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Visit from the French Red Cross

Three representatives of the French Red Cross, Véronique Molinaro, Virginie Alauzet and Robyn Gason, paid a one-day visit to the International Tracing Service (ITS) informing themselves on the digitisation progress, the treatment of tracing cases and the foreseen change in the management of the service. “We had the privilege of being given an idea here on site. We and the ITS work together well, and I am happy to see this cooperation continue”, said Robyn Gason.

The Paris-based national Red Cross society treats 800 tracing cases per annum. In 2010, the office received a total of 1700 inquiries. “A third of our tracing cases is connected with the Second World War still, and in 35 percent of our cases frequently concerning the search for a natural father, we seek co-assistance by the ITS”, reported Gason.

The Red Cross employees took special interest in the institution’s experience with case treatment in the light of digitisation. “A best practice pioneer, the ITS may lead the way for others in this field”, so Molinaro. “Above all the possibility of linking the requests placed by family members to the original documents is most helpful.” Another major subject of the talks was the procedures the two offices apply to reuniting families. “It was good to see the ITS’s openness in approaching people and transmitting the often sensitive news“, Gason gave her view.

Another issue broached in the talks was the announced withdrawal of the ICRC from the ITS management late in 2012. “We were interested to know more about the plans the management has made for the transition phase”, explained Molinaro. The International Commission, a body composed of eleven member states coordinating and overseeing the activities of the ITS, intends to continue the humanitarian mandate and the search for surviving family members of Nazi persecution as long as there is a pertinent need.