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Israel’s Deputy Ambassador visits ITS

During his three-hour visit today to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, the deputy ambassador of the State of Israel in Germany, Ilan Mor, gained an impression of the work of ITS and the archive’s inventory. “I never could have forgiven myself if I hadn’t have stopped by in Bad Arolsen once again before returning to Israel,” said Mor.

Israel’s deputy ambassador took a tour of the archives at the International Tracing Service, where millions of documents on Nazi persecution are stored. In addition, Mor held talks with chief archivist Udo Jost and historian Susanne Urban about the tasks of ITS and the development of the archive since it was opened up for research. “Every piece of paper tells a story. These documents have to be preserved for future generations,” emphasised Mor.

The International Tracing Service is ascribed with a very special role in view of educational and commemorative work, he said. “Because the archive has a particular focus on victims’ fates, it exemplifies the relevance of basic democratic values and human dignity for our coexistence. The story of the Shoah is part of the memory of mankind,” Mor noted. As a member of the International Commission, which oversees the work of ITS, Israel is one of the institution’s partners. The Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem is receiving digital copies of all documents archived at ITS and is participating in the discussion about the future of the institution.

Apart from the official part of today’s visit, Israel’s deputy ambassador also took the opportunity to view documents concerning his own family. “I might have found an indication of my father in the central name index,” Mor reported. “The visit was worth the trip for that alone. Every Israeli should come here at least once.” Mor said a lot of questions surrounding the Shoah have remained unanswered because victims were often not capable of talking about their experiences. “This archive holds the puzzle pieces which can complete one’s personal knowledge about his or her own family story. Every document and every form of clarification is valuable.”