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“A worthwhile extracurricular place of learning”

Christoph Stillemunkes and Guido Steffens from the Hessian Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs visited the International Tracing Service (ITS) on February 2, 2011 in order to learn about the work being done there. “It was an informative yet very intensive visit,” said Steffens, who works for the state teacher training college for grammar schools in Offenbach. “We saw that the ITS is a worthwhile extracurricular place of learning.”

Both representatives of the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs got an overview of the document holdings, their digitization and the work involved in determining fates. The ITS has refocused and is now concentrating on research and educational work. “We were able to decisively broaden and deepen our knowledge,” said department head Stillemunkes. “I was amazed that 300 people still work here,” added Steffens.

They spoke with ITS director Jean-Luc Blondel and historian Dr. Susanne Urban as well as with two teachers from Bad Arolsen and Wolfhagen, who reported on highly relevant joint projects with the ITS. “I can well imagine concrete projects which are good for students and teacher training,” said Steffens. “Here, students could look critically at search methods and discovering learning. The victims have names.  Students could gain new understanding through this experience.”

Stillemunkes believes that the ITS is little-known as a place of learning outside of North Hessia. “We want to promote the ITS and see it as our duty to highlight its possibilities.”