Photos Handed Over to Hinzert Memorial
Today the International Tracing Service (ITS) of Bad Arolsen handed over digitised photographs from its archive to the Hinzert Concentration Camp Memorial Site. Among the 35 photos in total are ten taken at the camp during the period of 1940/41. “The memorial site has only very few photographs at its disposal. We are therefore grateful for any additional photographic material,” said Dr Beate Welter, Director of the Hinzert Concentration Camp Memorial Site.
The photos from the ITS archive had not previously been part of the memorial site’s stock. The original photos from the Nazi era show SS staff during off-duty hours and on the camp’s premises, including the former commander of the camp, Hermann Pister. “Up until now we’ve only received photographs from civilians. They are usually made available to us by the perpetrators’ family members,” said Welter. “In such, this is no different from the photographs that have cropped up in Bad Arolsen. They were obviously taken by a photographer from the nearby town of Hermeskeil.”
Apart from SS staff, liberators from the US Army and exhumations from the post-war period are among the subjects in the photographs. “I hope that we are able to support the memorial site’s work by providing them with photos from our inventory,” said ITS historian Dr Susanne Urban. “We are striving for a close cooperation with the memorial site. Reciprocal visits, academic-historical discourse, lecture series and advanced training seminars will bring us together on a regular basis.”
The collaborative endeavour with the Hinzert Concentration Camp Memorial Site is focused on data synchronization. As many vitas and fates of former prisoners as possible are to be reconstructed. Between 1939 and 1945, roughly 13,000 prisoners were detained here. Hinzert was originally established as a police and labour education camp for those considered “work-shy”. From 1940 on, French Foreign Legionnaires and resistance fighters from Western Europe were detained here. In June of 1943, forced labourers from Eastern Europe were then also held captive at the Hinzert camp.
On the occasion of her visit to ITS, Dr Welter held a public speech about the history of the former camp and its memorial site. She presented and exemplified various finds from the inventory of the ITS archive during her talk.