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“BookWitnesses” Exhibition Opens

Yesterday the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen opened the “BookWitnesses” exhibition together with the association Historicum 20 and the Bad Arolsen town Museum. The exhibition features a selection of remarkable books from the ITS library including publications which emerged right after the end of WWII and offered some of the first analyses of NS persecution. “These were the first commemorative and documentative attempts. These books are important repositories of knowledge and memories,” said Dr Susanne Urban, head of the research department at ITS. The exhibition is set to run at the Historicum 20 in Bad Arolsen until the 15th of December 2010.

Immediately following liberation, some survivors of concentration camps and forced labour began writing down what they had experienced or started analysing NS persecution. The ITS library holds a range of these early publications including a series about the persecution of the Jews in Poland published in 1944 and a photo volume on the Holocaust printed in DP camp Bergen-Belsen in 1946. “These early works testify not only to the Nazi crimes, but also to the powerlessness and anger felt by victims,” notes Urban. “They make it clear that the Holocaust occurred in public and that the need for remembrance is not just a phenomenon of our time.”

To give visitors an understanding of the books, employees from the institutions involved in the exhibition each adopted a specific book and composed a text about it. “I was surprised and touched by the interesting books that can be discovered at ITS,” said Dr Birgit Kümmel, Director of the Bad Arolsen town Museum. “We’re therefore very pleased to be able to present this exhibition together with the ITS.” The reference library at ITS which the exhibition’s publications originate from is public and can be used by researchers, pupils, students and other interested parties. It holds around 4,500 publications on the subject of Nazi persecution with a special focus on the victims’ perspective.

The “BookWitnesses” exhibition is running until the 15th of December 2010 at the Historicum 20 (Dr.-Georg-Groscurth-Straße 1, in the former barracks staff building) in Bad Arolsen and is open to visitors on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 2:30 to 5:00 or by arrangement. Reservation with ITS is required. Telephone: +49 (0)5691 629-159, email: its@its-arolsen.org.