International Tracing Service

[12-14-2010]  

The French National Archives (Archives Nationales) have been handed over a total of 13 data volumes each with 500 gigabytes of documents from the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. Following Israel, the US, Poland, Luxembourg and Belgium, France is now the sixth country to make use of ITS’s extensive documentary holdings on Nazi persecution, forced labour and post-war emigration.  “Researchers now have the opportunity to research ITS documents at a number of different locations,” said ITS director Jean-Luc Blondel. “I hope that this data exchange proves useful for historical research and facilitates networking between our facilities.”   

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[11-30-2010]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen has published the first finding aids for its archive holdings. They explain the documents and collections in the ITS archives. “The finding aids that have now been completed describe sections of the archives which had previously been hardly accessible for researchers,” said Karsten Kühnel, archivist and head of archival cataloguing at ITS. “Their publication is an important first step of many more to come.”

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[11-16-2010]  

Brussels, 16 November 2010: Today the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure was officially launched under the patronage of Council President Herman Van Rompuy. EHRI - the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure - is ensuring highest standards for research of continental history. With seven million Euro funding from the European Union and 20 partner organizations out of 13 countries it is to date the most important European research project about the tragedy of the Holocaust. In the coming four years researchers will build up a unique database combining now dispersed archives around Europe. Researchers, but also teachers and students are going to use this immense source about the history of modern Europe.

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[10-29-2010]  

Yesterday the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen opened the “BookWitnesses” exhibition together with the association Historicum 20 and the Bad Arolsen town Museum. The exhibition features a selection of remarkable books from the ITS library including publications which emerged right after the end of WWII and offered some of the first analyses of NS persecution. “These were the first commemorative and documentative attempts. These books are important repositories of knowledge and memories,” said Dr Susanne Urban, head of the research department at ITS. The exhibition is set to run at the Historicum 20 in Bad Arolsen until the 15th of December 2010.

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[10-06-2010]  

For the first time ever, documents on the subject of death marches from concentration camps will be examined in more detail by researchers visiting the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. The files also include previously unreleased cartographical material. ITS is holding the workshop for historians with 13 participants from five countries from 4–7 October 2010. “We hope that this will open up new research perspectives,” said Dr Susanne Urban, head of the research department at ITS. “The subject of death marches has only just begun to gain a foothold in recent years. ITS wants to take part in the discussion.”

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[10-01-2010]  

Today the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen introduced a fee schedule for the use of its archive. It defines the costs incurred by researchers’ requests for copies of documents. “The level of our fees is oriented on those of institutions like the German Federal Archives, Yad Vashem or the US Holocaust Memorial Museum,” explained Jean-Luc Blondel. “The fees are moderate and merely cover our costs with no additional profit margin.”

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[09-28-2010]  

Today the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen introduced a pedagogic concept for collaboration with schools, universities and other educational institutions. “In taking this step, ITS is writing a new chapter,” said Dr Susanne Urban, head of the research department at ITS. “We feel committed to the task of conveying the relevance of the documents in our archives to the general public and to younger generations.”

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[09-23-2010]  

Yesterday the International Tracing Service (ITS) of Bad Arolsen was able to return personal belongings to another 14 Dutch families at the Amersfoort Memorial Site. Most of the effects were wallets which had been taken away from their owners by the Nazis after the deportation to the Neuengamme concentration camp. “This restitution is quite a moving moment for all of us,” said Nicole Dominicus, head of archives administration at ITS. “The wallets often contain last keepsakes and photographs, which mean a lot to the families. We therefore feel they are best off with them.”

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[09-16-2010]  

This week the International Tracing Service (ITS) of Bad Arolsen forwarded additional copies from its inventory to five partner organisations in Israel, the US, Poland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The data delivery consisted of documents from the children’s tracing branch, as well as files on Nazi persecution which do not reference specific individual fates. “These files include, for example, documents involving concentration camp logistics, medical experiments, the ‘Lebensborn’ association and trials from the post-war era,” said chief archivist Udo Jost. “It’s a small part of our archive’s inventory by comparison, but it’s of particular interest to research.”

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[08-19-2010]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) of Bad Arolsen has concluded a cooperation agreement with the Stadtmuseum Coesfeld. For the planned education and meeting centre for the history of the Jewish community, ITS will provide documents on persecution during the Nazi era. In addition, the work of ITS is to be acknowledged within the scope of the new exhibition. “We’re very pleased about this collaboration. It’s an example of the cooperative effort ITS strives for with museums, educational and research institutions all around the country,” said Dr Susanne Urban, head of the Research department at ITS.

