Exhumations: The Recovery of Repressive Archives
The archives of former repressive regimes offer an important historical record of state terror, the promise of legal evidence for human rights crimes, and an indispensable source of information for families of the regimes' victims. Given the potential danger posed to former regime officials by the archives, why are these records preserved? How do they come to light? And once found, what strategies have been used to rescue and preserve them, and open them to the public? I will use the case of the recently-discovered Guatemalan archives of the former National Police to discuss these issues, and compare the Guatemalan experience with the repressive archives of several other countries, including the Archivo del Terror of Paraguay, Mexico's archive of the "Dirty War", and the German Stasi files.