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Minister Boddenberg visited the ITS

Michael Boddenberg, Hessian Minister for Federal Affairs and State Representative in the Federal Parliament has visited the International Tracing Service (ITS) today to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. "As Germans we have an obligation to face up to the past and to learn from it", Boddenberg said. "This also entails that archives are accessible and transparent. The people who suffered under the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century are morally entitled to demand that nothing is kept hidden."

The Minister of State visited the extensive archive of the ITS in which about 30 million documents bear witness to the fate of millions of victims of Nazi persecution. He familiarised himself with the present work of the Tracing Service, the inquiries of survivors and their relatives as well as the digitalisation, preservation and indexation of historically significant documents. According to Boddenberg, "it is no ordinary work that is done here. I'm impressed with the archive and the dedication of the staff who attend to the fate of the victims with great empathy. We have the responsibility to ensure that this work continues, especially in the areas of research and education."

Jean-Luc Blondel, the director of the ITS, said that he was pleased with the interest the Minister had shown on this day of remembrance. "It underlines the importance the State of Hessen attaches to the Tracing Service." On the 27th of January 1945 the soldiers of the Red Army liberated the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Since 1996, the 27th January has been the official day of remembrance in Germany, commemorating the victims of Nazism, in particular the Genocide of the Jews and the Sinti and Roma. In 2005, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially designated the 27th January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.