International Tracing Service

Personal Effects at the ITS Archive

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen is still in possession of roughly 2,800 personal effects, of which the former owners are known. The personal effects are mainly from the concentration camps Neuengamme (2,300) and Dachau (330). In addition there are some personal belongings from prisoners of the Hamburg Gestapo (50), concentration camp Natzweiler and Bergen-Belsen, as well as the transit camps Amersfoort and Compiègne.

The ITS´s goal is to return the personal belongings to the former prisoners and their family members. A list has been made available on the ITS website and can be researched using first and last names or date of birth. Memorial sites, ITS partner organizations, journalists and the interested public will also look into the list as they could prove helpful in the search for the former owners or family members.

The personal effects include effects taken from prisoners as they arrived at concentration camps: wallets, identity papers, photos and letters. The Nazis confiscated money and items of value. The personal belongings have no material value but a high sentimental value for family members.

It has proven challenging to match the personal effects to some prisoners, particularly victims of political persecution. Their relatives most likely live in every country which was occupied by the National Socialists, primarily in Eastern Europe. It would be unusual to find Jewish prisoners or Sinti and Roma.