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ITS and the City of Bad Arolsen – An Alliance for Common Welfare

The director of the International Tracing Service (ITS), Jean-Luc Blondel, and the mayor of Bad Arolsen, Jürgen van der Horst, want to intensify the mutual exchange between ITS and the city, and promote the location of Bad Arolsen for the benefit of both. This agreement was reached at a meeting held last Tuesday. “The municipal bodies have realised that the tracing service is relevant for Bad Arolsen,” says Mayor van der Horst.

After the director of ITS and the mayor had met for an initial discussion in which they got to know one another, the magistrate of Bad Arolsen visited the tracing service for the first time ever since the archive had been opened up to the public in November 2007. During the tour of the archive, the memebers of the magistrate gained an impression of the wealth of historically valuable documents on NS persecution stored here, and the work of the 310 employees of ITS. Together with Director Blondel and ITS executives, the magistrate talked about the future perspectives and visions of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen.

The director informed members of the magistrate in detail about the current situation. The debate currently being led by the International Commission on the future of the institution was a central topic. The Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the work of ITS, will have to make some initial decisions in the upcoming months. The future structure and governing body of the tracing service will have to be addressed, as well as the question of its location.

The magistrate of the city and directorate of ITS agreed that they would work together to strengthen the position of the International Tracing Service in its Bad Arolsen location. “ITS is an important employer,” said Mayor van der Horst. “At the same time, it’s also a major archive of international significance which is absolutely unique in Germany and contributes to the reputation of the city.” In such, the development of Bad Arolsen into a renowned archive location could also be given some more thought.

During the meeting, a specific arrangement was made to form a task force comprised of representatives from the tracing service, magistrate and municipal administration. This team is to map out the steps that could contribute to the long-term anchorage of ITS in Bad Arolsen. To accomplish this, ITS will present the magistrate with e.g. a developmental plan on the future of the institution. At the same time, the questions should be discussed as to how ITS can be integrated better in the city’s public sector marketing efforts. Mayor van der Horst confirmed that ITS will play an important role in the Nordwaldeck tourism concept, which is to be compiled within the scope of urban redevelopment work in the near future.

Right now the tracing service already helps boost the publicity of the city of Bad Arolsen. Over 1,300 visitors from 24 countries visited ITS in 2008, including victims of the Nazi regime, their family members, historians, jurists and genealogists. “I’m sure that the tracing service and city will both profit from this intensive exchange and I am therefore looking forward to see the results of our discussion,” said ITS Director Blondel.