Recently Nazi Holocaust files located in Bad Arolsen, have been opened to news media and other researchers. Previously, the access to these files has been restricted and utilized only for those trying to trace their relatives.

The files reveal, what many people already knew. There was no great party right after the war. No joyful celebrating. There was confusion, lack of resources, lack of opportunities, for those who had been uprooted from their homes and locked away in death camps. In many cases there was no home to go home to. Their homes, possessions, communities had been destroyed.

Furthermore, many of the former detainees, found that the anti-Semitism in their home countries was still there. The defeat of the NAZIs did not mean a total change of heart on the issue of European Jewry.

Furthermore, those seeking to emigrate to UN countries, often faced challenges Unmarried mothers, for instance were turned away by Catholic Ireland.

Mixed in with the former prisoners, during this time of instability, immediately after the war, were former SS soldiers and other NAZIs, also seeking emigration.

While this archive will offer historians and others a vast amount of information and most importantly, personal stories and experiences, during and after the war, I think it can teach us a valuable lesson, which is very applicable to our current issues in Iraq.

Currently, the US congress, world leaders and the White House are trying to win the war the Iraq. There is much talk about exit strategy and return of control to the Iraqis. Very big questions, with really tough answers. I think we could learn a lot from the experiences in Germany right after World War II. Liberation does not mean the creation of Utopic society. Liberation means simply that on a military level the other army has been driven from a particular area.

That has happened in Iraq. Saddam and his forces for the most part are gone.

What we are left with now are the issues, which have plagued the area for centuries. Just as Anti-Semitism was not defeated at the Battle of the Bulge, neither has the issues between the Shiite and Sunni’s been settle by the overthrow of Saddam. Issues of poverty and oil rights, borders and clan issues, likewise will not be solved the removal of one dictator. Currently there are various members of Saddam’s army still controlling some spheres of power. There are other groups, who are seeking to exploit the power vacuole.

If anything, the aftermath of war can linger for years and years. Many organizations are still trying to sort out issues relating to the Holocaust. The archive in Bad Alson will play a role in the search for answers.

Why then are we expecting that the situation in Iraq, should resolve itself any quicker. Picking an end date for the war can be easy, it is what happens afterwards, which can linger and linger.

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