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France Receives Digital Copies of ITS Documents

The French National Archives (Archives Nationales) have been handed over a total of 13 data volumes each with 500 gigabytes of documents from the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. Following Israel, the US, Poland, Luxembourg and Belgium, France is now the sixth country to make use of ITS’s extensive documentary holdings on Nazi persecution, forced labour and post-war emigration.  “Researchers now have the opportunity to research ITS documents at a number of different locations,” said ITS director Jean-Luc Blondel. “I hope that this data exchange proves useful for historical research and facilitates networking between our facilities.”   

The data packet also includes numerous documents on the deportation of French resistance fighters, the exploitation of French slave labourers and the persecution of Jews and other minorities by Germans following the occupation of France. In accordance with a resolution by the International Commission which oversees the work of ITS, all eleven member states (Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, and the US) are entitled to digital copies of the documents archived in Bad Arolsen. The Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw, the Luxembourg Documentation and Research Centre on the Resistance and the National Archives of Belgium are all already working with document scans from the ITS archives.

Up until now, around 87 million images and over six terabytes of data have been handed over to the different institutions, including documents on concentration camps, ghettos and prisons (ca. 18 million images), the ITS central name index (ca. 42 million images), registration cards of displaced persons (ca. 7 million images), documents concerning forced labour (ca. 13 million images), files from DP camps and emigration after World War II (ca. 5 million images), as well as key documents and the inventory from the children’s tracing service (ca. 2 million images so far). ITS’s three million files of correspondence between survivors or family members and the authorities still need to be transferred, but their digitisation will still take some years to complete.