Opening of the Vichy archives

So, the records of the Vichy government had been available to “qualified” researchers, it seems:

Previously only researchers and journalists could see some archives, with special permission. But public access is provided after 75 years have elapsed, under French law – and that is now the case, for 1940-dated documents.

So the “silence” here is that the records were not available to members of the public–including family members of people named in the records. People who would seem to have had a compelling reason to access them.

“How many times did I show the archives to people who left in tears – overwhelmed by what they had just learned?” Berliere said. “Some who supposedly were heroic members of the resistance movement had in fact denounced … neighbors, rivals or competitors.”

“To dive into the archives also means to take the risk of being confronted with a truth that does not correspond to the assumed reality one has always lived with,” he said. However, some who have viewed the records have had a different experience. “I remember a woman convinced that her father, a police officer, had been a horrible collaborator [with the Nazis], and who discovered, that in fact, her father had been tortured, robbed, and finally killed in a revenge punishment.”

But, note as the Post article does:

The country’s archives of another controversial historical period, the Algerian war for independence, will continue to be closed to the public. At first, the French led a fierce fight against the independence movements. The French eventually had to withdraw from Algeria as support for the occupiers dropped in Europe as well as in Algeria.

Opening of the Vichy archives

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