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Visit from Archivists of Thuringia’s Main State Archives

24 archivists from Thuringia’s Main State Archives took advantage of a one-day excursion to Bad Arolsen to obtain information on the documentation kept at the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS). They were interested in the records’ preservation, digitisation and description as well as in their use for research and education. “Considering that many of our tasks overlap with the tasks of the ITS, our staff came up with the wish to visit the institution”, explained Bettina Fischer, archivist and responsible for advanced training at the State Archives.

There is a regular exchange of information between the Main State Archives of Thuringia and the ITS with regard to forced labourers and clarification of fates, elucidated Fischer. “What we intended by our visit was to gain a physical impression of the archives. In particular the Central Name Index has been a real highlight in this respect.” Following a guided tour of all archival sections, the expert visitors took a closer look at the digitisation and archival description of the documents. “It is due to the history of the ITS as an institution that the holdings’ formation and the archival work have moved apart over the years”, said Fischer.

As the ITS considered itself to be a tracing service and not an archive, the holdings were indexed and described mainly by name. “That is why listening to Karsten Kühnel’s explanations regarding the future archival description and the first finding aids the ITS has created was of particular interest to all of us”, said Dr Bernhard Post, Senior Archival Director. The projects that have been and will be realized in the field of education met with the guests’ approval, too. “It is impressive how short a time the ITS has needed to develop them”, commented Fischer. A marked difference can be noted between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ ITS, remarked the archivists. “We are content that the ITS continues opening up”, emphasized Post on their leave.