How can the ITS make the most effective use of its research capacity? As the provisional head of research and education, Henning Borggräfe worked on honing the division's profile and taking the first steps in a new direction. He was appointed Head of the Research and Education Branch on January 1, 2017.
What characterizes the new direction of the ITS in terms of research?
Research at the ITS will mean three things in the future. First, we will promote research into Nazi persecution and its consequences in various ways. Second, we want to highlight the potential offered by the ITS archive. And third, we will conduct fundamental research into the archival documents to supply researchers – and family members – with basic knowledge. We are also intensifying our cooperation with network partners in all three areas to expand our coverage.
Can you mention some examples of promoting research?
We're becoming more active in the field of research-related teaching in particular. To this end, we’re holding seminars at the ITS for groups of students. In 2016, for example, students from Humboldt University Berlin and Ruhr University Bochum worked in Bad Arolsen. Additionally, starting in 2017 we will offer an annual research seminar in Bad Arolsen in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., for master’s and doctoral candidates from German universities.
What are you doing beyond research-related teaching?
Above all, we’re planning conferences and publications with partners. In 2016 we held a DP workshop in cooperation with the Max Mannheimer Study Center. The history of the ITS will be the main focus of the next conference in 2018. The ITS yearbook will be separated from the conference proceedings, which will be published every two years following the conferences. We are also striving to give more lectures and presentations about the ITS in order to draw attention to our research potential.
You want to expand the service for visitors as well. What are you planning?
We plan to establish a new visitor center in the main building. Until it's ready, the computer workstations will be integrated into the library with continuous on-site support in early 2017. Instructions for conducting research in the ITS digital archive will make this work easier. We are intensively discussing ways of improving our visitor support. At the end 2016, for example, I participated in the EHRI seminar on “Reference Services: Best Practices and Innovative Use of Materials” at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.