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ITS receives aid from special German government program

The International Tracing Service (ITS) has been granted 100,000 euros from the 2017 Special Program of the German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) for the preservation of written cultural heritage. The service will use the funds for the deacidification and restoration of Child Search Branch files dating from the period 1947–1950. “This is wonderful news,” said Christian Groh, head of ITS archives. “The holdings include unique original documents and are of tremendous importance for investigating the individual fates of surviving children and researching the consequences of Nazi persecution.”

In the years following World War II, the Child Search Branch worked under the administration of the International Refugee Organization (IRO) to determine the whereabouts of children reported missing after their persecution by the Nazis. It also attended to the needs of surviving children and teens. The digitized Child Search Branch holdings of “files of children identified by name” are among the original documents in the ITS archives, which has been awarded the status of “World Documentary Heritage” by the UNESCO.

The fates of 100,000 children is documented in more than 56,000 files, in part with photos. These files contain some 428,000 individual sheets of paper kept in 1,078 folders and weighing approximately 2,600 kilograms in all. “Once the deacidification and restoration of the files have been completed, we will pack the documents in special archive boxes at our own expense,” Christian Groh explained.

Minister of State Monika Grütters is applying one million euros from the 2017 Special Program to altogether 45 projects involved in preserving written cultural assets in Germany’s archives and libraries. The funds will pay for various measures to ensure the preservation of irreplaceable originals, for example paper deacidification, dry-cleaning, and packing in special acid-free archive boxes. The measures were selected on the basis of recommendations from the advisory board of the Coordination Office for the Preservation of the Written Cultural Heritage (KEK), which is financed by the German federal and state governments.

Press release: PDF download

Further information (German only): 

www.bundesregierung.de/Content/DE/Pressemitteilungen/BPA/2017/07/2017-07-28-bkm-schriftliches-kulturerbe.html