This segment was originally broadcast on Dec. 17, 2006. It was updated on June 21, 2007.
For the first time, secrets of the Nazi Holocaust that have been hidden away for more than 60 years are finally being made available to the public. We’re not talking about a missing filing cabinet – we’re talking about thousands of filing cabinets, holding 50 million pages. It’s Hitler’s secret archive.
The Nazis were famous for record keeping but what 60 Minutes found ran from the bizarre to the horrifying. This Holocaust history was discovered by the Allies in dozens of concentration camps, as Germany fell in the spring of 1945.
As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, the documents were taken to a town in the middle of Germany, called Bad Arolsen, where they were sorted, filed and locked way, never to be seen by the public until now.
The storerooms are immense: 16 miles of shelves holding the stories of 17 million victims – not only Jews, but slave laborers, political prisoners and homosexuals. To open the files is to see the Holocaust staring back like it was yesterday: strange pink Gestapo arrest warrants as lethal as a death sentence, jewelry lost as freedom ended at the gates of an extermination camp. Time stopped here in 1945.