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Moldova Delivers Holocaust-Era Archive To U.S. Museum

Moldova's deputy prime minister, Iurie Leanca (center), holds a hard drive containing a Holocaust-era archive of documents at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
WASHINGTON -- Moldova has delivered an archive of thousands of Holocaust-era documents to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Chisinau's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Iurie Leanca handed over a hard drive containing some 15,000 pages from 50 investigations and trials of individuals accused of committing war crimes against Jews.

The investigations were carried out by the Moldovan KGB in the years following World War II.

Speaking at the transfer ceremony, Leanca said his country is committed to "paying respect to the tragedy that occurred on our soil to make sure we draw the necessary lessons looking forward."

He estimates that some 15,000 Jews currently live in Moldova, down from more than 200,000 living in the region in the 1930s.

Moldova's parliament in March 2011 amended a law restricting the international movement of personal data in order to enable the transfer.

Museum Director Sara Bloomfield said the archive would deepen understanding of the Holocaust and called Moldova's legislative action "a great example for all countries."

Leanca also expressed hope that the transfer of the archive would help convince U.S. lawmakers to repeal Cold War-era trade restrictions that remain in place against Moldova.

Conceived in 1974, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment was intended to pressure the Soviet Union into lifting restrictions on Jewish emigration.

Leanca is expected to take up the issue in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on March 20.