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Research for the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism

On behalf of the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, historian Dr Susanne Meinl spent the last weeks at the archive of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen pursuing research. “In a first step, I am examining the hefty documentation selecting out the segments of relevance to us“, said Meinl. The Munich documentation centre is a project of the city in cooperation with the Free State of Bavaria and the Federal Republic of Germany. Its objective is to create a place of learning for the future.

The structure of the planned exhibition is topical and divided into three chronological portions: the early stage of the Nazi movement, the phase of its actual rule (1933-1945) and finally its post-1945 effects and impacts as well as a critical re-view and re-appraisal of the National Socialist despotism. “We collect information in diverse archives all over the world ranging from the municipal archives at Munich to ITS, to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem”, relates Meinl.

In the next weeks, some colleagues from Munich will go exploring at the tracing service and start a search for selective information based on the preparatory research conducted by Meinl. “I was stunned by the amount of documents at ITS that are of importance for us.” These documents include deportation lists from Munich, records from Bavarian DP camps and the holdings on the “Lebensborn” association the headquarters of which had been in Munich. “By means of the documents, we will be able to soundly reconstruct the sequence of events and structures”, said the historian. “We will no doubt make one or more discoveries here because we use a special prism looking at the documents.”

National Socialism began in Munich. The “Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – DAP” (German Labourers’ Party) formed in 1919 and joined among others by Adolf Hitler was the predecessor party of the “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – NSDAP” (National Socialist German Labourers’ Party). Inasmuch as Munich was a centre of attraction for antidemocratic powers in the 1920s, NSDAP propaganda fell on fertile ground. After being nominated Chancellor of the Reich in 1933, Hitler “rewarded” Munich with the epithet “capital of the movement”. The documentation centre is scheduled to open in 2013.