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“An interesting place for conducting research.”

Research on Displaced Persons (DPs) led Dr. Daniel Maul, lecturer at the Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, and the students of his advanced seminar to the ITS in Bad Arolsen on 6 June 2014. The purpose of the visit was to examine, on the basis of documents from the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS), the manner in which DPs were dealt with on the part of national and international, governmental and non-governmental actors. The title of the seminar was: “Uprooted: Displaced Persons in Europe after World War II”. After being introduced to the history of the ITS, the students were particularly interested in the fates of displaced children and the work of the Child Search Branch between 1945 and 1950.

Most fascinating: the work with documents

Following the ITS’s presentation of its own current DP projects, the students had the opportunity to work with selected documents. The overall picture gained during the first classes of the block seminar could thus be supplemented by stories, for example, of uprooted people who could not or did not want to return to their home countries after 1945. “The ITS is an interesting place for conducting research,” Dr. Daniel Maul summed up the visit. He commended the “right tone and level” chosen by the team of the Research and Education Branch in its preparation of the workshop for his seminar. The students, some of whom had been at the ITS previously, were impressed by the approaches to the work with documentary material. It was possible to obtain a lot of information from the files, but this was not always easy to recognize at first. Especially during searches on their own, the young historians noticed how wide the spectrum of subjects found in the documents is and how much work is involved when someone wants to identify important and revelatory sources. The visit at the ITS and the work on site provoked fresh interests for students as regards their further studies and the possibility of using the archives of the ITS within the scope of writing academic papers. One student has already decided to do research on child survivors of the Holocaust.