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Legal Bases and Financing

The International Tracing Service is legally based on the Berlin Agreement from 9 December 2011. This agreement replaces the Bonn Agreement on the ITS from 1955 and the Amendment from 2006 which were in place until 31 December 2012.

On June 6, 1955, the governments of Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the USA signed an agreement to set up an International Commission to supervise the ITS. In that agreement the Federal Republic of Germany assumed financial responsibility for the ITS. This was confirmed following German reunification and the annulment of the so-called “Deutschlandvertrag”.

In September 1990, the Foreign Ministry Secretary of State wrote a statement declaring that Section 7 of Article 1 of the agreement, governing questions arising from war and occupation, remains valid:

“The Federal Republic of Germany undertakes to ensure that the work currently carried out by the International Tracing Service will continue.”


In accordance with the Berlin Agreement, the budget of the ITS is developed annually based on a budgetary recommendation to the Federal Republic of Germany requiring the approval of the International Commission. The grants resulting from that are provided by the office of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) as the granting authority, the ITS is the grant recipient.  

The German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) funds the ITS.

The Federal Court of Audit of the Federal Republic of Germany may, in coordination with the Director of the ITS, audit the accounts of the institution and examine the performance, regularity and compliance of its financial management.

In addition to the funding by the Federal Government, the ITS can receive voluntary contributions from public as well as private sources to fulfill its objectives and tasks. The ITS informs the International Commission about these contributions and their sources.

The following is an overview of the 2018 budget:

Personnel costs: €12,376,000
Operating expenses including Information technology: €1,740,000
Capital expenditures: €100,000

Total: €14,226,000