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An insight view into the archive on the "day of the archives"

On Saturday 3rd March 2012, the International Tracing Service (ITS) will open its doors to the public on the nationwide Day of the Archives. It is the sixth event of this kind organised by the Association of German Archivists (Verband deutscher Archivarinnen und Archivare). The theme the archives have chosen for this occasion is "Fire, Water, War and other Catastrophes".

The ITS will be open to the public on

Saturday, 3rd March 2012
from 10 am to 4 pm
Schlossstraße 10
34454 Bad Arolsen

Visitors will be able to gain an insight into the digitalisation and storage of about three million correspondence files that have grown out of the enquiries to the archive from 1946 to the present. The files include the first testimonies of the persecuted of the Nazi regime, the tracing histories of family members as well as the documentation of imprisonment and forced labour used for restitution purposes.

The ITS will also launch a recently completed finding aid on its collection of documents relating to the "Lebensborn e.V". Run by the SS, the objective of this organisation was to increase the birth rate of "Aryan" children. With 529 files the ITS holds the larger part of the organisation's original documents, the signed statutes of the organisation by Heinrich Himmler being one example.

The program of the Day of the Archives includes:

  • guided tours through the digitalisation and storage sections
  • presentation of finding aids
  • introduction to the archive's pedagogical approach and research
  • reading corner and presentation of the digital database
  • presentation of the process involved in handling enquiries and tracing family members
  • information boards on digitalisation, conservation, archival description and access to the documents

Another novelty is that visitors will be able to look at the new window display at the ITS building in Schlossstrasse. Here, posters provide information about the history and the work of the ITS. The display aims to foster interest in the subject and encourage viewers to take part in a guided tour of the ITS. A permanent exhibition is planned at the premises in Schlossstrasse, but funding for the project has yet to be determined.

With the Day of the Archives the Association of German Archivists (VdA) hopes to achieve greater public recognition of archives in general. As the guardians of cultural heritage, archives play an essential role in researching the past and understanding the present. The association wants to raise public awareness of its nationwide role and responsibilities. For more information contact: www.tagderarchive.de