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21st Meeting of the Hessian Memorials and Commemorative Initiatives for the Nazi Era in Arolsen

40 representatives of around 35 Hessian Memorials and commemorative initiatives have joined for a one-day meeting in Bad Arolsen in the beginning of March. Invited for the conference by the Hesse Centre for Civic Education (Hessische Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung / HLZ), they had a chance to inform themselves about the tasks and activities of the International Tracing Service (ITS) and to visit the Historicum 20 Museum. “To come to see the ITS centre for information, documentation and research has been a particularly interesting experience for the researchers and educators among us”, said Monika Hölscher from the HLZ.

Taking place twice a year in changing locations in Hesse, the conference brings together experts and gives them the opportunity to exchange views. “The new ITS and the Museum that opened its doors last year have been quite enough reason to come to Bad Arolsen and hold our meeting here“, explained Hölscher. There is a number of initiatives in Hesse dedicated to commemorating the victims of Nazi persecution. The role of such institutions consists in using their documents, archives and educational offers as an instrument of imparting to youths as well as to adults knowledge on what had happened under Nazi reign.

Staff from the ITS Department for Research and Education have given the guests an introduction to their pedagogic approach and various research projects. “Some of us work in the educational field or pursue research on behalf of our association or initiative. Consequently the talk we were given met with our lively interest”, resumed Hölscher. “It has become clear that the ITS in fact opened up“, added Joachim Heuer from the HLZ. “Several years prior to the archive’s opening our initiatives had also met in Arolsen and visited the ITS tracing service. We are happy to witness the unmistakeable change.” In 1992 the Hesse Centre for Civic Education (HLZ) was transferred the role of a coordinating body acting Hessian-wide to underline the importance of the memorial work done and to emphasize the role of the federal state in teaching the crimes of the Nazi era.