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New Director appointed for the ITS in Bad Arolsen

Professor Rebecca Boehling will become the next Director of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. She was appointed unanimously by the eleven-member state International Commission which supervises the work of the ITS at its annual meeting in Paris last week. The historian will take up her post on 1st January 2013. The Chairman of the International Commission, Frédéric Baleine du Laurens, Director of Archives at the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs noted. "Strong academic and administrative leadership is required to ensure the continuing institutional transformation of the ITS into a centre for documentation, information and research of world importance. The ITS’s expanded mission is both challenging and fulfilling, and the International Commission is delighted to have secured the appointment of such an outstanding candidate."

Professor Boehling, a US national, is currently Director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) which promotes interdisciplinary research in the humanities. She is also Professor for History and Affiliate Professor both for Jewish Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies. Professor Boehling is an expert in the history of the Holocaust, World War II and the early postwar period in Germany. She served for several years on the Historical Advisory Panel to the U.S. Government’s Interagency Working Group for the Implementation of the 1998 Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Federal Disclosure Act, tasked to declassify material related to WWII war crimes.

The historian has studied and researched in Germany for several years on various research projects, including in Kiel, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich, and had a research fellowship at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Leo Baeck Institute in New York. In 1980 Boehling received her M.A. and in 1990 her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Central European History. Last year, she published with Cambridge University Press together with co-author Uta Larkey the story of a Jewish family from Essen in “Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust“ based on hundreds of family letters.

Professor Boehling will be able to count on good cooperation with the representatives of the International Commission, the Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) and the ITS staff, she pointed out. “The treasure trove of documents in the ITS archives reveals new insights into the experience and the perspectives of the victims of Nazi persecution. It is very compelling material that we want to make more accessible for research and educational purposes by means of digitization and archival description.”

A replacement of the ITS director is required since the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will withdraw from the management of the institution at the end of 2012. The present ITS Director and ICRC delegate, Jean-Luc Blondel, will return to Switzerland and continue to work for the ICRC. The German Federal Archives will become the new institutional partner for the ITS.

Select Publications:

Boehling, Rebecca and Larkey, Uta. Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family's Untold Story. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Boehling, Rebecca. A Question of Priorities: Democratic Reforms and Economic Recovery in Postwar Germany : Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart Under U.S. Occupation 1945-49. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1996.