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“A brief, but formative era for the ITS”

For three years the U.S. American historian Prof. Dr. Rebecca Boehling headed the International Tracing Service (ITS) during its decisive restructuring phase towards becoming an internationally positioned Archive and Documentation Center on National Socialist persecution and the liberated survivors. At the invitation of the current director Floriane Hohenberg, around 150 guests, some having travelled from Israel, Poland, the USA, Italy, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands, attended the official farewell ceremony on 13 January 2016.

Speaking on behalf of the International Commission, the highest governing body of the ITS, Dr. Micaela Procaccia  thanked Prof. Dr. Rebecca Boehling and praised her for having successfully guided the ITS in its transformation process while maintaining the focus on the primary significance of the ITS: the worthy remembrance of the lives and fates of the women, men, and children, as testified to in the many millions of documents preserved in the ITS Archive.

The German Foreign Ministry was represented by Professor Pascal Hector. He emphasized the significant and lasting contribution Prof. Dr. Rebecca Boehling had made towards the formal restructuring of the ITS as called for in the Berlin Agreements from 9 December 2011. During her term as Director, the ITS had become more modern and more international. The Head of the Archive Branch at ITS, Dr. Christian Groh, spoke on behalf of the ITS staff members. He mentioned movement and change as the central characteristics “of the brief, but formative era for the ITS”. He expressed in particular his gratitude for the cooperative teamwork, in his thanks also including Deputy Director Dr. Volker Uhl, who was leaving the ITS at the end of January and returning to his chosen home city of Hamburg.

All the speakers, including the Mayor of Bad Arolsen, Jürgen von der Horst, affirmed the dedication and commitment of the U.S. American historian, who will now be returning to her teaching post in Baltimore, regarding the urgently needed new archive building. In her short speech, Prof. Dr. Rebecca Boehling stated very clearly how much this new building meant to her, and that the ITS would always be in her heart. She sees this building project and the continuing work involved being in the best of hands with her successor. Because Prof. Dr. Rebecca Boehling is a member of the newly established ITS Scholarly Advisory Board, she will continue to accompany the development of the institution.