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ITS acquires an important collection of journals and papers

Beginning in 1945, a number of newspapers and journals appeared from former concentration camp inmates, who were - or still are - organized into survivors’ associations and camp committees. Often these publications dealt with the question of compensation, of practice-oriented help for the survivors of Nazi persecution, as well as the prosecution of the perpetrators. An extensive collection of these newspapers and journals, initiated by the International Committee of Sachsenhausen (ISK) and which until recently had been stored provisorily in the Dortmund City Archives, has now been passed to the library of the ITS.

A unique specialized collection

This newly-added international collection to the ITS provides a supplement to its own holdings, so that it now offers, in a unique breadth and depth, a truly specialized collection of publications from survivors of Nazi persecution. “There had certainly been hundreds of these kinds of magazines and newspapers world-wide that were differentiated primarily according to camp location and political convictions”, Dr. Henning Borggräfe, Head of Library and Deputy Head of the Research and Education Branch of the ITS, explains. “The newspapers of the survivors’ associations and camp committees contain not only many details about the persecution history, but also provide information about the political activities and the changing memories of these post-war organized groups of former victims of Nazi persecution, making theses journals a vital source for historical research, in particular against the backdrop of the diminishing number of survivors still living.”

Former victims of political persecution became involved

Many of the organized survivors were politically active before their imprisonment and made use of these connections after 1945. The newly acquired stock is thus a collection of newspapers, news services and periodicals of the anti-fascist resistance fighters and survivors associations. In 1979, at a conference in Copenhagen, the ISK took the decision that a collection of this kind should be established at its then national branch in Dortmund. This consists of more than 140 titles from 17 nations and/or supranational organizations, among these being the News from the Association of the Persecutees of the Nazi Regime (VVN), first published in 1947, as well as the VVN weekly paper “Die Tat” which first appeared in 1949. Even after the collection was stored provisorily in the Dortmund City Archives, it continued to be maintained and added to, in accordance with the wishes of the founders at that time. By taking on this collection, the ITS assumes the tasks of the care and academic description of these historically valuable materials as well as making them accessible for research and to the public. The newspapers and journals can be viewed starting in autumn 2015 upon completion of the necessary archival description work.