Hessian State Minister of Higher Education, Research and the Arts shows support for the ITS
Eva Kühne-Hörmann, State Minister of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, held talks in Bad Arolsen today about a new archive building for the ITS, and the opportunities for collaborative research projects. 'The ITS is moving into a new era. It has a new academic management and the archive has been registered in the UNESCO Memory of the World program', the minister said. 'Now is the time to draw attention to this unique collection, and entrust this treasure to research.'
The ITS archives hold about 30 million documents on Nazi persecution, forced labour and Displaced Persons. The ITS submitted a feasibility study for a new archive building to the Federal Government to protect these valuable, historically significant documents in the long term. The Hessian State Minister pledged her support, and suggested cooperation on an administrative level to advise the ITS on questions of external funding matters, and the planning of building projects.
The minister also welcomed the plans for a visitor centre, and the presentation of the document collection in form of a permanent exhibition. 'The label UNESCO Memory of the World will attract visitors', said Kühne-Hörmann, who is responsible for UNESCO World Heritage sites in the state of Hesse.
The Minister further proposed to establish closer contacts between the ITS and other Hessian archives. 'Hesse is the state of archives, we train archivists at the University of Marburg, and we have considerable expertise in archival matters, in restoration and conservation, for instance ', Kühne-Hörmann pointed out. Moreover, better networking between the ITS and cooperation with potential research partners, notably universities, are essential. 'The state Hesse makes available 90 million Euro annually as part of its research funding program LOEWE. In particular outstanding collaborative projects with universities or research institutes profit from the program.'
To further develop the research activities at the ITS, the minister suggested the establishment of a research fellowship. The ITS should also become a learning centre for extracurricular education. On the subject of external funding, it might be possible to involve companies interested in examining their past in regard to the employment of forced labourers.
'I welcome the support of the Hessian State government', said Jürgen van der Horst, mayor of Bad Arolsen. 'We need strong partners if we want to realise the plans for the ITS in Bad Arolsen.' Also interested in the planning process for a new archive building and a visitor centre are Helmut Hausmann, town councillor of Bad Arolsen, Thomas Viesehon, CDU candidate for the Bundestag (German parliament) , and Armin Schwarz, CDU Member of the Hessian Parliament, all of whom accompanied the minister on her visit to the ITS. 'We have to do something about the building situation. A new building is urgently needed. I think it's good that the minister has become involved,' Schwarz said. 'There have also been talks with Bernd Siebert, CDU member of the Bundestag, who will lobby for the project in Berlin.