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Workshop of the Bad Arolsen Kaulbach School

In mid-May 2012, 26 pupils from the Bad Arolsen Kaulbach School came to see the International Tracing Service (ITS). Apart from preparing a presentation on the history and present tasks and objectives of the ITS, the pupils formed groups and occupied themselves with the subject of “conceptions of man”. “A three-hour intensive course at the ITS is apt to substitute three-week lessons on the history of ‘National Socialism’ at school,” said teacher Reinhard Ruf.

ITS historian Susanne Urban and her educational team took the fate of a surviving Jewish adolescent as an example to show the pupils the variety of documentary material kept at the ITS. “The pupils came to feel empathy with the adolescent’s path of life”, reported Urban. By means of video and film material, the pupils were introduced to the problems and tragedy of parentless child survivors as well as to their courage to begin anew.

Documents from concentration camps, letters from correspondence files and records from other archival holdings helped the young students to understand diverse persecution fates. “It was in particular the registration practice in the concentration camps and the despicable description of young people by Racist and Anti Semitic characteristics that outraged the pupils“, stated Urban. When the results were presented, it became evident that the young people had reflected on how humans in Nazi registration practice were defined and how, by contrast, every one of them wants to be described and perceived by his environment - namely as an individual with dreams, longings, talents and characters of his own.