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Important Source for Research

Between 29th and 31st May 2011, Dr Wendy Lower from Munich University took an overview of the documents kept at the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen and the possibilities for research. She also wanted to sound out opportunities of cooperation in initial talks. “The ITS archives opened only late in 2007. It is the most important centre for new research on the Holocaust and its aftermaths in Europe, in particular casting light on the history of forced labour and on the endeavours taken in the post-war era to care for the persecuted and search for any of their next-of-kin”, said Lower.

Newly accessible material literally had flooded researchers since the fall of the Berlin wall. “The ITS is now the next big source. The documents stored here will change the questions research raises and give the first impetus to many projects”, Lower is sure. "I wanted to form my own idea of the archive and the use that is made of it.”

In her view, Germany is still lacking an interdisciplinary centre on the subjects of Holocaust, genocide and human rights, combining research and teaching. Munich University for instance would be a site conceivable for such an institution. “As research stands or falls by the documents, collaboration with the memorial centres and the ITS will be vital for the centre”, said Lower. While researchers in Washington and Jerusalem intensely and lively debate over the ITS material already, “the interest in such discussions is not yet so pronounced here in Germany. The ITS is ripe for being discovered by a new generation of students and professors for their research projects.”