International Tracing Service

[12-14-2011]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen today handed over digital copies of documents from its archives to the Wiener Library in London. ”The shared use of the ITS documentation will strengthen the cooperation between our two organisations and support historical research in Great Britain“, said ITS director Jean-Luc Blondel. Researchers can now make use of the ITS collections, which contain about 30 million documents on National Socialist persecution, forced labour and the emigration as a result of the Second World War, at institutions in eight countries.

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[11-25-2011]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen discussed new research results and perspectives on the subject of death marches from the National Socialist concentration camps at a two day international conference. The conference “On the traces of the Death Marches – Crimes, Investigations and Remembrance" with 60 participants from 8 countries focussed on the documents from the ITS archives on the reconstruction of the death marches and the identification of the dead that were compiled between 1946 and 1951. Since October 2010, researchers had been systematically examining these for the first time in a joint workshop. "The material in our archives can supplement previous research and, at the same time, cast a new light on how the Allies dealt with these crimes", said Dr Susanne Urban, Head of Research at ITS.

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[11-22-2011]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen will expand its role and faces a change in management. The eleven-member state International Commission that supervises the work of the ITS last week initialled two new agreements on the future tasks and administration of the ITS. The new agreements formally extend the tasks of the ITS into such areas as historical research, education, commemoration and cataloguing, thereby enlarging the already existing main mandate of tracing. The German Federal Archives will become the new institutional partner as of January 1, 2013. The role of the institutional partner is to advise and work together with the International Commission and the director of the ITS in fields such as conservation and preservation; cataloguing and indexing; budgeting and auditing. The Director of the ITS will be appointed by the International Commission by unanimous decision.The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has announced its withdrawal from the management of the institution at the end of 2012.

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[11-18-2011]  

The previous restrictions on the release of copies to researchers in the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen have now been formally lifted. The International Commission, consisting of eleven member states, which sets down the guidelines for the work of the ITS, agreed to an appropriate revised version of the rules on fees and tariffs at a meeting in Paris. "This shall come into effect immediately," said ITS Director Jean-Luc Blondel.

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[10-12-2011]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) wants to lift the current restrictions concerning the release of copies to researchers. The rules on fees and tariffs and the online form for research requests have been revised accordingly. "Our aim is and remains to provide the best possible access for research", said ITS director Jean-Luc Blondel. "We hope that the planned new regulations will bring more clarity." They will come into effect as soon as they will have been approved by the International Commission, whose eleven member states stipulate the guidelines for the work of the ITS. The Commission will hold a meeting in Paris in mid-November 2011.

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[08-26-2011]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) opened an exhibition of drawings and caricatures by the Czech artist Josef Čapek in Bad Arolsen yesterday evening. The latter had vehemently turned against the National Socialist dictatorship at an early stage with his artistic and literary work. "Čapek rebelled with the pen – and paid for it with his life", said Dr Susanne Urban, Head of Research at ITS. "His caricatures do not just provide information on National Socialist Germany, but also about the mechanisms of a dictatorship and the hate sowed by it." The exhibition "Josef Čapek (1887-1945) – drawings and political caricatures" can be seen until 27th October 2011.

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[08-10-2011]  

Today, the International Tracing Service (ITS) entered into a partnership with the Christian-Rauch School in Bad Arolsen. A long-term partnership is planned starting from the beginning of the 2011/2012 school year comprising regular visits to the archives, smaller individual projects and even courses on selected topics. Jean-Luc Blondel, the Director of the ITS, and Dr. Matthias Bohn, the school's Deputy Headteacher have supported the partnership and both agree that the ITS' documents represent an invaluable source of information for lessons held both inside and outside of the school. “With the help of these documents, pupils can gain a better understanding of the structures of Nazi persecution, but also of the fates of individuals during such persecution as well as after their liberation,” Blondel says.

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[07-01-2011]  

This week the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen has handed over further copies of its databases to six partner organisations in Israel, the USA, Poland, France, Luxembourg and Belgium. The data consists of the first 76,000 of a total of 3 million correspondence files, as well as remaining documents from the Child Tracing Service and general, non-personal documents on Nazi persecution. “This means we have scanned almost our entire archive of historical documents from the Nazi period and the immediate post-war era. This is a significant milestone on the way towards the digitisation of the whole archive” explained Djordje Drndarski, the Deputy Director and the head of archives at the ITS.

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[05-30-2011]  

The number of inquiries received by the International Tracing Service (ITS) has increased for the third year in a row. A total of 12,981 inquiries reached the ITS in the past year (previous year: 11,768, 2008: 10,251). “This development shows us that interest in the documentation of the ITS and in the issue of National Socialist persecution is continuing undiminished”, said ITS Director Jean-Luc Blondel. The International Commission of eleven member states, which compiles the guidelines for the work of the ITS and monitors these in the interest of the former victims of persecution, carries forward the debate on the future of the institution.

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[05-20-2011]  

George Jaunzemis has never known who his mother was, what his real name was or where he was born – vital questions the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen could clear up now – that is 66 years after the end of the Second World War. This week Jaunzemis is going to meet his family and see his birth place Magdeburg for the first time. “I feel the relief of someone who finally knows who he is. It is very emotional an experience to suddenly come to have a family”, said the 69-year-old.

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[05-19-2011]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen today published an online list of personal belongings still remaining in the archives from concentration camps. „It is our aim to return as many effects as possible to the survivors of Nazi persecution and their relatives“, says Jean-Luc Blondel, director of the ITS. The ITS archives currently still hold ca. 2,900 items whose owners are known by name. Most of them come from the concentration camps Neuengamme and Dachau. Thanks to a comprehensive research project, 476 effects could now be correlated with the names of former detainees for the very first time.

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[04-27-2011]  

This week, the Pädagogische Akademie der Gemeinschaft evangelischer Erzieher (Teaching Academy of the Association of Protestant Teachers - GEE) is offering its first study conference for pedagogues at the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. The group of six teachers and educators will get to know the pedagogical programmes and research opportunities in the archives. “The history of NS persecution can be well conveyed using concrete fates. We would like to invite those who promote culture and education to make use of the documents from our archives for school and extra-curricular projects in the future,” said Dr Susanne Urban, Head of the Research Department at ITS.

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[03-11-2011]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) opened an exhibit on Georg Elser yesterday evening in Bad Arolsen. On 8 November 1939, Elser had wanted to prevent the expansion of the war begun by Germany by assassinating its dictator Adolf Hitler in Munich. “He could have looked away like millions of others. Yet Elser didn’t,” said Susanne Urban, head of the research department at ITS. “He had no political party backing him, no ideology and no church. He wanted to stop Nazi Germany all on his own.” The exhibition entitled “I wanted to prevent the war” features 29 displays and will run through 27 May 2011.

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[03-07-2011]  

The delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Djordje Drndarski, is the new deputy director of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. “I consider it a privilege to be part of the tracing service,” said the 44-year-old. “It is an historic location of tremendous importance.”

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[02-28-2011]  

The International Tracing Service (ITS) of Bad Arolsen has presented its offers for pedagogical work to various educational institutions. Particular focus is on school projects in the German state of Hesse, in addition to nationwide seminars at universities and workshops, as well as lectures on Nazi persecution. “In the future, education and the corresponding publications will be an important pillar of the work of ITS,” said Dr Susanne Urban, head of the Research Department. “Historians’ findings and insights should be communicated to the public.”

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