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Exchange with the Wiener Library

Christine Schmidt of the Wiener Library in London came to the International Tracing Service for a week in mid-June to become familiar with the collections of documents and handling inquiries from survivors, family members, and researchers. The Wiener Library possesses a digital copy of the ITS archives, which Schmidt will oversee in the future. “It was important for me to learn how this site and the archives will be used,” said the American historian.

At a joint workshop with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the Wiener Library will enable research within the digital ITS catalog in London from autumn 2013. “I think it is very important to make the documents available for research,” explained Schmidt. “We will also use them for our own projects, exhibitions, and education.”

Schmidt is still the only full-time employee of the Wiener Library who has familiarized herself with the ITS inventory and has also visited the USHMM and Yad Vashem for the same purpose. She does hope to further support through volunteers. “I found it helpful to have been in Arolsen. Since we ourselves are a smaller institution, we consider our close exchange and cooperation with our partners to be indispensible,” Schmidt commented. “I learned a lot and I am impressed by how much work the ITS has invested in research and education with so few scholars.”

The ITS archive is the mother ship, so to speak, because the originals are stored here and not just digital copies. “It is irreplaceable for me, but especially so for the survivors to have once seen this,” Schmidt acknowledged. The feel of the size and thus the extent of the persecution could not be replaced by a digital database. The researcher last worked for five years in Budapest, Hungary. She began her studies of the Holocaust in 1994 at the University of Michigan.