Leaders of Monaco have been urged to grant access to the city state’s Holocaust archives as the world prepares to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.
The US-based Wiesenthal Center wrote to State Minister Serge Telle to ask the principality to help show what happened to scores of Jews deported from Monaco during the Holocaust, despite researchers being so far refused access five times.
The Center said this year’s landmark anniversary was “probably the last chance for most Holocaust survivors to tell their stories or seek restitution,” adding that access to the archives would “help to provide a sorely belated closure for families of victims”.
Historians have long been intrigued by what information Monaco’s vaults may hold, pointing to Adolf Eichmann’s intriguing denial, during his 1961 trial, of having any Monaco contacts, despite this later proving to be untrue.
The Wiesenthal Center said the archives may shed light on what happened to the property of deported Jews, including their valuables such as jewellery and artworks, as well as money from bank accounts.
The Center’s director Shimon Samuels said other archives, such as those in Nice in France, showed the auction sale of “biens juifs” (Jewish assets), suggesting these came from Jews from Monaco, who were deported via the French coastal city.
Samuels said if Monaco continued to deny access to its archives this “would be construed as a betrayal of its moral debt to history”.