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Social Democrats visit the ITS

Social Democrats want to support the ITS.

A delegation of representatives from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) has paid visit to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. The Social Democrats informed themselves of the ITS archival collections, its budget situation, personnel requirements and latest developments in the department for education and research. “One can feel the staff’s enthusiasm for their work“, said Ralf Stegner, member in the federal board of the SPD and leader of the party in Schleswig-Holstein. “In my eyes, it is the Federal Government’s duty to commit itself to the ITS.”

The work of the ITS is financed from the budget of the Federal Government in the amount of 14 million Euro a year. The ITS has appealed to the Federal Government to support the construction of a new archival building. A respective application has been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Finance. “I have inquired about the current state of affairs”, said Ullrich Messmer, SPD member of the Bundestag (parliament). “We all want to collaborate on the solution of the problems. The ITS does an important job.”

Only recently, the original documents on Nazi persecution and forced labour as well as the Central Name Index in the ITS archives have been inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World register. The new archival premises applied for are expected to offer a safe long-term storage of the documents in air-conditioned rooms. “It has not yet been sufficiently made known which treasure we have here in Arolsen”, stated Christoph Weltecke, SPD candidate for the Hessian Parliament. “We want to involve ourselves in protecting that treasure and in enhancing the knowledge about the ITS.”

The party representatives paid particular attention to the educational work of the ITS. “An interesting approach is pursued here“, said Stegner. “Nazi persecution has also left an indelible mark on the history of Social Democracy. Now and then chapters emerge from this era, which have remained widely unknown. To tackle this deficit in knowledge is not only in the interest of historical truth, but a present-day need considering our country’s right-wing radicals.”