A massive archive on the Nazi Holocaust will be opened to researchers for the first time.
The 11-nation panel that oversees the 50 million files made the decision Tuesday after Germany last month agreed to a compromise on privacy concerns.
Officials with the International Tracing Service says it hopes the individual nations will sign and ratify the agreement soon so that access can be granted by the end of the year.
The Holocaust archive is housed in the German city of Bad Arolsen. The papers contain information on more than 17-million victims of the World War II Nazi death camps, including the names and records of Jews, Roma Gypsies, homosexuals, and the mentally ill.
The families of Holocaust victims had pushed for it to be opened, to ensure the details of the Holocaust are not forgotten.
The archive has been used to help people trace missing relatives, but access has been very limited in order to protect victim's privacy.
Details on how researchers will be able to access the records are yet to be worked out.
Members of the International Tracing Service are Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United States.