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Darmstadt TU Explores Research Possibilities

Early in March, a group composed of ten professors, doctoral candidates and students from the faculty of history at Darmstadt technical university paid a one-day information visit to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. The group used this taster contact to take a look at the archival holdings and to soundly assess the concrete research possibilities they offer. Going beyond that, the TU faculty plans to engage in an initial cooperation project including a teaching assignment. “The interest students of history show in the subject of National Socialism is as active and constant as ever“, states Professor Christoph Dipper, “which is why we are eager to amplify contact with ITS.”

During the tour, ITS historian Susanne Urban acquainted the group with the archival holdings on concentration camps, forced/slave labour and displaced persons. Doctoral candidate Holger Köhn was surprised at the amount of documents available. “ITS keeps material on themes that manifold and varied I could not imagine before.” Köhn is writing his doctoral thesis on the subject “Displaced persons in the American occupation zone”. “During our round, I have noticed folders on those DP camps I am in the process of examining in detail. I could hardly take my eyes off them, so enthusiastic I felt about what I saw”, relates 37-year-old Köhn.

Urban assured that cooperation with Darmstadt technical university be intensified within the coming months. Some visitors of the group intend coming back to the archive and conducting longer-term research that will be of benefit to their scholarly projects. Urban herself will take up a teaching assignment focusing on DP camp Zeilsheim, a theme on which she had already conceived and worked out a virtual exhibition with Darmstadt students previously. “We are going to continue our work in the coming semester by carrying out a profound investigation especially of the individuals’ fates.”