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Pupils Learn How to Work Academically at the ITS Archives

Early in September 2012, six pupils of the Münster Annette-von-Droste-Hülshoff College came to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen to investigate the subject “Individuals and Individual Rights in the Lublin Area”. They cast light on diverse aspects of the Germanization and Aryanization, the compulsory adoption of Polish children, the Lublin Ghetto and the Majdanek Camp, Children in and Survivors of the Holocaust. “The ITS archives play a pivotal part in our project”, says teacher Dr Wolfhart Beck. “By immersing themselves in the scanned original documents in the database and the relevant books and magazines from the ITS library, the youngsters learn how to work academically.”

Pupil Lennart Terborg researches the subject of ‘Holocaust Survivors from the Lublin Area’. “By means of books, the documents and the correspondence files held at the ITS archives, I have managed to retrace and piece together the fate of Chil Rajchman and Richard Glazar”, he gives details about his project. “From the records here I can even gather answers to the question how life continued for the survivors after the Holocaust.” His classmate Simon Backhaus has studied the planned Germanization of Eastern Europe. “I did not expect to find much on this particular aspect”, says Backhaus. “But contrary to what I thought, I have discovered documents on how the Germanization was organised, records on problems that arose in that connection and on the food and medical supply in the regions concerned. The next thing for me to do is evaluate the records I have found.”

The school management had chosen the Lublin area, because Münster and Lublin are twin cities and because there are still uncovered aspects of the occupation period. “We have one year to prepare and elaborate on subjects in our project course“, explains Beck. “The pupils are to learn to explore, investigate and discover by their own. Apart from pursuing research at the ITS and at other archives, we plan to go on an excursion to Lublin”. The final product of the pupils’ research will be presentations which may be shown in an exhibition at villa ten Hompel subsequently.