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“A Good and Professional Perspective for the ITS”

Ministry official Dr Martin Ney and Harald Gehrig from the German Foreign Office came to see and get a personal impression of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen yesterday. While Ney takes part in the negotiations for the future of the tracing service, Gehrig is the Representative of the Federal Republic in the International Commission. The body that consists of eleven member states lays down the guidelines about the activities of the ITS. “It makes a great difference whether you form an opinion at your desk in Berlin or directly on site”, said Ney. “I am impressed by the demanding and yet so professional job the staff does.”

Having gained an insight into the archives, the digitisation of the documents, the treatment of requests and the build-up of the research department, the two representatives of the Foreign Office had comprehensive talks with ITS-Director Jean-Luc Blondel. “The abundance of fates you are faced with here does not fail to have its effect on you“, expressed Gehrig. “These fates must not be forgotten. They will live on through research and education.”

It is in particular the prospects of research that are enhanced by the new agreements on the future of the ITS, assured Ney. “The negotiations’ result achieved so far is a very good one and is going to shape the transition of the institution’s mandate. The previous central task of searching for people and providing information will be expanded by documents’ description, research and education.” The next round of negotiations is scheduled for November 2011, and plans are to finally settle the agreements in spring 2012. Following the withdrawal of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Federal Archives will be the new partner institution from 2013 on. “The future collaboration with the Federal Archives will offer the ITS a good and professional perspective“, added Ney.