The Deputy Principal Officer of the US Consulate General and the Representative of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany visited the ITS
The Deputy Principal Officer of the US Consulate General in Frankfurt/Main, Charisse M. Phillips, and her Public Affiars Specialist Miriam Jaster visited the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen together with Rüdiger Mahlo, Representative of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) in Germany.
During their stay, the visitors had the opportunity to look into the documentary collections of the ITS archives and to receive an impression of the tasks and goals of this unique institution of international character. The Claims Conference represents the Jewish Community in indemnification and restitution negotiations for Nazi victims and their heirs. “Roughly 50,000 inquiries from Eastern Europe are presently waiting to be processed by us”, Mahlo reports. “The colleagues at the Russian Red Cross in Moscow examine whether relevant documents are available.” The ITS filmed records in Moscow at the beginning of the 1990s and has integrated these in its digital database. “Since the ITS holds additional documents in its archives beyond the records from Moscow, we hope to be able to help at this point”, says ITS Director Prof. Dr. Rebecca Boehling and therefore sees good opportunities for cooperation. “A cooperation with the ITS concerning the provision of evidence for our inquirers might be extremely valuable”, Mahlo emphasized after the talks.
In addition to a look into the archives of the ITS, the scholarly and pedagogical projects of the ITS were presented. The visitors were particularly interested in the recently published pedagogical booklet about the Card Index of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany in the archives of the ITS. Mr. Mahlo immediately recognized one of the five Jewish adolescents from Berlin whose fates are portrayed in this publication, that of Isaak Behar. Mahlo was deeply touched: “To discover the index card and the photo of my schoolmate’s father in the handout was a very emotional moment for me.”
Deputy Consul Phillips showed great interest in the ITS exhibition project “Leben im Transit – Trauma und Neuanfang. Überlebende der nationalsozialistischen Verfolgung” (Life in Transit – Trauma and New Beginnings: Survivors of National Socialist Persecution). The exhibition will open in Frankfurt/Main in September 2014 and should, according to Phillips, also be shown at the Consulate General. She stressed she would be happy if the ITS and the Consulate General worked together in the field of education: “Workshops for teachers, lectures and the research results concerning the fates of single persons could be offered in this connection.”