelligence services. Sections of the documents would have to be blacked out to protect private individuals and the identity of informants, according to reports in the German press.

The Chancellery and intelligence agency must now decide whether there are additional objections.

Eichmann, who oversaw the mass deportations of European Jews to death camps, fled Germany after World War II and was captured in 1960 in Argentina by the Israeli Mossad spy agency. He was tried and executed in Israel in 1962.

One of Eichmann’s sons, the Berlin-based archeologist Ricardo Eichmann, told Der Spiegel Online that “Whatever is in those files, the time has come for them to be accessible to scholars.”