The International Tracing Service is situated in Germany, and yet it is an internationally rooted institution. This is evident, for one, at the leadership level: government representatives from the 11 countries that are member states of the International Commission are involved in the decisions regarding the ITS. The International Commission places value on the Directorate being in the hands of internationally renowned individuals.
The International Commission
The International Commission sets out the guidelines for the ITS and oversees its work on behalf of former victims of persecution. The basis for this governance is the Berlin Agreement, signed on 9 December 2011 that on 1 January 2013 replaced the Bonn Agreement of 1955 as well as the Protocol of Amendment from 2006. The International Commission is composed of government representatives of the 11 member states (listed in alphabetical order):
- Federal Republic of Germany
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
According to the Berlin Agreement the International Commission ensures the co-ordination between the governments in the Commission and provides directives for the operations of the International Tracing Service, including access to the archives and documents held at its premises.
The Chairmanship of the International Commission rotates annually among the member states. During the annual meeting in June 2017 the Netherlands assumed the chairmanship. The Chairman of the Commission is Pieter Jan Wolthers.
New Mission Statement of the International Commission for the ITS
To preserve, conserve and open up the ITS archives to public access; to modernize and make more effective its services to Nazi victims and Holocaust survivors and those who seek to trace the fate of family members persecuted by the Nazis and their allies; and to integrate the ITS into the European and international network of research and educational institutions focused on Nazi persecution, the Holocaust forced labor and displaced persons.
As of 1 January 2013 the German Federal Archives is the institutional partner of the ITS. In accordance with the Berlin Agreement the ITS is advised by an institutional partner in questions regarding conservation of the holdings, cooperation with service providers, the improvement of specialized archival applications as well as other archival issues and administrative topics. A partnership agreement that is set for a 5-year period regulates the cooperation. Like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) the institutional partner of the ITS has a permanent observer status in the meetings of the International Commission.
The partnership with the Federal Archives is manifested in regular meetings and scholarly discussions.
According to the Berlin Agreement the Director is recruited by the International Commission and leads the ITS in concert with the goals and mandate of the Commission. The position is for a five-year period and can be extended once for an additional five years.
As of January 2016 the director is Ms. Floriane Hohenberg, a French native. The human rights expert with experience in managing international organizations was recruited in 2015 by the International Commission.
As of 1 January 2017 there were 255 staff members working at the ITS in full and part-time positions.
Because of its international focus, having staff members from various nationalities is an important building block for the ITS. Hence, people from Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, Portugal, USA, Russia, et al, are part of the team.
The ITS is subject to the wage agreement for employees of the armed forces stationed on Federal Republic of Germany territory TV AL II.