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[07-02-2010]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen wants to raise awareness of its archives and services in Eastern European countries. This week a delegation from the ITS and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), that manages the activities of the ITS, held talks with representatives from archives, victims’ organisations and research institutes in the Ukraine as well as with the Ukrainian Red Cross National Society. “We can help family members clarify open questions concerning the fate of victims of Nazi persecution”, said the ICRC advisor for the ITS, Udo Wagner-Meige. “We also seek cooperation in the field of research.”

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[06-02-2010]  

The International Commission for the International Tracing Service held its 72nd Annual Meeting in Washington on May 26 and 27, 2010. It took note with appreciation of the work of the International Tracing Service (ITS) over the past twelve months.

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[05-18-2010]  

Today the International Tracing Service (ITS) of Bad Arolsen opened the exhibition “The Lebensborn association”, which will run until the 2nd of July 2010. Consisting of 13 information panels, the exhibition was put together by the regional youth organisation Kreisjugendring Ebersberg and portrays the racist goals of the Lebensborn association backed by the SS. The objective was to increase the birth rate of “Aryan” children. “At the same time, other mothers and kids - the handicapped, Jews, Sinti and Roma - were singled out as ‘unworthy of life’ and murdered in masses,” says ITS historian Dr Susanne Urban. “If nothing else, it was this gruesome contrast that led us to present this exhibition.”

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ITS website in Russian

Press Release

[05-10-2010]  

The website of the International Tracing Service (ITS) of Bad Arolsen is now also available in Russian. The new language version went online for the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the end of the war. “Many victims of Nazi persecution hail from Eastern Europe. We wanted to offer them better service while also making ITS more widely known,” says ITS Director Jean-Luc Blondel, who only recently held talks with representatives from archives and survivors' associations in Moscow.

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[03-26-2010]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen has opened the exhibition “Karl Plagge (1897-1957) – A Righteous Among the Nations” which is on view at the ITS from 26 March to 7 May 2010.  The exhibition, developed by the Darmstadt History Workshop, remembers Wehrmacht Major Karl Plagge for his part in saving the lives of nearly 250 Jews.  “Major Plagge did not sit idly by but instead decided to do something against the madness in order to save human lives,” said ITS Director Jean-Luc Blondel at the opening.  “The exhibition is part of the work of remembering, and at the same time a call not to neglect our commitment to serving the survivors.”

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[02-13-2010]  

Today the International Tracing Service (ITS) of Bad Arolsen was able to return effects to 35 Dutch families at the Amersfoort Memorial Site. Most of the personal belongings were wallets which had been taken away from their owners by the Nazis during deportation to the Neuengamme concentration camp. “We are really pleased that contact could be established with the families thanks to the initiative of Gert van Dompseler and Pieter Dekker of Stichting October’44,” said Nicole Dominicus, head of Archival Requests and Visitors’ Service at ITS.

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[02-11-2010]  

Today the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen handed over digitised photographs from its archive to the Hinzert Concentration Camp Memorial Site. Among the 35 photos in total are ten taken at the camp during the period of 1940/41. “The memorial site has only very few photographs at its disposal. We are therefore grateful for any additional photographic material,” said Dr Beate Welter, Director of the Hinzert Concentration Camp Memorial Site.

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[02-02-2010]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen has commenced work on the most elaborate sub-project involved in the digitalisation of its case correspondence. Around three million files of correspondence between the tracing service, public authorities and the victims of national socialist persecution as well as their family members are to be digitised over the next few years. “Together with the original documents from the Nazi era, the correspondence cases offer a concise account of individual fates,” said Udo Jost, Head of the Archive Division at ITS. “They take the puzzle pieces from the documents, which are often only fragmentary, and assemble them to an overall picture.”

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[01-20-2010]  

Roland Koch, Premier of the German state of Hesse, highlighted the significant work being done at the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen during his visit today. “The ITS has done magnificent humanitarian work in its role as a contact for many millions of people seeking information on their relatives. In future, research and educational work will be at the forefront, in addition to documentation, enabling the “Arolsen remembrance” to be preserved for future generations,” said Koch.

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[01-15-2010]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen has now finished digitising its documents from the post-war era concerning displaced persons and emigration after the end of World War II. “This part of the ITS archives has hardly been explored so far,” said Udo Jost, Head of the Archive Division. “It offers excellent insights into life after survival, as well as the wave of migration which resulted from the war.” This week, ITS forwarded copies of the documents to its partner organisations in Israel, the US, Poland, Luxembourg and Belgium.

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Contact

International Tracing Service (ITS)
Press Office

Kathrin Flor
Head of Communications
Spokeswoman

Verena Neusues
Press Officer

Grosse Allee 5-9
34454 Bad Arolsen
Germany

Phone: +49 (0)5691 629 116
Fax: +49 (0)5691 629 501

Email: communications[at] its-arolsen.org