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“Because it’s meaningful”

Floriane Hohenberg has been the ITS director for fifteen months. She pursues efforts to raise national and international awareness of the institution’s significance as world documentary heritage on the National Socialist crimes and their immediate aftermath.  In the interview she talks about the ITS’s new strategic orientation.

Why was it important to you to quickly develop a strategy and system of targets for the ITS?

Although new tasks had been defined, no strategy had been formulated for the ITS since the archive was opened at the end of 2007. But a strategy is important for making the best use of available resources. Even in my first discussions with the staff, it became apparent that we needed a strategic direction, and many employees actively contributed to this so we were able to move forward quickly.

Will the ITS be modernized as a result?

Yes, absolutely, not least because we will examine and rethink our working processes in 2017 in order to achieve our strategic goals. There has been a lot of restructuring in the ten years since the archive opened. We’re reviewing everything now to see what kind of processes we need for our new strategy. Every position will be defined, so everyone will know why and how they will contribute to our primary goals. I think this is very important to motivation, because it’s meaningful.

What are the biggest challenges?

Changes take time, which is something we don’t necessarily have when we know that we want to make up for missed opportunities with people making inquiries and using the archive. That’s one challenge. Resources are the second one. We have a budget that is not growing. We need to improve our efficiency so we can apply resources to these new tasks. And another thing: We need new experts in Bad Arolsen. To acquire these experts and maintain our team here, we have to show that we are an attractive employer.

Have you already had some success?

Definitely! We put the general inventory online in a short period of time thanks to close cooperation between the departments. The ITS has redefined its role and centered itself in the network of partner institutions who hold copies of the digital ITS archive. We were able to hand over more personal effects than last year, and we will now actively seek family members in order to return as many of these personal items as possible. The focus of the Research and Education Branch is also clearer. It’s apparent that we can accomplish a lot as a mediator and service provider. And I’m very pleased that we’re thinking less in the context of individual departments and more about joint projects.