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Research on DP Camp

Dr. Adam Seipp, assistant professor of history at Texas A&M University, spent two days at the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen viewing records on displaced persons and historical documents for his book project Strangers in the Wild Place: Americans, Refugees, and Germans, 1945 – 55. He has visited various archives, museums and institutions for his newest project and has conducted interviews with eyewitnesses. “The documents at the ITS are enormously helpful for my work. They help bring people´s fates in to life in my book,” reported Seipp.

The historian´s work is based on the book The Wild Place by Kathryn Hulme, who was the director of the UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) Displaced Persons camp in Wildflecken, Germany. “She describes her experiences during her time as director of the camp, whereas I will also include the environment” said Seipp. Some 15,000 survivors from liberated concentration camps, forced labor and captivity were housed at the Wildflecken DP camp, which was not in fact located on the outskirts of town but amidst the population, where the DPs lived. “Much of the previous research has depicted DP camps as being “islands”, but I´m more interested in focusing on the environment and the interplay of different social, political and cultural aspects,” said Seipp.

While at the ITS, the American checked names of former DPs in order to show exactly how they were persecuted. “I was able to find photos on registration cards as well as additional information on persecution fates. The reader will really get a vivid feel for the post-war period through these stories,” said the 33 year-old assistant professor. “The opening of the archive means new access for historians to previously unresearched documents. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to do research at the ITS.”