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Visit of Björn Sänger, Member of the Deutsche Bundestag

Yesterday, Björn Sänger, Member of the Deutsche Bundestag (German Parliament), came to familiarize himself with the variety of tasks accomplished by the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. “It was important to come to know the institution and the range of its valuable activities”, said Sänger. “Re-assessing the past and providing with information the victims and their relatives will continue to play an essential part in future remembrance work.”

The politician who is acting on both, a communal and federal level for his liberal Party, the FDP, seized the opportunity of his short visit to take an overview of the documentation and its digitisation. In the focus of his particular attention were the new developments, especially research and educational activities. In a subsequent conversation, ITS-Director Jean-Luc Blondel shared with him information on the ongoing debate on the future of the ITS among the members of the International Commission, on the changes in the management of the ITS and on the significance of the new tasks. “The ITS is on course to develop into a centre for information, documentation and research. To tackle these additional tasks, we need historians and archivists capable of shouldering the responsibility”, accentuated Blondel.

Sänger is member of the committee in charge of tax and finance issues in the German Bundestag. The ITS, a recipient of allowances by the Federal Republic of Germany, is allocated per-annum funds of about 14 million Euro. The lion’s share of this budget is the cost for human resources coming up to about 86 percent, the other 14 percent cover material and investment costs. “It is the Federal Republic’s duty to go on funding the activities of the ITS,” underlined Sänger. “I will take interesting impressions along to Berlin and sensitise my colleagues to the tracing service’s work.” After all, Sänger concluded, the ITS is not only of importance for Germany, but also for the world’s memory.